Articles by

Candy Evans

Candy Evans is one of the nation’s leading real estate reporters, bloggers and consultants. She reports on Dallas real estate for WFAA-TV’s Daybreak with Ron Corning, and is frequently called as a real estate expert by other Dallas media. She is also a real-estate editor for CultureMap Dallas, Modern Luxury Dallas, the Katy Trail Weekly and the White Rock Weekly. She even has her own web-based Real Estate show called, The Party Line. Candy has written for AOL Real Estate, and is a guest blogger for Joel Kotkin’s The New Geography, Inman Real Estate News plus a host of national sites. Candy was a longtime contributing editor to Dallas’ D Magazine and sister pubs, and in 2007 founded the wildly successful Dallas real estate blog, DallasDirt. That’s where she broke the news on where former president George W. Bush bought his Dallas home in 2008. She is the founder and publisher of an exciting platform of Dallas-based real estate sites including SecondShelters.com, devoted to the vacation home market, and her signature CandysDirt.com, everything you need to know about real estate in North Texas. And yes, we are still psyched about the GOLD! In 2013, CandysDirt.com was named Best Blog by the venerable National Association of Real Estate Editors, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious journalism associations, and the only association for journalists covering real estate, home and urban design. We snatched silver in 2015, and who knows what 2016 brings...

12/31/18 11:38am

Mark Cuban must really be celebrating this year.

According to my colleague Neal Leiterg at The LA Times, Cuban just bought a $25.5 Laguna mansion. And tough Shark Tank negotiator he is, Cuban reportedly paid only $19 million for it plus some change. And even more, the mansion is located in a very exclusive Laguna residential neighborhood, tucked into the coveted front row of Montage Residences overlooking the ocean. The views are incredible, the interiors California contemporary. Mahogany and glass doors disappear into the walls, merging vast indoor indoor areas to the outdoors seamlessly, revealing breath-taking views of Catalina Island. High ceilings complete the airy ambience and I cannot even fathom what the Pacific sunsets look like from this home. Laguna Beach is one of the most famous resort and luxury home communities in the world, with magnificent coastlines, pristine coves, white sand beaches, and breathtaking cliffs. Celebrities and business titans are all drawn to Laguna’s communities, and with good reason. Montage is an ocean-front Laguna resort community. And if you have never been to a Montage property, oh my: think the Ritz Carlton on steroids! Montage International is a luxury hotel and resort management company founded by Alan Fuerstman and based in Orange County, California. 

Cuban’s pride and joy company, the Dallas Mavericks, has been in the news this past year as a veritable poster child for the #MeToo movement. That is, a poster child of how bad it is to work in some environments if you are female.

But as soon as the misconduct became known, Cuban took quick action  and hired a Dustbuster to turn his company’s culture around: Cynthia “Cynt” Marshall.

I hope she gets to check out these digs! (more…)

12/13/18 9:00am

Last Friday, Highland Park resident and philanthropist extraordinaire Lynn McBee threw her hat into the ring to run for mayor of Dallas. Lynn is  the CEO of the Young Women’s Preparatory Network, a former biochemist researcher who is known for her strong fundraising chops for many of the city’s leading nonprofits. Her press announcement came with built-in support from many area heavyweights:

Lucy Billingsley, CEO, Billingsley Co. and Trustee, Southwestern Medical Foundation
Clay Cooley, CEO of Cooley Auto Group
Lisa Cooley, Board Member, Callier Center at UT Dallas and Young Women’s Prep Network
Lyria Howland, Founder, Howland PR, Board Chair, Friends of Barack Obama Leadership Academy and Board Member of Mayor’s Star Council
Tom Karol, CEO of Cornerstone Automation and Former Chair, Dallas Housing Authority
Jennifer Karol, Board Member, The Bridge Homeless Center
Carol Levy, Board Member, KERA and Trustee, Dallas Museum of Art
John Levy, Co-CEO of NCH Corporation and Former Chair, Dallas Zoo
Sarah Losinger, Board Member, Salvation Army and Advisory Council, Dallas AfterSchool
Richard Rogers, Former CEO of Mary Kay

Lynn has served on scads of Dallas area boards (on more than a dozen as we speak), from the Dallas International Film Festival to the Family Place Foundation. She is currently the board chair of The Bridge homeless shelter. The Dallas Morning News has lauded her and she is the recipient of the Texas Trailblazer Award, given out by the Family Place, one of my favorite organizations. Lynn helped the non-profit raise almost $17 million in under two years. Clearly, Lynn has philanthropy in her heart and I cannot wait to interview her on why she is running for Mayor of Dallas.

