By Lydia Blair
Special Contributor

There is more than one Big D in Dallas-area real estate. These important “Big Ds” represent the circumstances that often demand that someone sell their property. I’m talking about death, divorce, downsizing, disaster, debt, and default. These difficult situations can make transferring the title to a property more complicated.

Folks don’t like to think about most of these situations, but they are a real fact of life that many homeowners must deal with. In the coming weeks, we’ll take a closer look at the challenges in buying or selling a property when it involves one of these.

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downsizeBy Nancy Peham
Special Contributor

We all reach a point in life where it makes sense to downsize. The first step is to realize, accept, and decide that the time has come to move forward with the process.

As adult children, we can support our parents’ decision in several ways.  We can provide emotional support, share information and resources, and when possible work alongside a parent to go through their home giving physical assistance. When that’s not feasible a third party can be brought in to help.

Your parent may be dealing with a home that has been lived in for 40 years or an apartment that has already been through the first round of downsizing.  There may have been a recent illness, loss of a spouse, or physical constraints that complicate the process, or your parents may be in great health.

So, Where Do You Start?

Whether a move will take place soon or your parents’ goal is just to simplify their lives, the steps are the same.  In the case of an imminent move, the stress level may be higher, but the most important thing is to begin the process as soon as you know the change is coming.    (more…)

EBTH Dallas general manager Natalie Childers Hacker sat down with CandysDirt.com executive editor Joanna England for a live chat at their grand opening Oct. 30. (Courtesy Photo)

The idea behind EBTH, which stands for Everything But The House, is pretty straightforward. As you downsize, you’re often left with scores of new belongings that won’t fit in your new digs. The traditional estate sale model can be laborious, even with full-service sales that take over your home for a day or two. And what do you do with all of the stuff that doesn’t sell, or with hard-to-price collectibles? That’s where EBTH comes in.

For a business that deals in a high volume of very unique items, EBTH runs a very tight ship. As general manager Natalie Childers Hacker explained to me, everything is handled — from the initial walk-through, to pick up and delivery of auction items, to donations, to hauling away junk — by EBTH’s relationship managers. These bright and brave representatives of EBTH hold the client’s hand through the entire ordeal, making it very painless to divest of your collectibles, furnishings, and art. 

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When Dallas architect Allan Ross conceptualized Bentley Place in Greenway Parks, he designed the eight-villa luxury development with at least one specific type of home buyer in mind: downsizers.

At last month’s CandysDirt.com Staff Party, we gabbed with the noted architect about a mind-boggling virtual reality tour of Bentley Place (seriously, mind-boggling!) and discussed some of the trends in new downsizing properties. Ross, principal of Waal Architecture, is an accomplished creator with four decades of experience in the design, development, and construction of award-winning projects for private sector clients throughout the United States, Canada, Caribbean, North Africa, and the UAE.

We tapped into that brilliant mind of his to share the most sought-after features that downsizing homeowners are looking for in a smaller home:

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Have you heard that the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo is in town?  Starting Jan. 13 through Feb. 4, the Will Rogers Memorial Center in Fort Worth will be hustling and bustling with all sorts of stock show and rodeo activity.  Rides, games, animals, contests, funnel cake, interesting smells, and so much more will be enjoyed by people of all ages.

While enjoying the festivities, make sure to take two minutes and travel less than a mile to the new listing by Martha Williams of Williams Trew Real Estate — 5016 Byers Avenue.  This 3,100-square-foot home could be the perfect “city home” for those involved in events such as the stock show and rodeo.

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Real Estate Story
Downsizing expert

Photo: Senior Focused Relocations

“Bigger is better” may be the motto of many house hunters, but a sizable number of people want to downsize with their next home purchase.

With a smaller house comes less space, and culling all the “stuff” is a big challenge. This is often particularly true for empty nesters and seniors, who have a lifetime of possessions from themselves and even kids. Who wants to throw out precious memories?

But getting rid of a lot of the stuff is the reality for downsizing, and there’s professional help available to categorize, sort, and help people deal with emotional ties to possessions.

Brooke Evans is just that person, working with seniors moving into assisted living, as well as people of all ages looking to live in a smaller footprint. She is the managing director of Senior Focused Relocations, a Dallas-based company that has done around 2,500 moves since it opened in 2005.

“We help seniors with the downsizing and organization process, thinking through going from their house they’ve often been in for 30 or 40 years, to something smaller,” Evans said. “We call is ‘right-sizing,’ which means adjusting to the space requirements they’ll have, what fits the frame of life they’re actually in. Most people aren’t using the majority of their house.”

While her expertise is with seniors, the advice and understanding she offers works for anyone looking to downsize and plan out the new space. Evans talks about not being owned by one’s possessions, figuring out priorities, and embracing living in a smaller home with fewer possessions. She calls it liberating.

“There is a movement toward more of a minimalist approach and a lot of people are embracing the idea of moving [into smaller homes],” she said. “We are interested in figuring out what to cull, what items brings joy—there’s no one-size-fits-all for getting rid of your items. It’s a process.”

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Mondara

The Mondara, a vision from Robert Elliott Custom Homes and Stocker Hoesterey Montenegro Architects is coming to life on Abbott Ave. in Highland Park.

Just off the Katy Trail and inside Highland Park — perhaps the sweetest location there is — is where Robert Elliott Custom Homes is building The Mondara. The condo development, which includes 39 expertly laid out units over three stories and two phases is more than half-way sold, with 22 of the units under contract.

The two buildings, which surround a courtyard and are set back from the curb by a semi-circular driveway, continue the trend we’re seeing with the Robert Elliott Custom Homes’ most recent builds — a bright white facade punctuated by large, dark-paned windows and sharply pitched rooflines. It looks like something you’d spot in Alys Beach, all white and gleaming with the kind of presence that causes envy among competitors.

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It’s the epitome of what architect David Stocker of Stocker Hoesterey Montenegro calls “transitional” style.

“It is a youthful but restrained style of architecture. It respects the past but also says things can be different,” Stocker said. “We use traditional plaster, traditional slate, and traditional classical details around doorways, but use modern whites, simple modern forms, and the modern feel of steel windows and doors.”

It’s a style we’ve seen a lot of lately, and considering how quickly Robert Elliott Custom Homesnew build on Beverly sold, it’s a style buyers can’t get enough of, either.

“We don’t see that there has to be a hard line that separates traditional and modern architecture,” Stocker added. “Both have wonderful traits and we meld them together.”

And inside, the details continue to amaze. CandysDirt.com got an exclusive advance tour of the property while craftsmen were still fitting the space with Robert Elliott Custom Homes’ signature features. Jump to see more!

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Mondara

I haven’t even written this post yet, I’m awaiting a call back from the developer, Robert Elliott, but three friends have contacted me and asked me about the new townhome development going in on Abbott Avenue between Knox and Armstrong Parkway, on the far eastern edge of Highland Park.

Robert: I am going to predict that all 35 luxury condos might be sold before you break ground, maybe even before you call me back!

This is a development that is sorely needed in these parts: many people want to downsize out of a Park Cities, Preston Hollow, North Dallas or Plano home and move closer in. But they don’t want to move into high rises, and maybe not downtown. No matter how great the views, these buyers are what I call the “grounded”: they want few or no steps, if there’s steps, they want an elevator, master on the first floor, they want a little yard, and they don’t want to deal with an HOA. They want a lock and leave lifestyle but they don’t want a doorman or a Concierge.

And what they want, Robert Elliot is about to give them with Mondara: (more…)