09/20/19 9:00am

I’ve never used the same general contractor twice. That says something right there. So every time I do a renovation, I have to start from scratch. The usual reason I don’t repeat contractors comes down to communication. I say things that don’t happen. They do things without asking that aren’t on the blueprints. They ignore installation instructions so an item won’t install properly (so I get the right part and do it myself over the weekend only to be met with wide-eyed stares). They try to install a shower drain a foot off the ground (literally) because they don’t have the right drain – which I source and have FedEx-ed.  They cut an active water line that floods the place and send me a Jimmy John’s sandwich as a “sorry.” And once they just ghosted for a month and I had to sue to recoup my deposit.

Those who read this column know that clarity isn’t typically one of my faults nor is suffering fools.

So given my track record, how do I find a contractor?

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Pogir Pogir with Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty has listed 5350 S. Dentwood Drive for $3.999 million.

These Preston Hollow prizes do not disappoint! In fact, they all share generous floor plans and designer finishes, but have price points that are miles apart. The best part? Each will be on full display this weekend for your viewing pleasure. Simply tour all three, then tell us which one is your favorite.

Dreamy On Dentwood Drive

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On the outskirts of the State-Thomas neighborhood in Dallas’ Uptown area is Griggs Park — an outstanding urban green space with pretty much the best views of the Dallas skyline from the north. And just north of Griggs Park is the 588 Lofts building. For those who want the Uptown lifestyle but want some distance from the deep bass of the popular entertainment district’s nightlife, you really can’t do much better than this building. 

But not all units at the 588 Lofts building are alike, and not all of them are budget-friendly. Luckily, Dallas City Center Realtor Michael McQuay has a listing that is both move-in ready and affordable. Making it this week’s Inwood National Bank Home of the Week was practically a no-brainer.

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09/19/19 9:45am

Listing agent Heather Wilkinson of Fathom Realty says homes in the gated Hickory Estates neighborhood on Lake Lewisville don’t come on the market very often, but when they do they go quickly. She was right as this three-bedroom, 2 and half-bath home at 101 Wild Oak Lane in Hickory Creek has a contingent offer after less than 10 days on MLS. The 1978-built stucco home has 1,652 square feet on half an acre that backs up to the lake and is listed for $384,900.

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09/19/19 9:30am

Recent studies show more interest in suburban living over urban.

For years we have been hearing that it’s all about urbanization: everyone is moving into the city core, desiring higher density housing like apartments and condos, Millennials and Baby Boomers alike. The high life! 

Certainly if you are leading or running a large city like Dallas, the chart to the right might want to make you slug Scotch. Dallas, as in City of Dallas, is losing population just as San Francisco, New York, and Chicago are.

Why? Why is Dallas, smack in the center of business-friendly Texas, with average home prices up but still not out of reach, on this death-spiraling list?

Dallas Isn’t Immune

We know that the over-priced real estate market in San Francisco — average home price is about $1 million — plus the homeless and constricting building laws (hello, it’s California) is starting to rub on even the most faithful Bay-area residents. 

Chicago, my beloved hometown: overpriced real estate, crime, so much corruption I almost cannot remember when we didn’t have a governor who went to jail. 

New York City: My favorite place on earth for a week, but who can afford to live there without a bottom income of $200K annually?

But why Dallas? My take — and I’d love to hear yours — is past weak leadership and corruption that weakened our police force, a reputation for poor public schools that is not at all deserved, and crime. Couple that with relatively cheap gas prices that make the extra five to 10 miles of commute more manageable, more people working remotely, and more jobs actually in the suburbs, Dallas is toast:

The new census statistics provide estimates for city populations annually between 2010 and 2018. They show that the average annual growth for the nation’s 87 cities with populations over a quarter million have slipped to 0.69% in 2017-2018—down from 0.76% the previous year, and from 1.21% in 2011-2012, the highest average growth since the Great Recession. Among the 87 largest metros, 66 exhibited lower growth in the last year than in 2011-2012. Among the 87 largest metros, 66 exhibited lower growth in the last year than in 2011-2012 (download Table A).

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09/19/19 9:15am

The Butler Brothers Building got green with PACE help. (Courtesy Photo)

Recently, the New York Times wrote about the rapid growth of the green financing initiative called PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) and the infusion of cash available to lend. Many NYT stories are national or international in focus, so some digging was required to discover what Texas and Dallas were doing with the program.

Created in 2008, PACE enables a type of financing for new and existing commercial and multi-family buildings whereby owners can update their energy efficiency standards – e.g. water, electricity, or natural gas. This isn’t a bank, but rather a program that can be used by banks (or anyone with money to lend) and property owners. States and municipalities have independent nonprofit PACE operations that act as clearinghouses between the parties and administer the outcomes (the bank isn’t going to check an electric bill).

What makes this different from straight funding are the low interest rates (perhaps half the prevailing rates) and the longevity of the loans – up to 30 years at a fixed interest rate (Texas says it averages 10-20 years). But PACE isn’t typically the primary lienholder. They only support up to 20 percent of a project’s costs. Repayments are lumped in with other bills like property taxes – and because of the way they’re structured, when an owner sells, the obligation is transferred to the new owner. This is particularly interesting for energy efficiency.

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09/19/19 9:00am

  • Property management company Intercity Investments tendered its resignation at the Athena.
  • The firm gave the HOA only 30 days notice, due to a high level of harassment from residents.

“Our firm is no longer willing to subject our staff to behaviors which could be described as designed to harass and intimidate others into compliance with certain individual’s special interests.” This news has the entire building in a tither. What this means is that effective October 16, the Athena will have zero maintenance. 

The whole letter — and more — after the jump: (more…)

For lovers of natural light, clean lines, urban convenience, and low-maintenance living, this incredible listing from Jarrad Barnes will be exceptionally satisfying.

This Lionel Morrison-designed home perfectly located near the Knox-Henderson area is easily our High Caliber Home of the Week presented by Lisa Peters of Caliber Home Loans

“This low-maintenance half-duplex home was designed for the urban dweller with a lock and leave lifestyle,” says Barnes, and agent at Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate. “Sophisticated modern is best used to describe the use of clean lines, glass walls and marble finishes found throughout this property.”

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