Alleged bomber Sayoc (right) making America great again. (Source: Facebook)

Turns out Cesar Sayoc, the person now (so far) charged with five federal crimes for allegedly sending 13 pipe bombs to various Democrats apparently had a bigger bone to pick with Republicans. While no specific motive has been ascribed yet, here’s one …


Huge kudos to Teresa Gubbins over at CultureMap, who spied a real anomaly in our Texas market: a foreclosure. Even when there are supposed to be fewer foreclosures in Dallas! And not just any foreclosure, but a foreclosure in the honeypot of Preston Hollow, on the same street where T. Boone Pickens recently sold his flawless $5 million estate after his last marriage ended.

The home at foreclosure auction is 9410 Alva Court

at the corner of Deloache Ave., in one of Dallas’ most celebrity-studded neighborhoods. Once owned by restaurant mogul Norm Brinker, it was purchased by colorful oncologist Dennis Birenbaum in 2002, who deserves props for recommending that people avoid eating junk food. In February, the property went into foreclosure, and is owned by Bank of America.

The home was actually built by a Dallas physician, anesthesiologist Dr. Terry James. His daughter is Jamie O’Banion, the skincare guru. And yes, Nancy Brinker slept here — a lot. The Brinkers bought the home from the James because one of the downstairs bathrooms was outfitted to easily accommodate the handicapped.  This is where Nancy Brinker lived when she was in Dallas and married to Norman. The home was then purchased by oncologist/hemotologist Dr. Dennis Birenbaum in 2002, as Teresa reported. It went into foreclosure, and the bank took it back in late February of this year. As you can see from the photos, this house needs some love…


Apocryphally, Black Friday is the day when retailers finally turn a profit on the year (not the color of your mother’s bruises getting you a Cabbage Patch doll).  Yes, the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas is the only profitable month and it’s so profitable it makes up for the losses of the remainder of the year.

Real estate is waiting for its own turn at profitability from the depth of the Recession.  You may be cowed into thinking that all of that is behind us. Nope.  You may think that Dallas has recovered.  Nope.


After an adverse sale, whether a short sale or a foreclosure, the idea of owning a home again feels far off and challenging. But if you’re ready to wade back into the waters of homeownership after bankruptcy or another life event, Bob Johnson (AKA BobMortgage) has some sage advice for you.

And there’s no better expert in mortgages than Bob Johnson, senior mortgage advisor for the nation’s oldest private mortgage lender, Wallick & Volk. With more than 20 years of industry experience helping thousands of people in all types of buyer situations, he’s seen it all and has the knowledge to help guide you through buying a home after foreclosure, bankruptcy, or a short sale. Click through for more:


Eviction 2

Cannot tell you where this is yet, because I’m still poking around, but the contents of the house were actually cleared out and dumped on the driveway. Classic eviction or foreclosure. Two DPD were standing by (see the nose of the squad car). Looks like this is going to be a hot lot sale in about 24 hours…

Eviction 1

These were on VRBO, where the owner also received some happy reviews by people interested in renting a mansion near downtown Dallas. Look at that manicured garden! What in the world is going on? Also there is apparently no door to close off the master bathroom, it flows right in from the master suite. So? A previous owner reworked the third bedroom into an amazing master bath and giant closet. I get it.


Fracking in Mead Colo

Business Insider listed the top nine things that can cripple or kill home values, and fracking (hydraulic fracturing) was listed among foreclosure graveyards, hoarding, sex offenders, and poorly performing schools as one of the top problems that tank home values.

The threat of potentially polluted drinking water scares off buyers from their potential dream home. A study by Duke University and the nonprofit Resources for the Future confirms that fact:

Their study found Pennsylvania homeowners who use local groundwater for drinking lost up to 24 percent of their property value if they are within a mile and a quarter of a shale gas well.

But the news was far better for neighbors who get their water piped in. They saw values rise by nearly 11 percent, likely because of lease money from gas drillers and no worries about polluted water, the researchers found.

The only other real estate eyesore that trashes home values more than fracking is large unsightly billboards, which can sink a home’s appraisal by more than $30,000.

