Christmas lights

As Christmas creeps closer, and the nights get longer, you can ask just about any North Texan — checking out the homegrown light displays in various neighborhoods is as much a tradition as tamales and NorthPark Santa.

But do you worry you’re missing out on a great neighborhood? Or are you new to the area, and don’t have the skinny on the great displays? Fear not — CandysDirt.com staffers have been quizzing readers, scouring the Internet, and strapping jingle bells on our gumshoes to find some of the best neighborhood and city-led decoration displays in Dallas-Fort Worth.

And thanks to one of our favorite luxury Realtors, Christy Berry with Compass, and CandysDirt.com, you can check out our list of great cruising spots this holiday season. Think you might want to find a house in a neighborhood that embraces their inner Clark Griswold, or maybe something a little uh, more Martha Stewart? Stay tuned, because Christy has a listing to share that could get you right in the middle of Christmas central. (more…)

10-minute

The Farmers Branch Historical Park is home to numerous events year-round, including a vintage baseball tournament in the Spring (photo courtesy city of Farmers Branch).

Is your home a 10-minute (or less) walk from a park? One-third of Americans have a much longer trek than that to get to their nearest park, according to research by the National Recreation and Park Association, Urban Land Institute and, The Trust for Public Land.

Recently, Rachel Banner, a senior program manager at the NRPA, wrote a piece for the National Association of Realtors’ Spaces to Places blog about a year-long initiative to make more public spaces and parks available — within a 10-minute walk from every person.

Banner also talks about the Emerging Trends in Real Estate report, which revealed that while residential and commercial developers may create amenities within their buildings or spaces, that’s not necessarily what creates a lifelong resident of a city.

“The report talks a lot about the growing demand for amenities in both office and residential development.  In the discussion about the report Owen Thomas, CEO of Boston Properties also remarked that while each year a new set of cities may be pegged for growth, we must look at how long those cities will remain “hot spots” and the places people stay long-term,” Ballard said. “While including amenities within a building may initially attract owners or tenants, it is the amenities outside of the building open to all that will get them to stay.” (more…)

Canterbury Court

On Canterbury Court in Plano, the Halloween decorations are out of this world, like this Area 51-themed display.

Plano’s Deerfield neighborhood has its famed Christmas light display, but come October 31, a different neighborhood becomes the Halloween epicenter of Plano. Canterbury Court in the River Bend neighborhood, an otherwise quiet cul-de-sac next to Plano Senior High School transforms into an elaborate display of Halloween decoration ingenuity, where the street shuts down to vehicular traffic and the whole block becomes an outdoor party. 

The Halloween tradition began in 1983, a year after Enrique and Ann Valdes moved into the River Bend neighborhood, off Independence Drive and Park Blvd. Many of River Bend’s homes were built by the popular custom home builder J. Stiles Homes in the 1970s and 1980s. Through the years, the Valdes family has built everything from a 35-foot Titanic replica and giant Star Wars stormtroopers to a haunted pirate ship and members of the Justice League. Others on the cul-de-sac including Nick Derington caught the Halloween spirit, decorating his yard with his own often-homemade themed decor including a lifesize T-Rex and Ghostbusters‘ StayPuft marshmallow man.

StayPuft marshmallow man from the year 2000. Photo Credit: JohnGoudreau.com

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PlanoTucked in the Plano neighborhood of Bent Tree West, our Saturday Six Hundred this week is a magnificently updated two-story home where seriously, no expense was spared to make it a gorgeous, family ready retreat.

Stager Karen Eubank was brought in by listing agent Susan Gentry of Ebby Halliday – Ebby’s Little White House prior to the sale to give advice on prospective updates, and said that the changes the owner. Thanks to her, we have an idea of how much the updates the owner chose transformed this home at 4411 Highlander Dr.

What we see in the before pictures is a well-built home, but a typical 1980s era home with a need for updates and designer touches that today’s buyers want.

It’s the rare seller that not only realizes what is necessary, but also moves ahead with those updates,” Eubank said. “So, for me it was a delight to work with a seller that shared my vision.” (more…)

north texas

(Photo courtesy VisitFrisco.com)

How did North Texas fare in a ranking of overall best housing markets in the U.S.? How far has the Dallas-Fort Worth apartment market come in recovering after the recession? How much of their income is the average Dallas-Fort Worth homeowner spending on housing? All this and more in this week’s review of real estate news. (more…)

Despite only being in her mid-20s, Macey Snyder has already made a name for herself in sales and design. Now the Texas Tech alum is ready to take on real estate as an agent for JP and Associates.

Those who travel to West Texas may recognize the family name. The Snyder’s stores in Seymour and Childress are community staples, selling hardware, building materials and other home essentials.

“We’re just kind of a little one-stop shop for a small town,” Snyder said. She grew up in Seymour, a town of less than 3,000 people nearly an hour away most big-name retailers. When the local western wear store in Childress closed a few years ago, her family decided to start selling clothing as well.

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Financial site WalletHub ranked 182 of the largest U.S. cities to find the most stressful places in America, and found that Plano is the least stressed city in Texas. Houston was ranked the most stressful city in the state. Oh, and the sky is blue. These are things we already knew.

Based on data, WalletHub found the three most stressful cities in the U.S. were Detroit, Newark, and Cleveland. What makes a city stressful? Citywide factors you’d expect such as high rates of unemployment and underemployment, long commute times, and lack of affordable housing. There’s more personal factors that cause stress like personal bankruptcy, foreclosure, poor health, and divorce.

Then, there are the quirky factors that WalletHub evaluates like percentage of binge drinkers (yes, that’s you with your box wine-a-weekend habit), median credit score, obesity rates and share of adults getting inadequate sleep that make writing about WalletHub’s lists so interesting.

People in Plano report lower levels of stress at work, less financial woes, happier families and better health and safety than any other city in Texas, according to the July 2018 study. The new ranking comes after Plano was named one of the happiest places in the United States.

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During the week, Andrea Brooks is a Plano-based Realtor for Keller Williams. Over the past decade she’s built a successful business, one that she says is “busy and fulfilling.” However, on weekends she can often be found traveling around the country promoting her invention called Footsie Soft.

“I think most people have thought of something and said, ‘That would be so cool if I could get my invention out there,’” Brooks said. “I thought why not just give it a try so that’s what I did.”

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