Jenni Stolarski has flipped some amazing properties in North Oak Cliff.

Jenni Stolarski has flipped some amazing properties in North Oak Cliff, including this one at 806 N. Windomere.

We were intrigued by a story from Bloomberg News citing RealtyTrac figures reportedly showing a nationwide decrease in flipping:

Home flipping, in which a buyer resells a property quickly for a profit, is on the decline as U.S. residential price gains slow and foreclosures dwindle.
Almost 31,000 single-family houses were flipped in the second quarter, representing 4.6 percent of U.S. home sales, RealtyTrac said in a report today. That’s down from 6.2 percent a year earlier and the smallest share since the first three months of 2012, when prices bottomed after the crash, according to the Irvine, California-based data company, which defines a flip as a property sold within 12 months of purchase.

Of course, I had to consult the two best “flippers” I know to see what the local perspective is on flipping. First I got in touch with Jenni Stolarski of Briggs-Freeman Sotheby’s. Stolarski does high-end flips in Oak Cliff, producing some of the most gorgeous homes I’ve ever seen. One of the most recent ones was an amazing Tudor transformation that was awash in marble and chrome. Total jaw-dropper.


Property For Rent

We wanted to get some boots-on-the-ground perspective from North Texas Realtors after Forbes named Fort Worth-Arlington and Dallas-Plano-Irving as the top two “best buy cities,” or areas in the U.S. where buying a home is a good investment. Forbes teamed up with Local Market Monitor to measure the “equilibrium home price,” which strips away several layers of market influence such as speculation and the cyclical boom-bust nature of housing.

Fort Worth-Arlington, Tex., and Dallas-Plano-Irving, Tex., top the list of our Best Buy Cities, at No. 1 and No. 2, respectively. Both cities offer homes that would be within reach for middle-class Americans, at $168,383 in Fort Worth-Arlington and $180,645 in greater Dallas. Prices in greater Fort Worth are considered 20% below their actual value, according to Local Market Monitor. Homes in the greater Dallas region are 12% down, so less off, but they are expected to rise more–29%–over the next three years.

For buyers who intend to rent out their homes, the populations in these cities are growing at a healthy clip: from 2009 to 2012, at 4.9% in Fort Worth and 6.1% in Dallas. At that rate, Dallas is tied for the fastest-growing city on the Best Buy Cities list. It’s ranked fifth in terms of job growth, at 3% as of the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics stats.


While we do like our reports from Local Market Monitor, which give clear investment outlooks, our major sticking point with broad surveys such as this one is that real estate markets are hyper-local, meaning that West Plano could be having an outstanding year, with tons of price increases and new development, but on the other side of U.S. 75, growth may not be as great. The same holds true for neighborhoods such as Berkeley Place in Fort Worth, where some homes are reaching price peaks never seen before, while northern Fort Worth suburbs may be struggling to break even.

Still, Realtors remain optimistic, pointing to growth across all price points and through many different developments. Condos are up, single-family homes are up, new homes are up, and investment buyers are out of control.

“The fact that Dallas, Plano, and Irving are named as the No. 2 metro area to buy a home for investment in the U.S. is no surprise at all,” says Vivo Realty founder David Maez, who is based in Plano. “Our job market is, and always has been one of the best in the nation. That together with low cost of living, a high percentage of renters, and good schools, it’s an investor’s dream.”

Maez specializes in the northern suburbs of Dallas, where you’ll see tons of single family homes for sale and for rent, in his area, Realtors are noticing tons of activity on MLS for buyers and for renters. Maez is currently working with many investors, both local and out-of-state, all of which are looking to capitalize on the North Texas market.

“In the field we are seeing no more than 10 to 15 days on the market for a good lease, sometimes leasing on the same day. Supplement to that, home prices are also very affordable — you can find an amazing home here for $160K to $200K,” Maez added. “So whether you’re looking to purchase your first home or are a first-time investor looking to pick-up a rental, this is an amazing market to do so.”


Attention sharpest real estate shoppers: opportunity is knocking big time for a wise real estate investor over here at 9422 Alva Court, in the honeypot of Old Preston Hollow. In fact, I feel like I am having deja vue: we bought in Old Preston Hollow when the market was about as low as it is now. OK, maybe it was even lower in the ’80s. But we bought this primo Blue Chip real estate in THEE BEST LOCATION and HELD ON. Sold it ten years later at a profit.

The same fate awaits you with this home, in my humble opinion, if you are not too antsy.  You are getting location with a capital L, a home planted on more than 1-acre on a secluded, prestigious Preston Hollow street of very few homes. This is the street where Norman and Cindy Brinker lived, where Janie and Cappy McGarr built their dream home and if I am not mistaken, sold to T. Boone Pickens and his new bride. Alva Court in Dallas, Texas, offers a prime opportunity for more than a name-dropper street. It’s a jaw dropper. Little wonder with all the mature trees, a backyard that has been turned into paradise and a veritable country club. Features include pool, tennis court and ample green space for Bocce Ball or frolicking. Another plus: I like the way the spacious, hard-wood floored entryway offers vast views of the backyard, pool and tennis court right from the get-go. You’ve got windows everywhere, in every room, taking in the views. You’ve got a loaded kitchen with granite counters, nice appliances. Game room has a wet  bar, a fireplace and, what do you know, another wall of glass. Master suite is downstairs with two full baths opening to a sunroom and sitting room with  fireplace.

