Articles by

Jon Anderson

Jon Anderson is CandysDirt.com's condo/HOA and developer columnist, but also covers second home trends on SecondShelters.com. An award-winning columnist, Jon has earned silver and bronze awards for his columns from the National Association of Real Estate Editors in both 2016, 2017 and 2018. When he isn't in Hawaii, Jon enjoys life in the sky in Dallas.

03/26/19 9:00am

We’ve all seen one of these “leg parties” from the street

First I came for your kitchen, now I’m coming for your garage.

I’ve noticed a trend over the past year at the Oak Lawn Committee – applicants seeking less parking than is required by the PD-193 ordinance. A hotel will be seeking half of the parking required, and an office building cutting a third. Each one makes the case that less car use equates to less garage space needed. Even outside the city core, the Preston Road and Northwest Highway task force meetings were presented with multiple traffic studies which showed that intersection’s traffic had been decreasing for nearly 20 years.

Outside Dallas, I’ve also read this past week of projects in urban Chicago where heart-stoppingly few parking spaces are being proposed in new residential projects. A mixed hotel-condo project with 280 hotel rooms and 290 condos would offer just 26 parking spaces. Another 39-story, 368-unit residential tower proposed 158 parking spaces while an 11-story, 102-unit building would have just 31 spaces – each a far cry from the expected two spaces per unit minimum. For Dallasites, these projects are heart-stopping because unlike Dallas, Chicago has a robust public transportation system in addition to ride-sharing services. Many municipalities are taking notice and updating parking minimums.

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03/15/19 9:15am

Virtual Staging adds furniture to empty rooms (Source VHT Studios)

Every show on HGTV ends with the glamor walk-through where the paint’s fresh and professional stagers have airlifted a lifestyle no one actually lives into place. Tears flow. Have you ever seen the revisit shows?  They don’t show them too often because how people actually live is far, far from photogenic. Crimson walls and gold brocade curtains that are never a part of any staging plan. Monstrously large and cheap sofas. Banged-up walls. Junk everywhere.  And if you’re the listing agent on one of these lived-in homes, dealing with sellers who think their dreck puts Architectural Digest to shame.

It makes you want to shout, “Calgon, take me away”.

Enter virtual staging, where computer jockeys elevate good pictures into great marketing tools. Last week I wrote about a Turtle Creek high-rise listing shot by Epic Foto Group that used drones with remarkable effect. This time, we’re talking about enhancements that can be electronically done to listing photos.

Virtual Redecorating (Source VHT Studios)

When I spoke with the Brian Balduf, CEO of Chicago-based VHT Studios, a nationwide real estate photography service, he described five distinct opportunities to enhance traditional listing pics.

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03/13/19 9:45am

Crescent Court

Editor’s note: Jon Anderson is a columnist for CandysDirt.com. His opinions are his own.

It was with sadness that I saw the proposed development slated for the old Old Warsaw restaurant lot on Maple Avenue across from the Crescent Court. My sadness increased when I realized Kairoi Residential wasn’t visiting the Oak Lawn Committee to vet the building itself, but rather for a “landscape special exception.”

Architects and builders tell me that the exterior of the building is pretty easy to change in the grand scheme of things.  While it has no impact on the interior leasable space, it has a tremendous impact on everyone who walks and drives by.

Given the existing and announced components of the four-corner intersection, constructing what appears to be a low-slung chair of “blah” is an opportunity wasted.

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03/12/19 9:00am
Condo

Regardless of the configuration, this is the gorgeous view.

Editor’s note: Jon Anderson is a columnist for CandysDirt.com. His opinions are his own.

The following was adapted from a series of emails about how to possibly divide a double unit in the Claridge into two units. With help from the current Realtor, could we help this prospective condo buyer out? Read and see.

Dear Jonny: I saw your column last week about Claridge unit 5D and hoped maybe you can help me.  I’m sure you’re aware of the Claridge’s double-unit 18A/B penthouse that’s been for sale since 2015. The years have seen several price reductions, knocking more than a million off its original $2.65 million. It might finally be within my grasp – kinda. Like you, I am a renovator and feel the price now takes a needed renovation into account. But here’s the thing, at 5,311 square feet, it’s too big for me. Also, the floorplan of the two combined units doesn’t work. It creates a very long space that originally had five bedrooms, six full bathrooms and two half bathrooms – as you know, Claridge units have full his/hers master bathrooms.

The current real estate agent is Sharon Quist with Dave Perry-Miller whom I think you know. According to Sharon, the current owner wants to sell the unit whole and not re-divide it. Here’s my dilemma and request – could you look at the floor plan and create options for dividing the unit?  I saw your reimagining of the 3525 Turtle Creek unit and the one at the Gold Crest and thought maybe if agents and buyers saw the options, it might bring another buyer and myself together on a real estate-style “blind date”.

  • Goldilocks

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03/08/19 12:00pm

[Editor’s note: Jon Anderson is a columnist for CandysDirt.com. His opinions are his own.]

While Thursday’s meeting fell short of the usual fireworks PD-15 brings about, the City Plan Commission asked some great questions regarding city staff’s proposed changes to PD-15.

