“This is definitely the gem of Sondra Drive that is nestled in the heart of Lakewood!” gushed Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate’s Matthew Edwards when I asked him about his brand new listing. The home is not only a newer build in one of Dallas’ most sought-after neighborhoods, but it the location is beyond enviable, making it a shoo-in for our High Caliber Home of the Week presented by Lisa Peters of Caliber Home Loans

Of course, Lakewood is teeming with stellar homes of all ages and sizes, but homes on Sondra Drive are particularly sought after because of the private feel of the narrow, tree-lined streets. Plus, you’re so close to everything.

“This property lives wonderfully and has so many great amenities,” Edwards added. “It’s within walking distance to Lakewood Elementary and White Rock Lake!”

It’s true. Sondra Drive has twice the appeal of other Lakewood locations thanks to its proximity to Lakewood Elementary and its distance from the main thoroughfares that traverse the neighborhood. But if you’re a homebody like me, what you’ll really love the backyard, which has a great pool, spa, outdoor kitchen, fireplace, and a tidy lawn that will mean you’ll have plenty of room outside to keep both kids and parents happy no matter the season. No need for KayCee Pool memberships here!

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It’s not every day you come across a dreamy, peaceful estate ideally located near sumptuous shopping and dining. Situated on 1.5 acres, this beautiful house in the heart of Southlake is that rare find. But, shhhh … it’s off-market, so not everyone knows it’s up for grabs. Once you see the sprawling green lawn, airy open floor plan, and chic gourmet kitchen, you’ll want to be the one to call it home next.

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Tucked behind the guarded gates of Chateau Du Lac in Flower Mound, this pristine abode radiates grandeur and elegance from the moment you pull into the driveway. Let the maze-like gardens before the front door transport you to the lavish French countryside, where the smell of lavender always lingers. With a few trips to the market, your new home can be known for this enchanting aroma, too, which is highly appropriate since you’ll be living in lovely Flower Mound.

To let you in on a little secret, Flower Mound is the new “it” spot everyone is house hunting in, and this property is the ultimate gem. Voted the Safest Texas City with a Population over 50,000, Flower Mound is a beautiful place to live with tons to do. People are gravitating to the area for its idyllic landscape and easy commute to both Dallas and Fort Worth, and chic restaurants and stores are pouring in, too.

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Why Property Taxes are so BAD

Last weekend, the National Association of Real Estate Editors (NAREE) awarded this series discussing state and local property taxes “Bronze” in their Best Series category.  While originally published in May 2016, a year later nothing has alleviated our property tax increases. 

Several weeks ago I wrote a pair of columns (here and here) about how the core math of Texas property taxes is fundamentally broken (and always has been).  While, A+B=C, if “A” is patently wrong, how can “B” and “C” be accurate?

In this case, “A” is assessed property value, “B” is property tax rate and “C” is the revenue required to run the city and state.  In Texas, without real estate transaction disclosure, “A” is always a bit of a crapshoot as DCAD pulls assessed values out of thin air.  Now I’m sure there’s some enormous algorithm they use to calculate values (a bottle of Jack, a blindfold and a dart board?) but in the end, not having access to the actual selling prices of real estate in Texas hamstrings a meaningful conversation about taxation rates.

As it is, property tax assessment districts in Texas have higher rates (“B”) than are actually needed because they have no visibility into “A” valuations.  Texas rates are high because the underlying assessed values are inaccurate.

Yesterday, the Dallas Morning News outlined how this year’s rate increases hit middle-income homes harder than higher income homes.  Color me shocked!  And yet, the middle class are just as vocal about keeping Texas’ system of non-disclosure in place.

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southlakehome (1 of 55)

There really is something for everyone at 300 W. Highland Street in Southlake. It’s a large, beautiful property that has it where it counts!

The original home was built in 1998, and the sellers completed a full remodel this year. It welcomes family and friends with a richness of hand-scraped hardwood floors and crown molding. The open concept formal living and dining room will dazzle those who love entertaining.

And this home is unique as it’s really two homes in one.

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Why Property Taxes are so BAD

Why Property Taxes are so BAD

Several weeks ago I wrote a pair of columns (here and here) about how the core math of Texas property taxes is fundamentally broken (and always has been).  While, A+B=C, if “A” is patently wrong, how can “B” and “C” be accurate?

