9925_Alva-3-575x383I have told you, but let me go on record again: yes, the market is hotter than hell and homes are selling in days, weeks, even hours. We have less than three months’ inventory. But that is for properties generally below $2 million, as Jennifer Miller pointed out last week. So it surprises me not at all that Tom Leppert and his wife Laura lowered the price on their Preston Hollow home to $4,999,999, a haircut of about $696,000 and some change.

The home, listed with former Dallas Mayor Pro Tem, Mary Poss, had been priced at $5,695,000.  Please note that the Lepert home also has a “keeping room”, just like our mysterious Monday Morning Millionaire.

Here is the description of the home using Mary’s own beautiful words:

“The estate home at 9525 Alva Court is another jewel in the portfolio of Dallas homes designed by the incomparable Robbie Fusch,” Ms. Poss says. “It is the fusion of grand elegance with extreme functionality. No detail has been overlooked in this 10,800-square-foot masterpiece built in 2002 in the heart of Old Preston Hollow.”

This stunning property features a slate roof, a stone exterior, an electric gate, a circular driveway and manicured landscaping.

 

Inside, massive timbers in the living and keeping areas set in 11-foot ceilings accentuate these spacious rooms and add to the comfortable and relaxed atmosphere of the home.”

 

Yes, it’s true: Laura had a “Keeping Area” for Tom. I think every wife needs one!

“Designer appliances in the spacious kitchen make cooking for one or for a crowd easy, Ms. Poss says. Massive granite countertops highlight this natural gathering place. Two large dining areas are located at opposite ends of the kitchen. The extensive butler’s pantry and storage areas provide plenty of preparation and staging space.

 

Beyond the confluence of the downstairs living areas are the master suite, a guest suite and two offices. Adjacent to the large master bedroom is a multipurpose room that may be used as an exercise room, a reading room or however the new owners choose. Marble abounds in the master bath, which is accented by an overhead stained-glass window above the luxurious tub. A steam shower and two large designer closets complete this well-appointed bath.

The first-floor guest suite occupies its own wing for privacy and comfort. One of the twin offices features rich, wood-paneled walls; the other is conveniently located by the kitchen and offers significant storage space.

Views of the pool and the cabana are available from almost all of the home’s living areas, the master suite and the kitchen.”

Of course, the home is on a 150 by 245 foot deep lot, almost one acre.

 

“A state-of-the-art media room is on the second floor, along with a library, a game room and a second laundry facility. A large, covered deck overlooks the backyard. Three bedrooms, each with its own bath and loft, offer plenty of private living space.”

Now here’s the space where you know the rich, powerful Repubs have gathered and plotted and oh if those tree branches or even the grill could talk…

“For outside entertaining, a beautiful cabana with separate living quarters offers the perfect backdrop to the gorgeous pool and outdoor kitchen, all of which is surrounded by lush landscaping,” Ms. Poss says. “Four garages, a porte-cochere, a motor court and a circular drive provide ample parking for any number of vehicles on the property.”

Any number. This is really quite a home. We are talking the HONEYPOT of Preston Hollow, T. Boone Pickens up the street, Kelcy Warren not too far over on Park, but you have to cross Walnut Hill and go west to visit Mayor Mike. Or the Malouf Waterpark. It was on the market very quietly as a hip pocket with Eleanor Mowery Sheets, who sold the home to Tom and Laura, this maybe 2008 or 2009, winter. In my opinion, Eleanor wanted to sell the house more than Tom and Laura did. Once the Sheets’ IRS issues came out, I never heard any more about the house or her listing it but I do know Eleanor had arranged a Realtor event at the stunning house. Mary Poss confirmed to me last night — full disclosure, I had just walked off a plane with ears still plugged — that Laura Leppert has a background in real estate and was in fact an agent in Hawaii when she and Harvard-educated Tom met. So yes, real estate is in their romance! Where are they going? Mary has been showing them some downsized properties around town, with Laura virtually incognito. Like most of us with larger family homes, the Lepperts wish to downsize now that their children are grown. Maybe want a little more turn-key in case he decides to take another political stab. Interesting thing about we baby boomers downsizing from this glorious homes: where are we going to downsize? One builder has a solution we are personally taking a peak at.