In the lead-up to City Plan Commission’s public hearing on staff’s proposal for updating PD-15, staff briefed plan commissioners Thursday morning at Vital. Groups. Knee. Senior Planner Andrew Ruegg, who’s led the process so far, presented essentially the same slides as were shown to the community two weeks ago.

What the few who went to the meeting were most interested in were the questions and comments from the other commissioners. I give a “Hallelujah!” to CPC chair Gloria Tarpley for commenting that the 3-D images shown of the proposed changes would have been welcome at other cases. How the city can be devising “words on paper” documents reflecting 3-D realities without 3-D models has always been a mystery. It should be ante to the game.

The first questions were from District 11 appointee Janie Schultz. First, she was curious whether the requirement for a street lamp every 50-feet was adequate. While boilerplate, staff said they’d look into it. Schultz’ second question concerned the affordable housing sweeteners and whether anyone would use them. The suspicion is that along the northern side they will be unlikely to be used, while on the Northwest Highway side they may if the developer wants to get near tapping any height. It kind of goes to what I’ve been saying that if the buildable envelope doesn’t grow, it’s just cannibalizing market-rate units for affordable units.

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03/07/19 9:45am

Vital. Groups. Knee. That’s the three-word address of Dallas City Hall – no number, no street, no zip code.

It’s how you would find 1500 Marilla using What 3 Words. The company has covered the world in a 3-meter square grid (10 feet) and assigned each one a unique three-word code. What appears to be a party game at first glance is a lot more (click here to explore your address).

The operation was founded in 2013 because addresses were imprecise for deliveries – which loading dock, which section of the park, etc.? Beyond that, over 75 percent of the globe has poor or non-existent addresses – and then there’s the oceans and seas.

Precision of location is the name of the game and investors have taken note with millions invested in the technology. For consumers and real estate agents, there are great uses for the free app available for both Android and Apple users. First is the location pinpointing. If you’re in a rural area, the accuracy is unlike what you’re used to. Using What 3 Words for selling property with considerable acreage definitely makes meeting a buyer or Realtor on-property a snap (no more arm waving, horn honking, and light flashing). The location is within a 10-foot-by-10-foot square.

You can also tag photos with What 3 Word addresses so not only can a buyer find the property, but they know precisely where the agent snapped pictures. For the digital egotist, you can add the What 3 Word designation to photos of your lunch or the sunset you just enjoyed. The apps also support speech recognition so you can tell it to remember or find a precise location without typing.

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03/05/19 9:45am

Capturing “unit as view” enables buyers to mentally place unit.

[Editor’s note: Jon Anderson is a columnist for CandysDirt.com. His opinions are his own.]

It’s been a while since I’ve visited the Claridge straddling Turtle Creek at Lemmon Avenue. In 2016, CandysDirt.com hosted a four-unit simultaneous open house that reintroduced us all to homes in the same building with different stories to tell. I called those units “Rahab,” “Remodel,” “Refresh,” and  “Rejoice,” which reflected how move-in ready they were (based on my personal tastes).

My “Remodel” was unit 5D, which was listed at the time for $1.474 million. It’s now back on the market with Allie Beth Allman agent Sue Krider for $1.189 million. While snoozing usually equates to losing, this time it’ll snag any buyer $285,000 off the original price. The home remains 3,049 square feet with two bedrooms and three-and-one-half bathrooms. The floorplan (below) shows this was originally a three-bedroom that’s been converted to include two home offices — perfect for all you DINKs out there (Double Income No Kids).

Why am I revisiting this property?  The photos.

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03/01/19 12:00pm

Recategorizing zoning to reflect reality.

[Editor’s note: Jon Anderson is a columnist for CandysDirt.com. His opinions are his own.]

The actions and words of many city plan commissioners and city council members should be a warning to all who live in multi-family areas – discrete zoning designations don’t matter. Personal investments made in part because of existing zoning don’t matter. You as residents don’t matter.

When the Lincoln Katy Trail project was at CPC, chairwoman Gloria Tarpley said in response to huge neighborhood opposition to changing the MF-2 designation to MF-3, “we do this all the time.”  For those uninitiated in city zoning, among other things, the change would increase buildable height from 36 feet to 90 feet. It’s also real estate alchemy, administratively making land a lot more valuable for the sellers.

When the Lincoln project hit city council in January, Mayor Rawlings swept away neighborhood opposition to concentrate on snagging less-affordable housing that currently exists (and calling it a “win” for affordable housing in north Dallas).

This is just one example of a city unconcerned with residents in multi-family areas. For some reason, city leaders think that any change is OK, and that residents should just buck-up. Somehow, they feel that constant worrying about huge increases in density is part of what living in a multi-family are means – in contrast to near bullet-proof zoning in single-family neighborhoods.

In a Faustian deal, multi-family areas are the carpet Dallas can sweep its increasing population under as a way to preserve single-family homes, which are rarely converted to multi-family. The exception (of course) is a sliding scale of resident income. The poorer the well-located area, the more likely single-family will be swept away in gentrification.  Middle-class and up?  You’re pretty golden.

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