Photos courtesy Full Package Media

The Athena is one of those buildings with really good, quite large floorplans coupled with HOA dues that pay for everything including utilities, cable, and internet. Located in Preston Hollow, it’s perfect for those downsizers not wanting to leave the area as well as those seeking easy access to the Dallas Tollway and Central. However, being an older building, finding a renovated unit isn’t always easy.

Enter unit 1111, soon to be on the market. And if I seem to be a bit enthusiastic about this place, I come by it honestly — it’s the home I put my heart and soul into remodeling. A new job means it’s time to move on to my next renovation (in the Metroplex).

What was once a three bedroom, three bathroom unit has been reconfigured into a more spacious two bedroom and three bathroom unit. It boasts 1,899 square feet, plus it is one of the rare units with its glorious 28-foot long balcony intact.

Note: Those familiar with the Athena will know the original walls were heavily textured (crow’s foot) – this unit has smooth walls and no popcorn ceilings. The property will be listed by Robert Blackman at Solvent Realty Group.

As you can see from the picture above, there’s a lot more that’s was done during its stem-to-stern renovation. Let’s have a look …

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For performers, the winning combination for success is singing, dancing, and acting. In condos, it’s location, selling price, and HOA dues.  In every condo purchase, the topic of HOA dues comes up.

For buyers comfortable in the digital age, that topic and resulting self-editing arrive when listings and HOA dues pop onto computer screens. That’s because condo buying adds a cost that’s not factored into single-family home purchasers. For single-family buyers, a monthly nut equals mortgage, utilities, insurance, and taxes. There is no maintenance component – each owner can neglect or maintain as they see fit. In a condo, maintenance is a monthly fee.

Many non-condo people are uncomfortable paying a monthly HOA fee because it typically adds hundreds of dollars to monthly budgets reducing what they can ultimately purchase. Almost everyone has a budget, so it’s an important consideration. Unreasonably high HOA dues crimp the buyer pool even more.

Me? I’m OK with reasonable HOA dues. One check a month and I don’t do a gosh-darn thing outside my front door. I don’t pay separate utilities, cable, internet, window washing, or even regular exterminator spraying – in my case, it’s all rolled into the monthly HOA dues.

But not all condos charge reasonable fees, especially when compared with similar buildings. The results aren’t good.

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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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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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Avanti: 4122 Avondale

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

I recently suggested that builders lay off the endless blocks of cookie-cutter townhouses with their all-too-familiar floor plans. I see them as an inefficient use of space that invariably cost homebuyers more for the same amount of usable space. They’re the real estate equivalent of the adage, “an elephant is a mouse designed by a committee.”  The answer is single-story “flats” condos.

However, for all their efficient use of space, high-rises often come with HOA dues that put them (monetarily and philosophically) out of reach of most — not to mention some folks being height averse. Enter the low-rise flat. In the early 20th century, many cities built a network of duplex flats, some even triplex flats. In Dallas, these buildings can be seen in many older neighborhoods in East Dallas, Oak Lawn, and Oak Cliff. They offered a way for an owner to have a rental property to ease mortgage payments.

Pre-Recession, Dallas was building a few low-rise flats condo buildings with all the joy of single-story living and reasonable HOAs. Some baulk at any HOA dues, but things like uniform exterior maintenance and landscaping matter – and it’s better to have something in the bank when problems arise versus hastily passing the hat.

Anyway, let’s peek at three low-rise flats in Oak Lawn built pre-Recession.

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Ryan Shea, his wife Mercy, and one of their sons enjoy last year’s holiday pie party.

For the seventh straight year, Realtor Ryan Shea will celebrate the holidays with pies. His annual holiday pie party is a way to thank clients and give back to those who have helped him.

“Ultimately it’s just a way to get everyone together,” Shea said. “My clients can meet each other. It’s just a great way to lighten up, relax and have a good time.”

The event will be held from 11 a.m.- 1 p.m. Dec. 13 at the Dallas Tree House store, 8021 Walnut Hill Lane. Anyone interested in attending should email Shea at ryan.shea@exprealty.com along with their pie preference (pecan, pumpkin or apple) before Dec. 10. International speaker and author Dr. Hank Seitz, known for his books on business and performance development, will also be in attendance. (more…)

Morse Code “Good Morning”

A few weeks ago I wrote about the pitiful communication skills many HOAs and management companies use when communicating with residents.  Who knew I would get a second example so soon?

Imagine your Saturday tranquility shattered by jackhammers ripping through concrete minutes after sunrise at 7 a.m. Turns out that a building with ground-floor commercial space chose Saturday morning to allow a renovation to begin after the space recently changed hands.

Needless to say, residents were unhappy and loudly voiced their unhappiness over the din of the demolition.

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Grapevines are an effective, but famously inaccurate. form of communication

We’ve all heard (and likely employed) the old saying, “Better to ask for forgiveness than permission.”  The inference is that while you were going to do something anyway, once it’s done, the resulting hassles are less than having to deal with the before-during-after trio of carping.  But that strategy doesn’t play well in multi-family dwellings that often operate as a Peyton Place of wagging tongues.

Of course the other issue here is that resident-representatives on HOA boards are generally untrained in the ways of communication. Management companies can be equally untrained. All seemingly unable to operate on even the most basic “what would I like” litmus test.

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