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.  

(more…)

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.”

(more…)

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. 

(more…)

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.

(more…)

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

(more…)

Real Estate Story
salary

At $230,000, the house at 9348 Highedge Cir. in Dallas costs about the average for a home here.

With home prices soaring in Dallas, many buyers wonder what it would cost to live in other cities. Turns out, inventory is tight around the nation, not just in North Texas.

In Dallas, the average home price is $230,500, a year-over-year increase of 9.76 percent, according to HSH.com. The means you need an annual salary of $53,824 to buy here—with a 20 percent down payment—and not end up house poor (with a mortgage rate average of 3.61 percent in Dallas, that’s a monthly payment of $1,256). With 10 percent down instead of 20, the required salary increases from $53,824 to $61,581.

What does it cost in 26 other cities around the country? Jump to find out!

(more…)

Real Estate Story

richardson

For people looking to Internet rankings when searching for their next place to live, 24/7 Wall St. produces some solid information. As opposed to some list-makers, they actually do real research with scientific data and come up with interesting findings.

They recently reviewed data on the 550 American cities with populations of 65,000 or more (measured by the U.S. Census Bureau). They looked at a range of variables, including crime rates, employment growth, access to restaurants/attractions, educational attainment, and housing affordability, and they identified America’s 50 Best Cities to Live.

Two Texas cities made the 24/7 Wall St. list, and both are in DFW. In the top five, Richardson, and in the top ten, North Richland Hills. Intrigued? So were we. Read on to see why they chose these two places for their list.

(more…)