What makes me qualified to keep you informed about your communities in our weekly feature, Suburb Sunday?
I’m one of you.
I’ve rented and owned homes in Dallas and Tarrant counties for 26 years. I have a mortgage, labored through refinance paperwork, grumbled about HOAs. I’ve tried to keep my lawn from burning to a crisp in the summer. I’ve also sweated out HVAC issues and tax appraisals.
All that said, let me introduce myself: I’m the new writer who’ll be producing the Suburb Sunday feature starting next week. I hope to keep you informed on new housing developments, HOAs, the schools, the demographics, and any points of interest that you might find engaging.
I’m taking all suggestions on what to spotlight.
I have a passion for community journalism. At the Star-Telegram in Fort Worth, I was a part of the newspaper’s zoning efforts, first in sports, then as executive editor for a cluster of community newspapers in the Alliance Airport-North Fort Worth area, the Southlake-Colleyville-Grapevine area, and the Flower Mound-Lewisville-Argyle area. At The Dallas Morning News, I was a managing editor in charge of coverage of the communities in Dallas, Collin, Denton, and Rockwall counties (that’s where Candy and I crossed paths).
In all these communities, it was my responsibility to know what was important to their residents.
I also can identify what rural living is like. In the 1960s through ’80s, I grew up on a 160-acre homestead with two stocked ponds in eastern Oklahoma. We furnished our home with ranch-style furniture from Fort Worth.
I also know what apartment living is like. In the early years of my career, I lived in apartments in Tulsa, Norman, and North Little Rock. In Texas, I lived in apartments in Wylie, Garland, and Arlington. I’ve also done the garden home route, living in one in Pleasant Hill, Calif., during the Bay Area’s crazy housing boom 20 years ago.
I now live in Mansfield with my wife of 25 years, Brigitte, who spent 17 years at KRLD News Radio, also covering Dallas-Fort Worth communities, and our 21-year-old son, Beaumont, who loves to tour luxury townhomes in anticipation of his first steps of independence.
Together, we watch HGTV regularly. We’ll pull up a House Hunters and play a game of which house will be picked (yes, we know it’s staged, but we pretend it’s not). Hint: It’s nearly always the second house shown or the one you’d least likely expect to be chosen. We yell at the TV when House Hunters shoppers are distracted by a simple dishwasher and ignore the amenities of a $800,000 house. We also judge houses on whether it can accommodate our 110-inch projector TV screen.
I enjoy writing about real estate. One of my favorite stories was on The Brady Bunch home, which was listed exclusively by former Highland Park Realtor Ernie Carswell. Also, I loved writing about a Mansfield real estate agent who dressed someone in a T. rex costume to market his listing. As you can tell, I love fun stories.
We were avid watchers of Trading Spaces, Sell This House, Selling New York, and Selling L.A. We still get our shiplap fix by watching Fixer Upper, of course. We wear out the HGTV streaming app. I also don’t mind admitting that I watch local real estate infomercials for interior design ideas.
Now, it’s time to spotlight your neighborhood. And I’m eager to get started.