This stunning home at 7714 Fisher Road was built in 1994 but looks as timeless as a mansion overlooking the Pacific in Pebble Beach. You have almost one super landscaped acre, yielding the upstairs Master with a large deck and perfect lake views. A classic floorplan offers  4169 square feet with three bedrooms, two and a half baths, three living areas and even, yes, columns. There is also a wine cellar, den, “bright” kitchen, and formals. About that “bright” kitchen: little early 1990’s feel to it, white cabinets and ceramic tile floors, but there is enough of a granite island slab to get in the “g-word”. This is a home where you will likely live outside, on three patios, and safely so: the driveway has a gated entrance so the dogs can roam free. Honestly, I just love the smooth lines of this house and with the incredible water views, it is very much like a home in Pebble Beach. Or, rather, excuse me, a mansion. Fraction of a Pebble Beach price tag, though, at $2,090,000.

Oh! Where’s the pool? At that price, I do at least want my own water.

Like my mother used to tell me, don’t ever give it away for free. Smart Texas Monthly. You have to buy an issue to read Jason Sheeler’s profile of super agent Erin Mathews,  Give Me Shelter, in the current issue of Texas Monthly. I suggest you buy, read, and then read it again to capture the picture of what he so very well painted of the Honeypot real estate world, Area 25, where the refrain goes like this: no one ever gets fat, ugly, poor, or has an underwater mortgage.

Jason contacted me when I was in Pebble Beach this August. He wanted to talk to me for whatever insight I could provide on selling real estate in Dallas. When I got home, we sat down at my kitchen table and chatted. I asked him why he was focusing on Erin, because yes, I knew she was a super agent, but there were others doing just as well who are a little more, shall we say,  under the radar? Was there a special reason (that I was missing)? I asked mostly because I love to keep track of the best publicists in town for agents — most of the top agents have them, if not all, and of course, I had just launched CandysDirt. Publicists are just part of the game. He told me he was using her profile as a vehicle for telling the high end real estate game story. Fair enough. It says a lot about Jason that he didn’t care how much the other high-producing agents would bitch and moan that they had not been included. He was laser-focused on telling the story, and Erin was the tool by which he took the reader into the high-stakes multi-million dollar real estate game of our area. I wrote a similar  story years ago for D when the game was just amping up: How Dallas Sells Real Estate. My vehicle was a glitzy party at what was once Robert and Maureen Decherd’s home on Hollow Way. After publication, agents called to complain that by publishing that, I had basically ruined their lives because now they were all going to have to spend more money on parties and promotion.

In other words, they were going to have to work harder.

What Jason showed in the TM article, and remember a good writer shows, doesn’t tell, was how hard Erin works at selling homes. (Which I told him. Of course, that is true of all the high-production agents in this town.) She embraced social media, she staged, she showed up when she was dog tired, ergo she sells. I love the vignette of the Preston Hollow house being transformed by her home stagers, hauling out boxes of fake plastic ivy (bet you two hundred it was on the top of the kitchen cabinets) and Erin and her staff moving around patio furniture in her couture, no less.

A few interesting observations I have heard:

-Note that the four major firms mentioned, this prior to any Ellen Terry-Dave Perry-Miller merger news, were Erin & her partner David Nichols, Allie Beth Allman, Dave Perry-Miller and Briggs Freeman —  “like they were the only four companies that exist”.

-Some agents are asking if it is all factual questioning, I guess, Erin’s sales claims. I am sure TM’s fact-checkers did not miss a beat. 

-Others say it didn’t really capture Erin’s personality, except for describing her background in fashion retail and at Neimans. (“Oh. So that’s why she likes to dress up.”)

– A few LOVE the way she carefully portrayed herself as a servant of her clients, and takes caution not to fall into the Eleanor Mowery Sheets trap of (A) overspending and (B) believing her own press releases.

– She said she doesn’t have her face on her signs. One agent said, funny, she doesn’t mind them in all those magazine ads.

