Friday, June 29, 2007

Harry Potter Is Coming!!!

Just in case you haven't heard. Book number 7 (the final book?), Harry Potter & the Deathly Hollows, is due to be released July 21st at 12:01am. By printing 12 million copies in anticipation of the book's release I would say Harry's publishing company, Scholastic, is pretty confident it will do well. If it's any past indication of how this release will go, when book number 6 was released in July 2005 it sold 6.9 million copies in the first 24 hours. Take that iPhone with your measly forecasted 4.5 million units in it's first year! But then again, one book doesn't set you back $500. Ouch!

Get this and other HP countdowns at

And then there's the movie for book number 5, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which can be seen July 13th. One week before the book is released. See the trailer here.

J.K. Rowling is counting her billions all the way to the bank. Nice!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Traditional Living Room = Functional Obsolescence

Many of us have noticed this trend specifically with new construction but as this article points out, the older homes are getting rid of their traditional living rooms as well.

Informal living styles, with eating, cooking and living spaces combined so thatfamily members and visiting friends could congregate together through various activities are popular. Open floor plans and voluminous space were desired more by baby boomer buyers.
Preston Hollow, known for the 50's ranch style home, has an abundance of unused living rooms which is why many families are opting to knock down walls and raise the ceilings to give the home a more "open" floorplan. Anyone out there still have furniture in theirs??

Saturday, June 23, 2007

What a Gem

Jeff Janus of Keller Williams shares his real estate profile and impresses us all with his tagline "Life is short. Get a divorce. Let me sell your house." His clients must be very proud to work with such a fine professional. Keller Williams must also be proud to claim him as one of their own. Kudos to you, Jeff Janus. You are a great example to your fellow Realtors. Not to mention the real estate consumer.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Real Estate Quote of the Day

I couldn’t resist sharing this excerpt from a book I’m reading titled Rant by Chuck Palahniuk:

“The young hang mirrors in their homes. [Uptown] The elderlyhang paintings. [Old HP/Preston Hollow] And, if I may make an ungenerous observation, residents of rural communities [Rowlett, Ft. Worth, etc.] display crafts – those dubious products of spare time, limited motor skill, and inexpensive yarn.”

As someone who has shown all of the above I cannot tell you the profound truth this quote holds.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Texas Surpasses National Home Appreciation Rate

Just came across this bit of information from the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. California, Florida and Las Vegas are VERY jealous.

COLLEGE STATION (Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, Real Estate Center) – According to recent figures from the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, home prices in Texas increased 6.8 percent during first quarter 2007, well above the 4.3 percent national average.

“Despite the national slowdown, Texas is still strong,” said Dr. James Gaines, research economist with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. “There’s no reason prices shouldn't continue to rise despite the increase in foreclosures and the slowdown in transactions, construction and new home starts.”

By comparison, home appreciation slowed to 1.2 percent in California and 3 percent in New York. Nevada price increases virtually disappeared at just .6 percent. Even rapidly growing Florida and Arizona reported value increases of 4.3 percent and 5.2 percent, respectively.

Within Texas, there is a wide variation in appreciation rates in the 25 metropolitan areas. Among the state’s large metro areas, Austin and San Antonio are seeing the strongest rate increases at more than 10 percent.

Meanwhile, the energy industry is fueling strong housing markets in some smaller metros. Home prices are up more than 21 percent in Midland and 16 percent in Odessa. Victoria prices are up 8.3 percent.

Some border communities are on fire as well, thanks to a surge in government hiring and business activity. Laredo is up 16.6 percent, while El Paso is up 11.2 percent.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Is it really all "Doom & Gloom" for Dallas Real Estate?

This is an email I sent out to my friends and past clients and thought it blogworthy…

A few years ago it seemed the whole nation began to show concern that real estate bubbles throughout the country were about to burst and I tried my best to keep my friends and past clients informed by letting them know Dallas is not directly affected by the decline in home prices in locations such as Miami, Las Vegas and California. Ever since that time negative real estate statistics continued to be published in the media about the declining national real estate market and I continued to defend our local real estate market. I am frequently asked, “Jeff, how is your business doing with the real estate market doing as poorly as it is?” So let me—yet again—answer that question and hopefully quell your fears.

First of all, my business has never been better and thanks to all of you I finished 2006 as the 63rd most productive agent in my company out of 1,300 other agents. This equates to ranking in the Top 7% of Realtors nationwide. Again, a sincere thank you for your support and confidence in my abilities as a real estate professional. I hope to continue that success in keep the referrals coming! :)

Second, I would like to address our “poor real estate market”. Brace yourself for this mind boggling statement I am about to make. Many of the doom and gloom real estate reports that are published address NATIONAL real estate statistics and not LOCAL real estate statistics. The average Joe in Dallas reads one of these reports in the Wall Street Journal and thinks his home in North Dallas is immediately worth less. This is ridiculous and I question their intellectual fortitude. Furthermore, the real estate numbers Dallas is producing this year when compared with 2006 might come up short by 2% here and 3% there. (Note: Number of sales are down in many areas but prices are going up!) But remember, 2006 year was the 3rd best year for real estate EVER in our country’s history. So by those standards, 2007 might end up in the top 10 best years for real estate EVER. That doesn’t sound so bad, does it? Which leads me to this recent report from Out of the 100 largest markets in the country Dallas ranks 9th in projected appreciation (3.6%) from April 2007 to April 2008. Our worst one-year decline of –7.7% occurred in ‘87-’88. Dallas does not see 20% fluctuations which allows our growth to remain strong and steady.

So the next time someone starts telling you how bad our Dallas real estate market is, you can tell them with confidence that Dallas is one of the strongest real estate markets in the country. And if they’re looking to buy or sell you can tell them to call me!