In this case, “A” is assessed property value, “B” is property tax rate and “C” is the revenue required to run the city and state.  In Texas, without real estate transaction disclosure, “A” is always a bit of a crapshoot as DCAD pulls assessed values out of thin air.  Now I’m sure there’s some enormous algorithm they use to calculate values (a bottle of Jack, a blindfold and a dart board?) but in the end, not having access to the actual selling prices of real estate in Texas hamstrings a meaningful conversation about taxation rates.

As it is, property tax assessment districts in Texas have higher rates (“B”) than are actually needed because they have no visibility into “A” valuations.  Texas rates are high because the underlying assessed values are inaccurate.

Yesterday, the Dallas Morning News outlined how this year’s rate increases hit middle-income homes harder than higher income homes.  Color me shocked!  And yet, the middle class are just as vocal about keeping Texas’ system of non-disclosure in place.

For me, this is the most salient paragraph …

“Local officials say they are hamstrung by state law in trying to accurately assess commercial and high-end residential properties. Texas, unlike most other states, doesn’t require real estate sales prices to be publicly disclosed. Property owners who can afford pricey Realtors often demand nondisclosure agreements. State law also permits property owners who successfully challenge their appraisals to collect attorneys’ fees from the county.”

If non-disclosure died, here’s what would happen…

First, the state would take 3 to 5 years to change the system.  During that time, the state taxation districts would rebuild their databases of assessed values based on transactions occurring during that window.  From there, the state would reverse engineer the taxation rate.  If the state needs $X and property is worth $X, what rate gets us to that level?  Hint … it’s a rate a HELL of lot lower than it is today.

For example …

A $200,000 home taxed at today’s homestead rate of ~2.3 percent equated to $4,600 per year in property taxes.  But let’s say that home is really worth $310,000 … then the tax rate would only need to be 1.5 percent to reach the same $4,600 in annual property taxes.

I hear you saying … “If, after this exercise homeowners still pay about the same, what’s the point?”

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Swananoah IHOTW

Bluffview is home to so many gorgeous homes. It’s one of the hotbeds of high-end real estate and high-style architecture. Truly, to have a home in this neighborhood is a feather in the cap of any residential architect. And some of these homes, well, they take on a life of their own.

This design by architect Bentley Tibbs is a stunning take on the glass house, with modern lines and floor-to-ceiling windows, it feels like a conservatory or a greenhouse in which you cultivate not flowers and plants, but a well-curated art collection.

 

8403 Swananoah Front 2

High-caliber homes like this come around only once in a lifetime, and when you see the open spaces and perfect views from this Becky Frey listing, you’ll want to put in your highest and best offer. To make sure you sail through your transaction from bid to closing, call Lisa Peters of Caliber Home Loans today. With her expertise, your dream home can become a reality.

Jump to see inside this masterful creation, brought to life by builder Mark Siepiela of DESIGN + DEVELOPMENT.

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A 3D showcase of a property allows potential buyers to "walk through" a home, even from the other side of the world. Photo: Worth3D

A 3D showcase of a property allows potential buyers to “walk through” a home and explore it in detail, even from the other side of the world. Photo: Worth3D

In the competitive business of luxury real estate, attracting attention to a listing and making it memorable are critical for Realtors hoping catch the eye of potential buyers and land big sales. This is particularly true of out-of-town or international buyers viewing multiple properties online, narrowing their selections, and making an offer before ever setting foot in town.

Worth3D is a new business in Fort Worth aiming to give Realtors an edge by creating an immersive, interactive, 3D showcase to enhance online listings. This allows buyers to “walk through” a house and and understand the context of the layout and amenities more completely than traditional real estate photography, says Worth3D co-owner Tim Sehnem, who founded the company with Mark Smith last year. Their product is designed to complement MLS photography, give buyers an additional resource when scouting properties online, and offer Realtors a “latest-and-greatest” tool to differentiate themselves from competition.

“This software works with Redfin, Zillow, Realtor.com, and Trulia, so Realtors can upload it with their listing and when buyers go to ‘virtual tour,’ it will launch the 3D viewer,” Sehnem said. “It allows buyers to refine their search, and they find it useful after seeing a property to help them remember details.”

He said a 3D showcase is particularly useful in marketing homes over 4,000 square feet, where it’s easy to forget what you saw where just because of the scale of the house. An online virtual tour allows buyers to revisit properties as many times as they want, and see specific details that might not be pictured in the MLS photos.

 

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