elephant

You never, ever know who is going to see the front of your house, how they will experience it. For the most part, we treat the front of our homes, the famous “drive-up appeal”, with incredible care, especially if the home is being marketed for sale. Some homeowners always take pride in their home’s outside face.

Most homeowners prefer to keep grass and hedges neat and tidy, the home painted and pristine, eschewing art or decorative yard objects. Others enjoy a garden of sculpture, which can be mixed amongst plantings and readily seen by thousands if the home is on a busy street.

The folks who planted the bronze elephant at 5322 West Mockingbird Lane nearly 25 years ago had no idea the statue would inspire a nine-year-old girl from Sherman, Texas, to get better. Ironically they bought it, says listing agent Bonnie Bauer, as a symbol of good luck and good health.

I know you have seen it countless times while stuck in traffic on Mockingbird Lane just east of Inwood Road. The house is one of those Greenway Park charmers –a fully updated three bedroom brick ranch cottage, circa 1979, .18 acres with a darling backyard and pool. The home is 2,320 square feet, smaller than its cousins heading east on Mockingbird towards the heart of the Park Cities. It is listed for $639,000.

But did you know that elephant, the bronze statue right in front of the house and very visible to the street, so inspired one precious little girl that she named the elephant “Hope” and sent the homeowners a letter complete with a portrait?

Erica R., age nine at the time, wrote the homeowners to tell them her favorite animal in the world is an elephant. And the elephant they had placed in front of this home helped get this little girl through some tough treatments at Children’s Medical Center.

Five years ago, in March of 2013,  Erica was sent to Children’s Medical Center with serious medical issues. She was only nine years old at the time. Imagine, a nine year old from Sherman, Texas, home of Dwight D. Eisenhower, already fighting for her life!

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The home at 2906 Shadow Drive in Arlington is modern architecture at its finest. (Photos: Matt Ross, MLS Images)

The home at 2906 Shadow Drive has to be the winner of the “2017 CandysDirt.com Most Interesting Home Award.”

OK, so I made up that award, but if it did exist, I would give it to this work of art in a split second. I have to be honest: When I received a request to feature a home in Arlington, I did not expect to find a spectacular home in the modernist style of architecture.

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Walsh-7724-grading

Williams Trew Real Estate, a member of the Ebby Halliday family, announced today that they will soon be expanding west to open a new real estate office in Parker County.

Go West young man and grow up with the country.” That quote is largely attributed to the newspaper editor Horace Greely relating to the American spirit of Manifest Destiny.

In accordance with that Manifest Destiny, Williams Trew will soon open their first office in Parker County and third overall.  The other offices are located on Camp Bowie Boulevard and Hulen Avenue in Fort Worth.  The company also has a real estate presence at Possum Kingdom Lake.

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dallas open houses

The Uptown loft at 1999 McKinney Ave. No. 603 is one of our 5 featured open houses for this weekend.

If the State Fair is not your thing this weekend, make time to visit these five open houses around Dallas. They represent diverse neighborhoods, from Uptown and East Kessler Park, to Northwest Dallas and Turtle Creek. The prices range from the $289,000 to $749,500, and the styles of these houses and condos run the gamut from modern industrial in Uptown to a 2012 David Weekley in Far North Dallas that still has the new-house smell.

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photo courtesy of Danny Piassick

photo courtesy of Danny Piassick

Dear Ebby Family,

It is with great sadness that we write to inform you that Ebby, our beloved founder, passed away last night. She died peacefully at home from natural causes. While we certainly grieve the loss of Ebby, we celebrate a long life well lived. Each of us who had the good fortune of knowing Ebby has been touched by the grace, fortitude and compassion with which she lived her life. As you know, Ebby had a very simple saying that she lived by, ‘Do something for someone every day.’ That small bit of wisdom served Ebby very, very well and she left the world a better place than she found it.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to one of the causes Ebby was most passionate about: Ebby’s Place at the YW, The Ebby House at Juliette Fowler Communities, Happy Hill Farm and Academy, or the charity of your choice. We will share information on how to make donations soon.

Memorial service details will be forthcoming.

Mary Frances and Ron

About this photo: Dallas photographer extraordinaire Danny Piassick sent me a message as soon as our post went up. “Years ago, I ran into her male assistant, who’s name I can not remember. He told me that Ebby mentioned to him that she wanted this image to be used for her obituary. I thought that was a nice thing to say!” 