Would you buy a home with a fracking well nearby?

7203 Morton sign

7203 Morton

I found this cute house over off Inwood and Lovers, on a little street called (7203) Morton.

Sorry, no links: it’s a for sale by owner. On the plus side, there was a flyer in the flyer box, which is rare. According to the flyer, the home is 1,579 square feet, updated with new roof, new hardwoods, carpet, and a step-down third bedroom with travertine. Totally new kitchen and updated baths, separate utility room. New sprinkler system, new fence, new private gate, new deck, flagstone patio and outdoor accent lighting. They are also offering a home warranty from American Home Shield, but I wonder why with all that new stuff? So here’s the $269,000 question: where is the website? You have to call about this house, and when I did, I left a message that was not returned.

How can this seller sell this house?

I get it: some people think they can sell their home themselves, and some can. I did it once, actually. A few years ago, 80% of all FSBO (for sale by owner) buyers surveyed by the National Association of Realtors said they would not go FSBO alone the second time around — they’d hire a real estate agent. Still, the number of FSBO sellers willing to represent themselves seems to have grown in recent years. Now only 50% of FSBO buyers say they’d let an agent do the work. Which is weird, because the market has less inventory and way more hip pockets. If anything, I think Realtors are becoming MORE necessary.

Often, homeowners undergoing a financial hardship think they can sell their home themselves to save money. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work out that way and the house remains on the market longer, selling for less or short selling. The agent can also save you enormous amounts of time. Here are five things to consider if you think you might want to “Play Realtor.”

1. What Is Your Home Really Worth?
The biggest shocker for most sellers is the true value of their homes, determined by a comparative market analysis (CMA), an appraiser, or actual offers from buyers. The reality is that markets change, and home values rise and fall. Many factors affect home values, and most of them are subjective and difficult to measure. Home values on the same street can be vastly different. And a market can change in a matter of weeks. I know a seller who is selling his home based on what he wants to net — the home has been on the market for over a year, and he has refused one offer that was in the ballpark of the home’s true value. He’s still a homeowner.

2. Shocker: Not Everyone is Going to Adore Your Home
Yeah, it’s your castle, but buyers have their own ideas and lifestyles, preferences, tastes and attitudes. It is highly unlikely a buyer will ever take your home as it is and not change one doorpull. Most buyers will look at your home with an eye as to how they can make it their own. That’s why a Realtor’s advice can help you spend money wisely on the house prep: should you spend thousands on gardening? Paint everything beige? Change the upstairs carpet or offer an allowance?

3. Buyers Will Insult You
Get ready to get insulted. Most buyers try to pick your home apart to improve bargaining leverage. You will likely feel like telling them to take a hike, and go find someone else to torture. Many of their buyer’s complaints and requests for repairs can be legitimate, especially if an inspection turns up repairs and deferred maintenance. Most agents will suggest you get an inspection before you market a home. Still, some requests can be outrageous and you may lose potential buyers. Try not to punch anyone!

4. Buyers Will Want to Come First Thing In The Morning, or At A Moment’s Notice
You cannot control the buyer’s schedule. When your home is on the market, it’s not just your Realtor (or you) but dozens of Realtors and their clients wanting to see the home 24/7. If you sell your home yourself, be prepared to handle this graciously. Security is a huge issue, and one reason why I would never FSBO these days. I’d insist on security at all open houses, for you and your home.

5. Buyers Can Be Rude

My son was telling me about an open house in California where the market is a bit frenzied, he said fist fights almost broke out. Buyers can be obnoxious — track mud on your clean floors (makes my blood boil), spill coffee from their Starbucks cups, plop down in your best antique chair or the worst: bring along a bunch of unruly kids who get fingerprints on everything. Be ready to wonder if some buyers are aliens. Agents can shuttle the monsters to their offices.

Of course, the most important thing is marketing your home with great photos and getting it internet exposure now that 99% of all real estate transactions start on the internet. If your home is not in MLS, and circulating in at least 10 places on the internet, it is getting zero exposure.

No one is buying homes off paper anymore, be it newspapers or flyers in the rain-soaked flyer box.