Real Estate Story

Andrew Sherman, photographer/videographer and owner of drewliophoto.com outside his newly purchased Junius Heights duplex.

Photographer and videographer Andrew Sherman is a regular fixture at Deep Ellum’s hottest music venues. He can often be spotted snapping shots of Dallas’ hottest live acts at Deep Ellum Art Co. on Commerce Street. So when this talented artist was looking to leave the apartment life behind, he had a few requirements that almost threw a wrench in his dream of homeownership.

“I had two main goals,” said Sherman, owner of Drewliophoto.com. “I wanted a room big enough to turn into a home photo studio, and I wanted a duplex. This is my first house and budget was a big concern. I basically just had my eye on the East Dallas neighborhoods.  I didn’t have a preference on old or new house, but I really love the fact that its over 100 years old — I mean its the ultimate in recycling!”

It was pure luck that brought Sherman to Ebby Halliday Realtor Amanda Christensen and then to the duplex of his dreams.

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Real Estate Story

Tell Me Your Real Estate Story: French Couple Persevere to Find Family Home | CandysDirt.com

Lina Betancourt Fensch is a citizen of the world. Born in the United States to Colombian parents, she moved from Dallas to Paris, France, in 2004. She lived in the City of Light for over a decade, meeting and marrying her husband, Antoine Fensch, and having two children, Mathis and Mila. 

They moved from Paris to North Texas in September of 2016 and started house-hunting shortly thereafter. In May of this year, after looking at dozens of houses and being outbid time and time again, they finally bought a Richardson Heights house with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and 1,856 square feet. Their story is fascinating! 

Full names: Lina Betancourt Fensch and Antoine Fensch

Occupations: Corporate communications, stay-at-home dad

Location: Richardson

Price Range: Under $250,000

Agent: Harriet Shaw with Keller Williams Urban Dallas

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Real Estate Story

Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the South Texas coastline on Aug. 25. In Houston, the endless rain would take its toll on the city, leaving much of it underwater for days.

The moment Hurricane Harvey hit, everyone called family and friends to see if they were safe and find out what we could do. My first call was to my friends Suzy and Brian. Brian is a vice president with an energy company. Suzy is a designer and owner of an antique shop. They have two boys and a Labradoodle. They live in West Houston close to Buffalo Bayou. This is their story. (more…)

Real Estate Story

Glenna and Justin Lafitte with their miniature pinscher, Pee Wee. The pair found the perfect home for their pet-loving household completely by chance. (Photo: Joanna England)

If Greenville Avenue hadn’t been closed on the way back from the White Rock dog park, Glenna and Justin Lafitte may never have bought their new home inside Merion at Midtown Park.

It was a day like any other — the couple took their miniature pinscher to the ever-popular dog park near the Mockingbird Lane bridge that traverses the narrow side of White Rock Lake’s northeast shores. They were cutting across east Dallas to their unit at the Paradiso in North Dallas, just off North Central Expressway when they had to reroute — Greenville Avenue was closed heading north. So they made their way up to Walnut Hill.

It was just luck that the two had been looking for a single-family home in the area. It had been a less-than-stellar search thus far — everything that they wanted in the neighborhood was older than they preferred or on the pricey side. “We looked at a community by PSW and it was in the $750s,” he said, “way outside our price range.”

So it really was just a happy accident that they found Hines’ brand new development.  

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Real Estate Story

Photo courtesy Charleston’s TheDigitel via Creative Commons

Hey, have you heard the one about the couple who rented a place on Craigslist only to catch their super gross landlord having all the sex in their bed? The things that come across your desk when you write about real estate.

The Smoking Gun, which uncovers all kinds of weirdness in the criminal and civil justice world, tells us the story of Logan Pierce and Mikaela DiGiulio of Colorado Springs, Colo. The couple rented their abode from Carlos Quijada-Lara after seeing his ad on Craigslist.

“Quijada-Lara’s daytime tryst was discovered thanks to a Nest security system that was installed in the $1100-a-month apartment by the tenants,” the site says. “After Quijada-Lara and his partner entered the bedroom, Pierce received a notification on his phone that the surveillance system had detected noise in the residence.”

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Real Estate Story

One year ago, my husband and I bought a house in the Cottonwood Heights neighborhood of Richardson. What an exciting and busy year — I’m a “nester,” so having a place that’s ours for keeps, as opposed to renting, feels more secure and comfortable. Plus I can finally paint whatever I want! 

As a real estate writer, I’m quite familiar with the concept of being “house poor,” and we wanted to avoid that at all costs. Being house poor describes a person who spends a big proportion of his or her total income on home ownership, including mortgage payments, property taxes, maintenance, utilities, and other expenses. We bought well below our max budget, which has allowed us to be able to afford the unplanned expenses of our first year. That is one of the smartest things we did. 

So what did our first year actually cost us? Read on to find out. 

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Real Estate Story
Ray and Jessica Mabry and their children

Ray and Jessica Mabry and their children

By day, Jessica and Ray Mabry are architects at HKS, with busy careers and two young children. As if work and parenthood don’t already add up to plenty for most of us mere mortals, The Mabrys recently formed Lark Properties and took on their first flip. While that seems like a lot to handle, the couple says that the eight-month labor of love became like any hobby and an overall positive experience for the family.

“We ate out more often than I would have liked and I think my children also received some independence a little earlier then they might have otherwise,” said Jessica. “But really it just folded into the rest of the craziness that we call life.”

“In the end we do it all for the love of our kids and their futures,” Ray added, stressing that the rewards of the project far outweighed any of the challenges.

The Mabrys’ story is one of our favorite kinds because it comes with before-and-after shots. Join us after the jump for more on their journey and some great eye candy.

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Real Estate Story
Jennifer Kilpatrick

Jennifer Kilpatrick and her son Jack

Single mom and attorney Jennifer Kilpatrick is a Dallas native and Ursuline Academy grad who moved away in 1992. After a divorce in 2016, she and her son moved back to North Texas, renting an apartment in The Village. She wanted time to find a new house in this competitive market, and focused her search to the area in which she grew up.

“I began searching for a house a few months ago, and wanted to buy a house in east Dallas, since I grew up in Lake Highlands and Jack goes to school at St. Thomas Aquinas,” she said. “I confined my home search to Lake Highlands, Little Forest Hills, Lochwood, and Ridgewood Park (and small, ill-defined neighborhoods around those places).”

We’ve followed her home-buying journey, from first searches to closing on a Lochwood cutie this month. It’s a great story!

Full name: Jennifer Kilpatrick

Occupation: Attorney

Location: East Dallas

Price Range: Under $350K

AgentCindy Johnson with Keller Williams

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