Wine, real estate, and the coronavirus — which doesn’t belong?
I would imagine you would take the wine and real estate and leave the virus alone. But what if you didn’t have a choice? Such is the predicament of the real estate power couple Sam and Jennifer Demel of Burt Ladner Real Estate in Fort Worth.
If you think your world has turned upside down in the past few months, think about the Demel family dealing with children, real estate, and a new business venture — a wine bar called Thirty-Eight and Vine in the Foundry District, which is a revitalized area of Fort Worth close to the Trinity River and downtown.
Tarrant County Tuesday caught up with the ultra-busy couple to see how they are managing all facets of life.
What was real estate like before and during COVID-19?
Jennifer: “Like many Realtors in Tarrant County, we were having a strong first part of 2020. Just before the first COVID-19 scare we were planning on bringing a new agent onto our team, but real estate classes and testing stopped for a few weeks. Then with our children not in school it was a juggling act with one of us watching the kids while the other tried to work … and that’s not even factoring in the new wine business. It’s certainly been a fast and furious ride the past few months.”
Thoughts on the real estate market going forward?
Jennifer: “We are currently seeing very low inventory in Tarrant County. That can drive prices up on the homes that are on the market. Combined with the low interest rate that is there to attract new buyers we have no doubt that business in Texas — especially in North Texas — will continue to remain strong.
“One thing that we are seeing is people looking to purchase investment property. There are very few homes for lease on the market currently. More and more people who are in uncertain situations are considering leasing a home until they have more stability in their lives (if that ever happens). Both Sam and I have had a number of recent discussions with buyers who are looking to purchase a home in Tarrant County for investment and leasing purposes.”
Interesting stories or tidbits you’d like to share?
Jennifer: “Quickly after COVID first became a thing, TREC (Texas Real Estate Commission) created a new addendum designed to protect buyers and sellers that might not be able to complete a transaction due to COVID-related issues. I don’t want to get into too much detail but there was a buyer for one of our listings that tried to use this new addendum in their favor as more of a contingency addendum. Needless to say, it was not how the original addendum was designed and both parties ended up with attorneys to rectify the situation.
How has it been trying to start and run a wine bar during this time?
Jennifer: “Well it’s certainly been a challenge that’s for sure. Just as we were opening the doors of Thirty-Eight and Vine in Fort Worth local bars and restaurants were closed because of COVID-19.
“We quickly made a decision to sell wine curbside and Sam and I juggled kids, wine and real estate for two months — that was controlled chaos for sure. We restructured our pricing and our inventory to be more ‘curbside friendly’ and are pleased with the results.
“Recently when Governor Abbott opened bars to 50 percent capacity we started focusing on wine flights — and that has created a lot of interest from our patrons. It’s certainly been tough but, just like in our real estate business, we are determined to make it be successful.
“Tell all your readers to come and see us and enjoy a glass or two of wine. Thirty-Eight and Vine is located at 212 Carroll Street in the Foundry District of Fort Worth.”
Note: This interview took place prior to current restrictions on bars and restaurants in the State of Texas therefore the current status of Thirty-Eight and Vine may have changed in regards to operation and capacity.