 

 

The stunning Preston Hollow home of our former Mayor and brief senatorial candidate, Tom Leppert, and his wife, Laura, hits the market in about one minute. Of course I knew about this yesterday — actually, last week — when I was in Maine eating way too much lobster but Amy Curry got a quick post up while AA was telling me to shut down my electronic devices. (Wonder if Tom could do anything about that now that he’s endorsed Dewhurst? It’s unbearable to be unplugged for four hours!) What she didn’t tell you was how much: $5,695,000. And worth every penny. Listed by, and this should come as no surprise, Mary Poss, former Dallas Mayor Pro Tem, of Ebby Halliday.

Here is the description of the home using Mary’s own beautiful words:

“The estate home at 9525 Alva Court is another jewel in the portfolio of Dallas homes designed by the incomparable Robbie Fusch,” Ms. Poss says. “It is the fusion of grand elegance with extreme functionality. No detail has been overlooked in this 10,800-square-foot masterpiece built in 2002 in the heart of Old Preston Hollow.”

This stunning property features a slate roof, a stone exterior, an electric gate, a circular driveway and manicured landscaping.

Inside, massive timbers in the living and keeping areas set in 11-foot ceilings accentuate these spacious rooms and add to the comfortable and relaxed atmosphere of the home.”

Yes, it’s true: Laura had a “Keeping Area” for Tom. I think every wife needs one!

“Designer appliances in the spacious kitchen make cooking for one or for a crowd easy, Ms. Poss says. Massive granite countertops highlight this natural gathering place. Two large dining areas are located at opposite ends of the kitchen. The extensive butler’s pantry and storage areas provide plenty of preparation and staging space.

Beyond the confluence of the downstairs living areas are the master suite, a guest suite and two offices. Adjacent to the large master bedroom is a multipurpose room that may be used as an exercise room, a reading room or however the new owners choose. Marble abounds in the master bath, which is accented by an overhead stained-glass window above the luxurious tub. A steam shower and two large designer closets complete this well-appointed bath.

The first-floor guest suite occupies its own wing for privacy and comfort. One of the twin offices features rich, wood-paneled walls; the other is conveniently located by the kitchen and offers significant storage space.

Views of the pool and the cabana are available from almost all of the home’s living areas, the master suite and the kitchen.”

Of course, the home is on a 150 by 245 foot deep lot, almost one acre.

“A state-of-the-art media room is on the second floor, along with a library, a game room and a second laundry facility. A large, covered deck overlooks the backyard. Three bedrooms, each with its own bath and loft, offer plenty of private living space.”

Now here’s the space where you know the rich, powerful Repubs have gathered and plotted and oh if those tree branches or even the grill could talk…

“For outside entertaining, a beautiful cabana with separate living quarters offers the perfect backdrop to the gorgeous pool and outdoor kitchen, all of which is surrounded by lush landscaping,” Ms. Poss says. “Four garages, a porte-cochere, a motor court and a circular drive provide ample parking for any number of vehicles on the property.”

