I have not forgotten our Friday $500,000 juicy real estate buy. I’ve been busy researching and posting Texas Ranger’s homes — sorry! But it’s never, ever too late for House Porn. I heard about this listing Monday and have saved it for you all week long, kind of a treat. The owner is about as serious as the Cardinals were tonight. They have just lowered the price to $549,000 from $599,000. But here’s the kicker: if this was 2007, this unit would be priced at over one million dollars. It’s a large, 1925 square foot unit with three bedroom, two and a half baths, seventh floor, beautiful downtown views. Floor to ceiling windows provide a dramatic effect and allow light to highlight the space from the deep balcony. Of course you get the Miele appliances, SubZero fridge, custom drapes, dark wide plank hardwood floors, top of the line plumbing, and more. In fact, the home is exquisitely decorated and looks like it’s never been lived in. The agent, Julie Provenzano, says she has never had a more motivated buyer so take a look at the unit, take a look at the price, and if you want a great buy at The W, make an offer. (This is $285 a square foot!) I know of one bedrooms in foreclosure here going for as little as $199K. This is a huge three bedroom unit! Run, don’t walk!

I hate Dodd-Frank. It’s a good idea gone rogue. And if you value the ability of qualified people to buy real estate without having to place 20% to 50% as a down payment, you should hate it, too. Dodd-Frank is like nuking an entire apartment complex to get rid of bedbugs in one small 300 square foot unit.

Yes, underwriting rules and loans to “marginal” lenders were out of control and led to the housing bust that brought down our economy. Lenders played “hot potato”, making and packaging subprime loans and selling them off to investors until, when the truth came out,  the last investor got screwed because he was left holding the hot potato — a bunch of bad loans. Of course, the fact that the ratings agencies messed up on their projections didn’t help, where is their slap? The fact that lenders were pushing ARMs and interest-only products didn’t help. And now those banks are tighter than Scrooge about lending.

But Dodd-Frank is leaving the details up to a bunch of federal regulators. First of all, we did not elect these federal regulators so I find this almost bordering on unconstitutional. Secondly, what they are going to do will make it harder for people to get mortgages and further depress the housing market. You must know that the credit crunch is about 40% of the problem with the housing market. Bank lending is down by 9% even though bank’s financial profits have risen by 136%. Lending has fallen in 10 of the past 12 quarters despite the bailout. (I’m glad the national press is starting to cover this: we bailed out Wall Street in exchange for loans on Main Street, that ain’t happening.) Dodd-Frank is putting lenders on the hook, requiring them to retain a share in the risk in mortgages they sell to investors. In THEORY, that sounds great — just like taxing millionaires.

But now that a rule to implement this provision has been written, critics say the requirement will make it so hard to get a mortgage that it will further depress the housing market and undercut a struggling economy. “I’ve been in this business 32 years and I have never seen guidelines as tight as they are now,” said Scott Eggen, senior vice president for capital markets with PrimeLending, a mortgage lending subsidiary of Dallas-based Plains Capital Corp.

The proposed rules ignore Congress’  exemptions for “qualifying residential mortgages” — hey, what’s qualifying? The regulators have decided it’s 20 percent down, caps on a borrower’s  debt to income ratio, restrictions on loan terms and other limits that would restrict the number of loans that would qualify for these exemptions. It’s like saying, in effect, only he who gets there first will get the exemptions, then we shut the door.

Will we have people camping on the sidewalk for mortgages as they once did to put contracts on homes during the boom?

Briggs Freeman’s Susan Baldwin told me that Former President Bill Clinton was on The Today Show this morning talking about this very issue. He said that banks are not loaning, they are sitting on trillions but not making loans to small businesses because they don’t have to and are paying no interest on deposits. He’s right on th money but small business, heck Bill — housing!

This meticulously spacially planned designer condo in the W South Tower is a true one-of-it’s kind in the building. The interior was designed by New York designer, John Chadwick. Then along came Scott and Cooner, who installed the Varenna kitchen  with Kuppersbusch appliances, SubZero, caesarstone countertop and a glass backsplash to match the island.

They did not stop there. 

Next, Scott and Cooner installed Bosca Arredi sliding doors, which lead you into the bedroom. These doors can be left open or closed for more privacy, and eliminate the swinging, intrusive (naughty door — today Joan Crawford might have screamed NO BEDROOM DOORS!) ) bedroom door and created more space in the 955 square foot unit. This unit has more storage than any other one bedroom in the building — Poliform closets in the bedroom,  Closets by Design off the bathroom. No excuse for not being organized. There’s Universal Systems  surround sound, lutron lighting controls and shades. One bedroom, one bath, one-car garage spot: $350,000. Beautiful!

Bosca Arredi sliding doors make a huge difference!


Terrell Owens, or T.O.,¬† whose 15 year professional football career has been, well, rather interesting — from brilliant scoring and play (and antics) on the field to some rather controversial behavior, is heavily invested in real estate, Dallas real estate. He has not one but two condominiums listed for sale at the venerable Azure near downtown Dallas. Owens now lives in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. He is selling a three bedroom, 3559 square foot unit with no less than six garage spaces for $2.25 million, and a smaller, one bedroom unit at $350,000.

Owens was released from his contract by the Cowboys in 2009. He went on to play for the Buffalo Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals.

Both of Owens’s units are in the¬†Azure, which was Dallas‚Äô first¬†LEED certified residential building. He was one of the first celebrity buyers — I think I broke the story! The uber modern glass building is loaded up with the developer, Gabriel Barbier-Mueller’s, private Asian art collection (the lobby is pictured). It was designed by award winning, Vancouver-based architect¬†James Cheng.

Owen’s larger unit is a¬†custom residence on the 20th floor, and comes with those 6-car garage spaces — the “G-2”, word play on the “G-5” private jet favored by many high net worth individuals¬† — plus two storage spaces. The Azure has the most generous parking of any of the Dallas high rises, actually the most generous parking of any high rise. The home has three outdoor terraces with gas fireplaces and to-die-for downtown Dallas skyline views. The kitchen features a built-in SubZero fridge, Miele gas cooktop, and double ovens. If memory serves all of the Azure units were decked out with Bulthaup kitchens. The master suite features his-her separate bath with a “tea-for-two” bathtub, and closets, a sitting area and a private outdoor terrace with a gas fireplace.

Now that second unit is a one bedroom, one and a half bath, 881 square foot unit with only a one-car garage, a generous terrace, the nine to ten foot ceilings, vast windows, also overlooking Dallas, but on the third floor. I’d say it would be perfect to buy both and let your bodyguard/life coach/personal assistant live in 305.

Oh! Almost forgot! It must be hard for T.O. to leave behind Deion Sanders, who sweetly mediated a little spat between Atlanta Falcons cornerback DeAngelo Hall and Owens. Hall claimed that Owens spit in his face after a play early in the game. Game officials and reporters were unaware of the incident and Owens was not asked about it until his post-game interview when he fessed up, confirmed it. And apologized! (The two made up.) Owens was fined $35,000 for the incident. Sanders’ unit is also for sale at The Azure, unit #3002, listed for $7.5 million but I see the listing appears to be canceled in MLS.

For a look inside the Azure, I found this video shot by Mike Orren, (then) Pegasus News, and just watching it brought back great memories of the good old days in real estate!