– While Erin always looks like she just stepped out of Vogue, which has written about her, she lives fairly modestly even though she drives a white MercedesS-Class. Jeeze, car stature is as vital among agents as the lockbox combo.

– Some agents say Erin really IS a great agent because even Sheeler fell for her selling herself to him. Wouldn’t be the first time. 

I think it was a great article. I’m only irked at one thing: he mentioned Erin’s age at the get-go as 62 (Jason, really, that’s why I wouldn’t tell you MY age!) but failed to tell us who does her microderm and what plastic surgeon, if any, she uses. Because I think Erin looks fabulous, more like 38, 40 at the most. So who cares about the number?

Photo caption: Mathews in a home she recently sold at the Creeks at Preston Hollow.
Photograph by Darren Braun

 

There’s Rafael Palmeiro asking for extra time to try and get his $40 million in debts settled. And here’s the Pebble Beach house he says will help him cover the interest payments on those debts if only he could sell it. It’s 1531 Riata Road and I went right by it this August when I was at Concours. Really great part of Pebble, too. Like the best vintage homes in Pebble and Carmel, it’s a 1920’s classic Mediterranean villa with pool on 1.65 forested acres above the Lodge at Pebble Beach with views of Carmel Bay. Talk about a honeypot of a location, but I still think he’s priced too high.

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I was in Pebble Beach last week at the venerable Concours D’Elegance along with the glitterati of Jay Leno, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Sherle Crow! When I saw Arnold, I steered away but snapped a pic. But Jay, dear Jay, we are becoming regular Concours buds. Last year, when my husband snapped the photo, Jay said “hey, old man, take your finger off the lens.” This year, the magic was “second homes.” He was particularly fascinated with Champs D’Or — “is this in France?” he asked, and the Residences at the Ritz Carlton.

It may be hotter than hell, and yes we have no oceans or beachfront. But our market is so nice and healthy compared to others, even the Gold Coast of Pebble Beach and Carmel. (Besides, the heat gives us a great reason to get away. I was freezing in Carmel, and never wore sunglasses.) Meantime, this home at 6146 Northaven went under contract. Original listing price was $479,900 reduced to $459,900 and I’m thinking sales price probably not too far off. Folks, when sellers lower the prices, buyers buy. Listed with Lee Lamont with Coldwell Banker. This is a nice solid ranch, great example of a North Dallas home on a slightly busy street, but those speedbumps on Northaven keep it manageable. I’m definitely seeing more pending signs here than I did in California.

His name is Leo M. Savino, a 28 year old former commercial real estate guy who is now building some amazing homes in the Park Cities. Did I say he is only 28? That is correct. Leo’s company is called Significant Buildings & Construction, and from what I’ve seen, he has an amazing eye cultivated by charming parents who educated him exquisitely. Anyhow, the home will be complete when I return from Pebble BEach, so get ready for a treat.

Meantime, I like to tease:

Eight of the top twenty cities on this “life sucks here” list are in California, which makes me sad because I LOVE Cali. But not sure I’d ever buy a home there, even in Pebble Beach, unless I had oodles of high net worth. (And I LOVE San Diego.) So check out this list. Miami and Fort Lauderdale are big no-no’s, high foreclosures, crime, you-name-it. But kind of surprising to see that both the current and former home of President Obama are on the list, my our home town of Chicago and his new town of D.C:

Chicago ranks seventh on the strength of its long commutes (30.7 minutes on average–eighth-worst in the U.S.) and high sales tax (9.75%—tied for the highest). The Windy City also ranks in the bottom quartile on weather, crime, foreclosures and home price trends.

President Obama’s (relatively) new home also makes the cut at No. 16. Washington, D.C., has one of the healthiest economies, but problems abound. Traffic is a nightmare, with commute times averaging 33.4 minutes–only New York is worse. Income tax rates are among the highest in the country and home prices are down 27% over three years.