YouTube marketing

Ebby Halliday Realtor Cynthia Lopez knows a thing or two about smart real estate marketing.

The tech-savvy agent uses YouTube marketing as a way to promote her listings, in addition to the normal online channels, like Zillow, realtor.com, and Trulia.

“All of my listings go on YouTube. Everything nowadays is very visual and when buyers are looking at properties [online], they flip through so many pictures, it can all become a blur,” Lopez said. “I have found the YouTube video brings some life to it and give more a depth. It’s worked really well for my listings, and I get lots of great comments from it.”

YouTube marketing also helps her get houses under contract fast. Take, for example, our Tuesday Two Hundred, a Richardson house at 2001 Linda Ln. Lopez listed it last Thursday and accepted a contract on Saturday. Check out her video here:

The house is a 4-2 with 1,994 square feet on a big corner lot. It’s located in the Richardson Telecom Corridor area near Jupiter and Collins Boulevard, minutes from Raytheon and BlueCross, as well as huge mixed-use development CityLine. Its elementary school, Yale, gets an 8 out of ten score from GreatSchools.org, and Apollo Junior High earns a 7.

This house has interior updates and a swimming pool in back. Lots to offer, and listed for $236,000.

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The extra expenses beyond mortgage and insurance can add up, costing the average U.S. homeowner more than $9,000 per year.

The extra expenses beyond mortgage and insurance can add up, costing the average U.S. homeowner more than $9,000 per year.

At CandysDirt, we love real estate and we love homeownership! But with a house comes expenses beyond the mortgage and insurance. For the unprepared buyer, these can be a rude surprise. And nobody likes those.

We’ve seen it before: First-time homebuyers focusing solely on the list price of a house when deciding how much they can afford, and then being shocked by all of the other costs associated with homeownership (hello, water heater/new roof/foundation repairs!). These extra or hidden costs are often the most stressful part about owning a home.

“Those in-the-know are wise to set aside an emergency account, because regardless of age, price point, or quality of construction, issues are going to arise, whether it a 100-year-old house, or a 100-day-old house,” said Realtor Brian Davis of Dave Perry-Miller InTown. “When those issues happen, they’re not always inexpensive and you’re wise to have money saved up for that rainy day.”

We happened upon a new study by Zillow and Thumbtack that identifies a variety of common home expenses — both unavoidable and optional — that often get overlooked during initial budgeting. They calculated what homeowners could spend each year to cover these costs in their area. While these extra expenses might seem small individually, they add up quickly, to the tune of $9,477 for the average American homeowner.

“One thing I’ve stated doing this past year for new homebuyers is having them look at properties $10,000 less than what they’ve been approved for so they have some credit or buying power if they have to do repairs later,” said Elaine Copeland, an Ebby Halliday Realtor. “That also gives them some money for fixing it up—a lot of houses are sold ‘as is,’ and if buyers purchase $10,000 to $20,000 below [their max mortgage approval], they can better manage their budget in the long run. The best thing for a Realtor to do is advise them to do everything affordably.”

So just what are those extra or hidden expenses? Let’s take a look.

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Junius Heights Prairie

Today’s Tuesday Two Hundred takes us to Junius Heights in Old East Dallas to look at a lovely Prairie Style house that just hit the market June 1.

The Prairie Style of residential architecture made its debut in Dallas in 1907 with a house on Abrams Road, based on the plans Frank Lloyd Wright published in Ladies Home Journal six years earlier. This style was popular in the Midwest and Texas, a distinctly American design idea featuring a low-pitched roof, large overhanging eaves, central chimney, discipline in the use of ornamentation, and low, horizontal lines.

Just three years later, the house at 5614 Worth St. made its appearance near Beacon and Gaston. It’s not a perfect example of the Prairie Style, but comes close, with its warm earth-tone palette, horizontal wood siding, interior glass doors, and other “style appropriate” interior architectural details.

With three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and 1,416 square feet, this Junius Heights Prairie house is modest in size, but offers a lot of function and beauty in that space. There are minor cosmetic fixes needed in parts of the house, like the second bathroom, but overall, it’s great. Plus, the location is prime, just minutes away from Lakewood, Lower Greenville, White Rock Lake, and other hot spots for shopping and dining.

This house is listed by Ebby Halliday agent Kay Caughron for $249,000. (As happens so often lately in our red hot North Texas real estate market, it went under contract in three days—it’s a charmer!)

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