The only problem is that Lynn is a resident of Highland Park. And to be mayor of Dallas, you have to live in Dallas. So Lynn’s Highland Park house is now officially on the market with Anne Oliver of Allie Beth Allman. (more…)

12/07/18 10:54am

Come learn, see examples, and sip some holiday treats from 2-4 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 12 for an informative panel discussion on right-sizing your home.

We don’t just want to show you 31 Abbey Creek Way in North Dallas, Hawkins-Welwood Homes’ brand new, easy-living model at the beautiful Lawns of Glen Abbey. We want to show you how to right-size — how to build a home with everything you want and need on a tighter footprint— at a CandysDirt exclusive expert panel discussion from 2-4 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 12.

You can get your tickets here.

We have put our heads together to assemble a panel of right-sizing (or, if you prefer the old-fashioned word, downsizing) experts including builder John Hawkins of Hawkins-Welwood Homes, Allan Ross of WaaL.Architecture, and certified professional organizer Nancy Peham.


Here’s more on the panel: (more…)

12/07/18 6:00am

I have been hearing all week long that something was afoot at North American Title Company, that a big announcement was coming Friday, and that there has been a lot of personnel movement as of late.

Well, comes word that North American is merging some of its operations with a Silicon Valley-based start-up that was created to disrupt and streamline the $15 billion title insurance industry with technology. It’s called fintech: computer programs and other technology supporting or enabling banking and financial services, and it’s one of the fastest-growing investment areas for venture capitalists.

The company is States Title, and the CEO is Max Simkoff. The two-year-old company’s motto:  “We believe real estate should be simpler, safer, and cheaper to buy, to sell, and to own.”

As we know, buyers use title insurance when buying and financing the purchase of a home. I have often wondered exactly what Title companies do, hence our own Lydia Blair has been educating us the last few months. (And then there are isolated, rare Title Company nightmares.) Basically, title agents scour public records to ensure that buyers (and lenders) avoid liens and ownership disputes on properties, and guarantee full ownership of a property.

But by using technology to scour public records, tech title companies could charge buyers less, which could also eliminate the use of title agents: industry experts say that could result in a 25 percent savings for consumers on title premiums.

Title companies are also highly regulated. So it was a pretty big deal when States Title, a California-based start-up, was approved by regulators this August. States was the first tech-focused title company to be approved in the Golden State. California’s insurance commissioner, Dave Jones, believes “new technology and more competition would help lower costs for consumers”.

“Title-insurance transactions are often labor intensive and suffer from delays,” Jones said in a statement. “States Title uses a digital platform which is data-driven and automates the process.”

(Speaking of disruption, just wait ’til blockchain hits the title biz.)

According to The Real Deal, the title industry has historically been dominated by four companies: Fidelity National, First American, Old Republic, and Stewart Information Services Corporation. Fidelity bought Stewart for $1.2 billion in early 2018. But Disruptors are creeping in:

But tech has started to play a larger role in the industry. The startup company Spruce recently raised $15.6 million, and Daniel Price’s OneTitle launched in 2014. OneTitle focuses on issuing policies, while Spruce focuses on acting as title agents. Price previously told TRD that he thinks title insurance “is at a major inflection point. This is an industry that has seen perilously little innovation for more than a century.”

North American, which was founded in Dallas, was acquired by national homebuilder Lennar Corporation last year and is a wholly-owned subsidiary.

Jump for the official release: (more…)

12/04/18 8:05am

Colorado

We know that North Texans always think of Colorado as sort of an annexation, a bedroom community, where we can escape the heat in summer, and glide around in that white stuff called snow we never see much of during Texas winters. It’s not that far that many drive, there are so many direct flights, and there are just so many wonderful, charming communities.

But Steamboat Springs, located in the northwestern quadrant of the state, is a departure flavor from the flashy, ski Resort communities that dot the heavily-trafficked I-70 corridor: Aspen, Snowmass, Vail, Breckenridge. (Don’t get me wrong, I love them all.) Steamboat brings home more of a relaxed, Montana-feel: true cowboy culture, a warm, tight-knit community of people populated with those who visited either during or right after college and never left. Who can blame them? The mountains are majestic, the billion-dollar views are everywhere, and the weather is terrific. The summers are warm but dry, and the winters are freezing, snowy, and partly cloudy. Over the course of the year, temperatures  can go as low as 8 degrees Fahrenheit but in the summer, the hottest is about 88 or 90 at the most. And that lack of rainfall makes it totally possible to get outside and enjoy — hiking, horseback riding, fly fishing, and of course skiing.