Honestly, this reminds me of the Pebble Beach Spa where I had a massage this afternoon!

Now I am not sure what is going on with the walls in the foyer, but there is almost nothing fresh wallpaper cannot fix, and besides. Wallpaper is back in style. Asking: $2,695,000 and listed by Dave Perry-Miller.


This is a real blast from the past: Dave Perry-Miller sold 9338 Meadowbrook recently, listed at $6.795, with sales price undisclosed, though I hear it was fairly close to asking. Something about this house made me have deja vue. I dusted off some old notes to get us the very interesting history of this home.

It was 1997, Bill Clinton was president, and George and Dominique Perrin had just sold their not-yet-complete, 45,000-plus-square-foot Strait Lane estate to Dallas real estate investor John Lau for about $8.5 million. Note to self: find out what John is doing these days. The following year, Lau sold Strait Lane to Jean Boulle and the whole thing burned to the ground. Allie Beth Allman sold the Perrins a fair sub, the exquisite Preston Hollow home of Drs. John Bell and Toni Grant Bell at 9338 Meadowbrook, asking $6.9. (Sale price: undisclosed.) The sales number floating in 1997: about 6 millionish. The 18,000-square-foot estate at the corner of Meadowbrook Drive and Dentwood Drive had been on the market just two months. Allie Beth called it the finest house in Dallas. John Bell was the former CEO of Bell Packaging Corp. Toni Grant was a west coast radio psychologist who pre-empted Dr. Laura Schlessinger, remember her? Meadowbrook had 130-year-old, 2-inch-thick pine floors imported from Louisiana, a 2,000-square-foot master suite with all the necessities (a steam shower and a dry sauna), and three huge bedroom suites with many reading nooks. There was also a complete executive suite with its own entrance and a third-floor exercise room. Outside, there’s a guest house, tennis pavilion, and a Swimex pool that creates its own rapids for stay-in-place laps. We are sure the Perins added much more to this estate, which only make me want to get my eyeballs inside that door and into the wine cellar…

The Ritz Carlton Residence Sarasota

The Ritz Carlton Residence Sarasota

I’m doing something rather unconventional here. I am cutting and pasting in an entire story as I found it on the web. Read, please:

Texas Multimillionaire logs rare loss on Ritz Tower sale

Donald J. Carter recently sold a 3,700-square-foot condominium in the Ritz-Carlton Tower Residences for $1.25 million, or $64,000 less than he paid in June 2004.

But don’t worry about Carter.

The multimillionaire real estate investor and former majority owner of the Dallas Mavericks NBA basketball franchise has made out pretty well on his investments at the Ritz.

Carter, who made a fortune reselling commercial properties purchased after the savings and loan crisis, spent $49.5 million to buy 24 units in the Tower Residences during the 12 months after the building came out of the ground in 2003. His median purchase price was $1.96 million.

Since then, Carter has sold 21 of the units for just over $59 million and a median price of $2.5 million.
He still owns the 5,275-square-foot penthouse unit on the 18th floor that he bought $3.257 million.

Carter, well known for standing on the Mavericks’ sidelines wearing a cowboy hat, founded the expansion team along with Norm Sonju in 1980.

He put up the $12 million expansion entry fee, an investment that earned him about $125 million when he sold the team in 1996 to an investment group led by H. Ross Perot, Jr. Carter is now a minority owner.

After the Mavericks won their NBA championship earlier this month, it was Carter — not Mark Cuban, perhaps now the most prominent investor in the team — who accepted the trophy from Commissioner David Stern.


OK, tell me, do you read this and think we are talking the Ritz Carlton DALLAS?  Or rather, the Residences at the Ritz Carlron Dallas? I sure did, and thought I was slipping. I checked DCAD and saw that Donald Carter owns ZERO condos at the Residences at the Ritz Carlton Dallas.

This story makes it seem like the Ritz is putting condos on the Filene’s basement chopping block fire sale, which I know is not the case because I have personal knowledge of two sales. So I emailed Kyle Crews, who tells me Don Carter owns nada at the Dallas Ritz. Kyle contacts the writer who wrote the story an he says, oh we were talking about the Ritz Carlton Residences Sarasota, FLA, not Dallas. Now it may say that in a paper headline somewhere, but that little factoid did not make it onto the web story. So I was confused, and others were confused as well, and The Residences at the Ritz Carlton Dallas is asking the reporter for a retraction.

But then, since Carter’s made about half a million on the 21 units he has sold from his 24 unit inventory, maybe we should just pretend yes, this IS Dallas!