Oak LawnWhen self-described “late-bloomers” Meltem Ballan and Nathen Hinson made their first foray into the Dallas real estate market when they bought their Oak Lawn townhome in 2013, it was almost as renters.

“My husband and I are in our 40s,” Ballan said. “I studied too long to have a Ph.D., and never married until I was 36, and my husband was married for 13 years with a child, but had never had the money to buy a house.”

“When we moved to Dallas in 2013, we never thought we could afford a house, as we had no down payment,” she continued, adding that they had thought renting would be their only choice. “We were working with a young real estate agent, Shawn White to rent a place. Apartments were expensive and nothing that we want to rent.”

But the Internet — and a website that may sound a bit familiar — caused the two to shift their focus.

“I follow the blogs on Facebook and CandysDirt.com inspired me to buy a house,” Ballan said. “There was an article about low down-payment options and how it is better to buy.”

So the two talked to their Realtor about townhomes and condos they could potentially buy.

“He was very patient and passionate about his job to find us the right home,” Bellan said. “After seeing about 100 places we decided on our current home.”

The two had a definite wish list — a walkable neighborhood with access to local amenities like dining, shopping, and parks. They needed three bedrooms for when Hinson’s son and their niece came to visit. They wanted good schools.

“We looked around Greenville, Lakewood, M Streets, and surrounding areas,” she said.

Staying at an Airbnb rental at the corner of Wycliff and Cedar Springs eventually gave them a taste of the exact neighborhood they were looking for — “we fell in love,” Ballan said. (more…)

Getting the DirtAs we mentioned last week, we’ve debuted two new Facebook groups designed to provide a platform for the house hunter and the Realtor alike, and all those businesses also make homeownership possible.

This week’s roundup of open houses features two house that came to us during our Open House Roundup feature that we have on Tuesdays on Getting the Dirt, our open group that is a place to talk about trends, to post a story you wrote and ask for direct feedback, and is also home to regular posts like, “Pitch Me Please,” where we will ask Realtors to pitch us their best houses in the $200,000 to $700,000 price points; “Open House Roundup,” where Realtors will have the opportunity to point us to their open houses for the week; “Hip Pocket Monday;” and “Suburb Sunday,” where readers and Realtors will be able to weigh in on what suburb we will look at on Sunday.

Our CandysDirt.com Open Houses of the Week are listed by members of Getting the Dirt, and range in price from $378,000 to $515,000. Which ones will you visit? Want to see your open house in next Thursday’s roundup? Join Getting the Dirt! (more…)

CandysDirtIt’s been a few weeks since we announced some pretty major staff changes here at CandysDirt, and what has followed since that announcement has been pretty exciting, we think.

One of the biggest things the editorial board — which is made up of founder and publisher Candy Evans, executive editor Jo England, and me — knew we wanted to do was improve the way we engage with you, our readers.

After all, audience engagement is actually in my title now.

So we’re entering a new path in the way we engage with our readers and the way we approach social media. Not to get too far into how the sausage is made, but we want to be part of your day.

“What does that mean?” you may ask. This means that you’ll start to see content on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds that you might not see on our sites. You might also see new avenues open up or get additional focus, like Pinterest, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

But we’re most excited about our two biggest options we’ve developed for our readers — two new Facebook groups designed to provide a platform for the house hunter and the Realtor alike, and all those businesses also make homeownership possible.

Today, those groups debut. (more…)

I don’t know how to say this, but this week’s Wednesday WTF made us blush. Or something. It’s really pinkies up. We’re tickled pink to show you this. We pinked this one just for you.

Had enough yet?

No. No you have not. How do I know this? Because you haven’t actually seen this week’s Wednesday WTF.

I have. I also showed this listing to my boss. She’s asking to unsee it. It’s not that bad, if you like a decorating scheme that is like if Shelby Eatenton Latcherie’s wedding and a bordello had a Victorian baby.

(more…)

After our previous discussion on Realtor commissions, we thought we’d take the opportunity to let real estate professionals of all stripes flex their knowledge with two questions that we asked over two weeks that should be good advice for every buyer and seller out there.

So for our Aug. 10 and 17  Friday Questions, we asked real estate professionals to tell us what they wished everyone knew about the buying and selling process.

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commissionsThere has been a lot of discussion lately about Realtor commissions, and what sellers should expect for the commission they are going to pay. More and more startups are popping up to cut the Realtor out altogether.

So for our Aug. 3  Friday Question, we asked real estate professionals — and our readers — to tell us what they thought about commissions.

It didn’t take much to find a whole fistful of articles (some written by us, even), that discuss the topic of Realtor commissions and disruptors like Open Door and Door. In the past three years or so, we’ve written stories about Door and other companies looking to change the way people sell their homes.

And then there’s this article in Forbes this month, which asks, “Are Real Estate Agents Still Relevant In The Age Of Tech?” The article begins by talking about Zillow and other sites that allow prospective buyers to look through houses themselves, seeing multiple pictures, finding out all kinds of information about renovations, materials used, etc.

“But though tech has allowed homebuyers to do all this legwork themselves, in most cases, they’re still forced to go through agents to finalize the transaction,” the piece said. “And those agents? They get the same 3 percent commission they did decades ago—for seemingly doing a fraction of the work.” (more…)

Photo via Pinterest

Carpet in the bathroom. For us, a discussion about it started with a picture someone sent for a folder I keep of random godawfulness for a future Wednesday WTF piece.

I showed it to Executive Editor Joanna England, because this is how we torture each other during the workday. One thing led to another, and suddenly we had another Friday Question, which we posed on our Facebook page as a poll: “Carpet in the bathroom is a) Gross, stop it; or b) A perfectly lovely choice. (more…)

After a busy three days of panel discussions, networking and writing, the National Association of Real Estate Editors — or NAREE — announced Friday night that CandysDirt.com writers Jon Anderson and Bethany Erickson both took home awards for their reporting last year.

Anderson took home a Bronze Award for his breaking news story on the Friday night blaze that destroyed the Pink Wall’s Preston Place condos. His reporting was continuously updated through the night and next day as more than 100 firefighters battled the fire that left many displaced. (more…)