(more…)

12/04/18 6:40am

appraisal
The mood in Washington, D.C. these days is to unwind regulation. So I guess we should not be surprised that the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency recently said it is considering going commando, so to speak, on appraisals for residential real estate transactions under $400,000. The current rules in place now do not require appraisals for properties at $250,000 and below. That threshold is being inched up in the name of burden relief.

Instead of an appraisal, transactions below $400,000 would require an “evaluation”. (I’m guessing AVMs.) Ryan Lunquist, who started a petition against what real estate experts are calling a very dangerous move as well as job killer, says it will be individuals who have no appraisal licenses or certification, and are not subject to state regulatory oversight requirements that govern appraisers. The evaluators could even be an “independent bank employee” or unnamed “third part(ies).” They would, however, have to be “competent” and possess “knowledge of the market, location and type of real property being valued.””

What is a bit more disturbing to me, and probably most Realtors, is how the proposal, which is a joint agreement between the Office of the Comptroller of Currency (OCC), the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, could put a greater emphasis on the property valuations given by real estate portals like Zillow and Redfin, which offer online “zestimates” that we know are not accurate, particularly in a non-disclosure state like Texas. Zillow and Redfin have been sued for vast valuation inaccuracies.

This could also be a real job-killer for the appraisal industry, coming in just as the crosswinds re changing in real estate.

SO YOU ARE GOING TO WANT TO SIGN THIS PETITION.  

(more…)

12/03/18 2:36pm

We are so excited to be the first in town to show you The McKenzie, StreetLights Residential’s newest and most glam property offering in Dallas.

Last video, we told you about all the “common space” amenities in this building — trust me, none of them are common — from the multiple, beautifully decked-out salons and parlors to the commercially perfect kitchen where you can cater an entire dinner party and keep the mess out of your house.

This time, we take you inside several units. Get ready to be wowed by the amenities behind your door: the truly gourmet kitchens, the high end name-brand appliances, the storage, the finish outs, the closets, the bathrooms, the SHUBS (shower/tub combo’s, may be the first in Dallas). 

Because we know that when you make that big switch to renting, your main concern is what lies inside that front door to your home. The folks at StreetLights went overboard on the details for these interior spaces: they even put in dining room wainscoting and, in some units, built-in buffet bars. Clearly these are homes for downsizers who will occasionally want to pull out all the china, crystal, and flatware to entertain just as they did in their previous home. 

The nice thing about The McKenzie? You have your choice of dining rooms and kitchens to choose from. And if you really want to cook up a storm, you can maybe even use BOTH… 

Again, seeing is believing. We want to show you the interiors, mouldings, laundry rooms, Wolf Ranges, wine fridges, closet space, “shubs” (those sexy shower/tub combos) and all..

12/01/18 9:45am
Magnolia West

Realtor John Zimmerman with Compass is hosting a progressive open house party (complete with Texas-OU game watching and noshes at every home) in the latest and greatest private gated community, Magnolia West. The event is Saturday, Dec. 1, and begins at 11:30 a.m.

Westworth Village is a growing enclave just outside Fort Worth, but don’t let the small-town population fool you — it’s close to some of the best amenities Fort Worth has to offer, and the private, gated Magnolia West community puts you right in the thick of everything.

Magnolia West is perched across the street from Shady Oaks Country Club, and is close to the Fort Worth Cultural District, museums, West 7th Street, restaurants, shopping, and plenty of entertainment venues.

And the community also offers some of the best luxury home builders in the area, too, crafting high-end custom, single-family homes that start in the $700,000 range on up — including JAAVA Custom Homes, Village Homes, and Integrity Homes.

And as we mentioned yesterday, if you’ve got a hankering to check out the private neighborhood,  Compass’s  John Zimmerman  is hosting one doozy of a progressive-style open house, complete with plenty of things to nosh on, wine to taste, and yes, the Texas-OU Big 12 Championship showdown at every home you visit (more details on that here). There will also be shopping opportunities with local vendors, so bring your Christmas lists!

But wouldn’t you like a sneak peek? Because we can give you a glimpse of one of the homes on the tour — 157 Magnolia Lane, built by JAAVA Custom Homes (but trust us, you need to go see this home in person, too!). (more…)