A home that didn’t pull out of the Paris Accord

I like to walk with a purpose, an endpoint. Sunday was just such a day when, as a real estate writer, a cool open house is a great endpoint.  One option asked me to “imagine living in an Italian villa” (yeah, no). Then I came across the walk-worthy 9317 Midway, which looks very modern (good), but also has a fascinating story to tell, which was hinted at when I saw the rooftop solar collectors and Tesla gear in the photos. Not to be outdone by their environmental fortitude, I slipped on my shoes and headed to the open house (so there!).

The home contains five bedrooms and four full bathrooms over 4,257 square feet. It rests on nearly two-thirds of an acre (112’ x 237’ lot). It’s listed with Robert Plessinger of Keller-Williams Park Cities for $1.75 million.

The home is on Midway just north of Northwest Highway. For those in less urban environments who like a little walkability, the home of across the street from the strip center housing Fernando’s and La Madeleine restaurants and other retail outlets including the coming soon Central Market. Oh, and did I mention that this stretch of Midway has sidewalks!

(more…)

8526SweetwaterK

After not mentioning the Claremont neighborhood for a while, we’re suddenly seeing gem after gem go on the market there. It’s one of my favorite residential areas in East Dallas, with Midcentury personality, mature trees, and memorable style.

The 1962 ranch-style house at 8526 Sweetwood Drive just came on the market Oct. 31 after an extensive renovation, and it’s got loads of charm packed into its 1,773 square feet. Marketed by Ben Fluno of Chris Arnold Premier Realty for $242,500 (it dropped $2,500 today), I’m actually surprised it’s still on the market. Take a look and I think you’ll agree.

(more…)

Keeping Cool in The Summer

Around this time of year, the cocktail party talk changes from how Sally and Bobby are doing in school to how ridiculous the last electric bill was. In Texas at least, you wouldn’t imagine going without air conditioning. In fact, just the thought of our A/C going out has me knocking on wood! So sky-high electric costs may seem unavoidable.

That doesn’t have to be the case, though. If you want to save a few bucks, make your home more energy efficient, and do a good turn for Mother Nature at the same time, consider following these fast tips on making your home ready for the Summer heat.

1) Get an energy audit. 

You can get a referral from your electric company, and sometimes even get a discount on a professional home energy audit that way. Or you can do one yourself. Whichever method you choose, an audit is a great way to find out where your money is best spent on making your home more energy efficient.

2) Change your air conditioning filter

This can make a system sometimes 15 percent more efficient just by making sure the filter is clear. It takes extra energy to push air through a clogged filter, and filters aren’t too pricey that you can change them monthly. So do it!

3) Have your air conditioning unit tuned up every summer

This is a widely recommended suggestion that will keep your system more reliable for summers to come. You can go the DIY route if you have a window unit. For central air, call in a pro.

4) Install a programmable thermostat

Programmable thermostats come in all different styles and shapes, from the super sleek to the basic, and some can be accessed via WiFi! You don’t need to keep the house super cool when you’re not there, so program the system to take a bit of a break during the day.

5) Ceiling fans are a must!

I am a huge fan of ceiling fans, and they are a great way to cool down rooms more efficiently, especially those with high ceilings. There are tons of great styles that will fit just about any room!

Urban Reserve

While all of the homes in the Urban Reserve development are ecologically sensitive, you don’t have to have a gorgeous, modern home to go green.

If you’re considering selling your home in the next few years, every dollar you spend on making your house more energy efficient will add value to your home — and sometimes help you make a profit!

Of course, there are some easy fixes and no-brainers, but these are the top 10 tips to get your house green before you sell!

10. Get an energy audit.

Sometimes your power company can help you get discounted services for energy audits, but like a thorough home inspection, finding out your home’s weak spots will help you capitalize on home renovations.

9. Seal your windows …

You’d be surprised how much air loss occurs on and around windows. A tube of caulking will help fix this issue, which is common in our area due to the fluctuations in humidity and temperature, which causes caulking to expand and retract.

8. … or replace them with Energy Star-qualified brands

This is a splurge, but it’s a huge selling point, especially in older homes. It’s hard to sell a home built in the 1950s with the original windows, so make the investment in some double-paned vinyl windows that will help keep your home cooler and lower your bills.

7. Mind the gap under your doors.

Replacing weather stripping around exteriors doors — including the garage door — can make a huge difference. They experience a lot of wear and tear, and aren’t expected to last much longer than a decade.

6. Install a radiant barrier.

If you think it gets hot in your attic, imagine how much cooler it would be if you installed reflective insulation, also known as a radiant barrier. This cuts cooling costs by keeping convection at a minimum.

5. Upgrade your insulation.

Insulation loses loft and R factor over time, so consider an upgrade if you haven’t already. The higher the R factor, the better, and there are lots of options and businesses that can do all the work for you and clean up afterward.

4. Consider water-friendly landscaping.

We love Conservation Grass, but there are other options such as xeriscaping and native plants. Our favorite landscape company, Harold Leidner Landscape Architects, can help you choose the water wise landscape that is best for your property.

3. Upgrade to a tankless water heater.

Not only does a tankless water heater use less energy, but you’ll waste less water waiting for the tap to heat up. Besides that, it’s definitely a selling point for any home.

2. Upgrade appliances.

Some people upgrade their cooktops, ovens, and ranges sheerly for looks. When buying a new kitchen appliance — like a refrigerator, for example — consider purchasing a brand that is energy stingy.

1. Have your air conditioning and furnace serviced regularly.

I got this tip last fall, and I can already tell that my A/C unit is running more efficiently. Just like cars that need oil changes, your HVAC units need regular tuning and maintenance, too.

Did we mess a good energy saving tip? Comment below!