Listing vs DCAD. Paying full-price for a 299 square foot balcony?

AT&T used to say, “you get what you pay for.” In real estate, you pay for what you get, so it’s important to know what you’re getting, especially when condo shopping. In many markets, including Hawaii, exterior space (balconies) counts towards living space. That means when you buy a 1,000-square-foot condo, the price per square foot is calculated as 1,000 square feet, regardless of whether there’s a 200 square foot balcony included in that 1,000 square feet.

In Dallas, a 1,000 square foot condo means 1,000 square feet under roof that is heated and air-conditioned. The balcony is sorta free or at least not part of the price-setting. In Hawaii, the 200-square-foot balcony is additional space and would be listed as 1,200 square feet.  Got it? In Dallas, balconies are generally not counted as chargeable, interior space.

Unless they are.


The penthouse is still available at $16.5 million

Museum Tower has hit a crucially important sales milestone: 80% sold. Which means 100% is in the very near future. In high rises, sales multiply more rapidly with every signed contract.

And for Museum Tower, one of the contracts that put them in the 80 percent club came from another prominent Dallas family moving out of Preston Hollow. They will be in good company. (Editor’s Note: upon request and respect for privacy, we have removed the names of the high profile homeowners though it is public record.) 

Currently there are 108 homes, after legal combinations of units, and only 22 homes left to sell.

22/108 =20.37%

The 42-story luxury tower is now five years old. And for Steve Sandborg, Managing Director, Sales and Operations, this sales threshold couldn’t be a better holiday gift.

“We’ve been inching towards that magic 8-0 number, we’ve had a strong year, so we knew we would get here by now,” says Steve. “Museum Tower is a very special place, and nobody has this perfect location, in the center of everything.”

Steve and the Briggs Freeman real estate team working tirelessly toward 100% sales says interest in the building seems to get stronger every day.

“The buzz around town is that we are THEE place,” says Steve.   (more…)

When a condo is first built and still controlled by the developer, HOA dues are kept low to not scare off buyers. Once the developer is gone, those payments have to be reassessed to ensure they meet the needs of the ongoing repair and maintenance of the building. (Hint, they’re not.) The Mayfair, neighboring Lee Oak Lawn Park, is 18 years old, and like all buildings, various maintenance requirements need to be met. 

Soon after the Mayfair gained independence, they began conducting reserve studies that detailed the condition  of their infrastructure, its life expectancy, and estimated costs to repair or replace.  As you know, I’m big on HOAs doing reserve studies to avoid surprises that typically equate to a special assessment and/or the sudden failure of a critical element of a building (That noise you heard? Surprise! The A/C will be out for the month of August).


Nearby condo replacing noisy steel carport roof with … noisy steel carports roof

Maintenance doesn’t necessarily mean repairing something back to its original condition.  If it did, we’d all still be using outhouses. And while we’re pretty good at changing interior spaces to suit our living needs, often exteriors are left out.

Here’s an example.  In my building, probably 80 percent of our balconies are (unfortunately) enclosed and will likely (unfortunately) remain that way.  Outside those enclosures are the original railings which give owners a nice prison-bar view from the waist down.  Not very enticing.

When it came time to repaint and repair the exterior of the building, railing repair was part of the drill.  My question was why couldn’t we ask the city if the railings on those completely enclosed balconies couldn’t just be removed.  They served no useful purpose, were unattractive and ultimately cost money to maintain.


In my recent Dallas High-Rise Buyer’s Guide series, I noted that there are a lot of buildings too close to highways for comfort.  If I added in all the recent highway-adjacent apartments, none of us would be separated by the requisite six degrees from someone who has a noise problem.  What can you do?


High-tech and smart folks are of more use than making battery-operated gadgets that fit on your pocket.  Turns out there’s a whole science to minimizing road noise intrusion not only inside our homes, but shaving a few decibels when we’re outside. The place to start is the Acoustical Society of America, which was founded in 1928 by some smart folks at Bell Laboratories (yes, the phone people).  By the time of their first meeting in 1929, there were 450 members. By 1931 they’d joined with three other groups to form the American Institute of Physics.  Don’t let the “American” fool you — this is an international body that develops and sets standards in a variety of sound-related disciplines from musical acoustics to architecture.  Nifty, eh?


Unassuming entry opens to another world, trust me …

The area south of Lovers Lane and east of Greenville Avenue is on fire.  Of course anyone looking for a reasonably-priced condo already knows that. The area was built-up in the 1960s with acres of apartments, many of which over time converted to condos.  Those remaining apartments are being mowed down for new condo and townhouse developments costing a heck of a lot more than the original condos of the area.


Security 1 SM

Two subjects are sure to get any HOA meeting roiling — money and security.  If there’s a special assessment or dues increase, the next HOA meeting will be attended as if Elvis would be in the building. Similarly, security topics will set the assembled on high-murmur even long after the meeting is done.

Cash and fear … all that’s missing is a little sex.


When buyers select a single-family home, one of their criteria is of course, price, but there are other measurements of a successful home.  Yes, to an extent, location is dictated by costs, but the personality of a neighborhood isn’t.

There are blocks that regularly socialize and those where anonymity is expected.  A lot of single-family buyers’ criteria revolves around children … schools, playmates, etc., but never having been in that bubble, I’ll not comment on its subtleties except to acknowledge its existence. For the vast majority of buyers in the condo world, children are either gone, not arrived, or never will.

But once you decide to live in a communal environment, where your only “fence” is your front door, “neighborhood” becomes more nuanced. Because not only is neighborhood the area surrounding the building, it’s the area inside the building.  Let’s take a look at three condos, each with around 1,150 square feet, two bedrooms, and two bathrooms … and all steps from the Katy Trail.