Avanti: 4122 Avondale

[Editor’s note: Jon Anderson is a columnist for CandysDirt.com. His opinions are his own.]

I recently suggested that builders lay off the endless blocks of cookie-cutter townhouses with their all-too-familiar floor plans. I see them as an inefficient use of space that invariably cost homebuyers more for the same amount of usable space. They’re the real estate equivalent of the adage, “an elephant is a mouse designed by a committee.”  The answer is single-story “flats” condos.

However, for all their efficient use of space, high-rises often come with HOA dues that put them (monetarily and philosophically) out of reach of most — not to mention some folks being height averse. Enter the low-rise flat. In the early 20th century, many cities built a network of duplex flats, some even triplex flats. In Dallas, these buildings can be seen in many older neighborhoods in East Dallas, Oak Lawn, and Oak Cliff. They offered a way for an owner to have a rental property to ease mortgage payments.

Pre-Recession, Dallas was building a few low-rise flats condo buildings with all the joy of single-story living and reasonable HOAs. Some baulk at any HOA dues, but things like uniform exterior maintenance and landscaping matter – and it’s better to have something in the bank when problems arise versus hastily passing the hat.

Anyway, let’s peek at three low-rise flats in Oak Lawn built pre-Recession.

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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…)

Turtle Creek Terrace doesn’t look as dilapidated as Lincoln claimed

After a long and winding road, Lincoln Property’s proposed Lincoln Katy Trail project was denied by city council (I assume they will re-apply). That project would have replaced the Turtle Creek Terrace condo complex. Today, Turtle Creek Terrace unit #168, located at 3203 Carlisle – the intersection of Oak Lawn and Uptown – was listed.

It’s a perfect illustration of my point that replacing 115 existing market-rate affordable housing units with 45 was a bad deal. This one-bedroom, two-bathroom unit has 824 square feet and is listed for $149,000 with Tyler Hagood from Small World Realty. Using basic mortgage tools, that breaks down into a monthly payment of approximately $925 assuming a 30-year mortgage or ~$1,250 for a 15 year payoff. These monthly costs include mortgage, taxes, insurance, and HOA fees.

According to Zillow calculators, using Dallas’ average household income of $54,727, a couple could afford a monthly payment of $1,629/month. Using the 80 percent average median income required for listed affordable housing ($43,781), this home is purchasable by someone earning just $42,000 – less than a qualified affordable unit.

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Neighborhoods

Image courtesy/Trulia

Bluffview, M Streets and Oak Lawn were named as local favorites for Trulia’s first-ever 2018 Neighborlys, citing the best, friendliest neighborhoods across the country. Zillow Group-owned Trulia named national and local winners in 18 major housing markets, ranked by data in categories such as friendliest neighbors, dog-friendliest, most holiday spirit, best social calendar, most walkable, and kid-friendliest.

Nearly 10,000 neighborhoods across the country were ranked based on more than 20 million written reviews and answered polls by participating locals on Trulia Neighborhoods’ What Locals Say feature. Nationally, neighborhoods in Oakland, Orlando, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Long Beach, and Gilbert, Arizona were named best in the country.

Among the local honorifics:

North Dallas: Friendliest Neighbors

preston hollow

Trulia says you’ll find the friendliest neighbors in this very broad definition of neighborhoodwhich spans most of Preston Hollow. Developed from farmland in the 1930s, Preston Hollow still has a pastoral feel when neighbors gather in front yards for impromptu gab sessions. While there is some debate about boundaries, they are generally considered to be Royal Lane, Hillcrest Lane, Northwest Highway, and Midway Road. (more…)

open housesRealtors — did you know that every week, we solicit pitches for our various featured listing posts like the Tuesday Two Hundred, the weekly roundup of Open Houses, Thursday Three Hundred, Friday Four or Five Hundred, and more?

All you have to do to get in on the action is join our Facebook group, Getting the Dirt. It’s a great place to virtually mingle with fellow professionals, ask questions, lend a hand, and, yes, pitch stories to CandysDirt.com writers.

Take, for instance, this week’s three properties featured in our CandysDirt.com Open Houses of the Week. After asking members to share their listings that would help someone meet a common New Year’s resolution, three Realtors pitched their open houses — and are now seeing them featured today.

Want to see who made a successful pitch? (more…)

duplexIf one of your goals for 2019 is to become a real estate investor, you could probably not do much better than the charming duplex nestled between Highland Park and Oak Lawn — and since it’s well under $1 million and already leased, it’s probably one of the easier ways to enter the market.

Located at 3921 Hawthorne Ave., this upstairs/downstairs duplex was built in 1931 — meaning it has loads of character and charm. It’s also been well-maintained and has had many upgrades and updates throughout the property.

Each unit has two bedrooms and two full baths. Gleaming hardwoods throughout both units also make the homes feel light and bright, and attention has been paid to the finishes as well — this is no ordinary rental property. (more…)

Oak LawnEvery Thursday, we bring you our pick of the hottest North Texas properties in our CandysDirt.com Open Houses of the Week. These are the places you don’t want to miss that weekend. And this week, we’re taking a look at the condos and townhomes in the Oak Lawn area.

This week, our homes range in price from $215,000 to $645,000. Which ones will you visit?

COZY NEST ON NEWTON

Open house: Saturday, Nov. 3, and Sunday, Nov. 4, 2-4 p.m.
While this condo at 4106 Newton Ave., comes in at about 771 square feet, its layout and 10-foot ceilings make it seem much larger than it actually is. (more…)

Rarely do you find enclaves in Dallas that are seeded with one particular architect like Oak Lawn is with Bud Oglesby designs. The modernist architect was quite prolific in the area, with many of his angular, eye-catching townhomes and condos located in the Mansion Park area and nearby. We always love seeing how homeowners have updated this well-known architect’s work, while still retaining the form and function that make Bud Oglesby homes so recognizable. 

This particular two-bedroom condo is our High Caliber Home of the Week presented by Lisa Peters of Caliber Home Loans for that reason and more. Not only is it a sizable example of a unit in this Hood Street complex, but it’s sleek and serene with plenty of its original 1969 charm.

“The current owner performed a tasteful update in 2015 making a harmonious connection of some of the 1969 elements — floating staircase and GE Wonder Kitchen — with modern creature comforts like new lighting, custom cabinetry, and appliances,” says Compass Dallas listing agent Brad Jeffreys.

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