Any number. This is really quite a home. We are talking the HONEYPOT of Preston Hollow, T. Boone Pickens up the street, Kelcy Warren not too far over on Park, but you have to cross Walnut Hill and go west to visit Mayor Mike. Or the Malouf Waterpark. It was on the market very quietly as a hip pocket with Eleanor Mowery Sheets, who sold the home to Tom and Laura, this maybe 2008 or 2009, winter. In my opinion, Eleanor wanted to sell the house more than Tom and Laura did. Once the Sheets’ IRS issues came out, I never heard any more about the house or her listing it but I do know Eleanor had arranged a Realtor event at the stunning house. Mary Poss confirmed to me last night — full disclosure, I had just walked off a plane with ears still plugged — that Laura Leppert has a background in real estate and was in fact an agent in Hawaii when she and Harvard-educated Tom met. So yes, real estate is in their romance! Where are they going? Mary has been showing them some downsized properties around town, with Laura virtually incognito. Like most of us with larger family homes, the Lepperts wish to downsize now that their children are grown. Maybe want a little more turn-key in case he decides to take another political stab. Interesting thing about we baby boomers downsizing from this glorious homes: where are we going to downsize? One builder has a solution we are personally taking a peak at.

Oh and don’t ever let anyone tell you Tom Leppert does not have great financial management smarts: he and Laura bought 9525 Alva Court back in 2003 and yes, Eleanor Mowery Sheets was their agent. Paid $3,850,000. They get anywhere near asking, which in this low inventory market is entirely possible, that’s nearly a two million dollar profit after living in the joint for nine years. That will cover at least half of what he spent on his campaign.

I would really like to see what this man can do in Washington, truly.

If you own a second home in New York but don’t work there, you may soon be taxed like those who do, even on income made outside of the state. I love New York City and would be there every other week if I could. But I doubt I’d ever own property there, or could afford to.¬† After a recent series of court rulings, this feeling could spread. A New Canaan, Ct. resident who works in New York City and owns a second vacation home on Long Island has been told by an appeals court he must pay income taxes in New York City and state — among the highest in the nation — on income generated outside of the state even though he and his wife live in Connecticut. The reason? They own a year ’round habitable vacation home on Long Island.

John Barker, an investments manager for Neuberger Berman in New York, bought a home (with his wife, Laura) in Napeague, Long Island, between Montauk and Amagansett, (Johnny Cash’s daughter, Roseann, lives there), for $260,000 in 1997. Mr. Barker works in New York City. From 2002 to 2004, the period that was assessed for back income taxes, the Barkers said they spent only a few days a year at the Long Island home, usually during the summer. They have a permanent residence in New Canaan.

The new ruling apparently applies only to people who spend more than 183 days in New York, which naturally includes anyone who commutes to the city. (Lawyer question: what if you commute but do not spend the night in the city?) New York law requires people who work in New York to pay taxes on any income they make in this state. But they generally haven’t had to pay New York taxes on income they make outside of the state, or on their spouses’ income, if the spouse works elsewhere.

This could all change with this court ruling. And I have first hand knowledge this is sending many celebrity second home owners packing.

The recent ruling, an appeal of a 2009 decision, effectively re-interprets what counts as a permanent residence and says if you own any year round habitable property here, you are a New York state resident.

New York tax code specifically excludes “a mere camp or cottage, which is suitable and used only for vacations,” as a permanent home abode. Now New York tax experts say this interpretation/ruling is saying summer homes count as permanent residences. Long Island is loaded with summer homes. And who doesn’t want to own a NYC pied a tierre?

The appeals court that upheld the ruling says who cares how the homeowners intend to live in the home. The point is the home could be used all year long. The Barkers’ Long Island summer home is about 1,122 square feet with heat, electricity, and internet service, which the court says “makes it very habitable and comfortable year round.” The fact that Mrs. Barker let her parents stay at the home during winter months proved it was a year ’round residence, said the court.

The Barkers say  they use the home only a few days a year, and the refrigerator is even always empty.

I want to know more: did the Barkers ever lease out the house as income producing property, and if so, would that have changed the court’s ruling? Secondly, are second home owners in places like the Hamptons who live out of state going to rush in and yank out heating systems in an effort to avoid being taxes as a year ’round residence? Does having an out house qualify a home as a “camp”?

The extra taxes will cost the Barkers $1.06 million, and I’ll bet his attorney bill is almost half that. Those attorneys also say they don’t think the decision can be overturned.