Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Are There Too Many Realtors? Yes!

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) is one of the largest trade associations in this country with over 1.3 million members. In 2000 there were only 766,000 Realtors nationwide. That's a 41% growth over 7 years. That's quite impressive. You probably don't know that a real estate agent can only call him or herself a Realtor if they are members of NAR. Many Realtors probably don't even know this. The running joke in many cities across the country is "everyone knows a Realtor". After looking at these numbers you can see why people say this.

So we have too many Realtors and also have to battle a terrible public image. A major reason for this is because it's not that hard to become a real estate agent anywhere in the nation, but at least in Texas they make it tougher than most other states. You have to sit through 150 hours of class or 210 if you don't have a college degree then pass a national and state exam. In comparison, Georgia and Florida only require 63 hours of class to become an agent. Keep in mind each state decides its own requirements to become a real estate agent.

So wouldn't it help NAR's cause to make the process more selective and harder to get into the industry? Not only would that help rid the profession of the slackers, it would leave the professional and successful Realtors to work with buyers and sellers which would eventually help boost public image. Why not kick out those Realtors that sell 2 or less homes a year? Sounds great in theory but there's a serious Catch-22.

NAR's Realtor Political Action Committee (RPAC) raised $11 million for the 2005-2006 election cycle. That's some serious dough and it gets shelled out to help get NAR supporters across the country elected. Where do you think most - if not all - of that money comes from? Realtors. So if NAR made states become more selective they would lose TONS of money. And if I've learned anything in this life it's that money talks, money's king, show me the money, and all that jazz.

World's First Billion Dollar Home

No this is not a Las Vegas style resort. This is for one friggin' family. An earthquakingly wealthy family worth a paltry $22 billion according to Forbes. 570 feet tall, 27 stories, space for 168 cars and 600 full-time servants. The residence's name (of course it has to have it's own name!) is "Residence Antilia" named after a mythical island and was designed by Chicago architecture firm Perkins & Will.

Not one to be modest, the owner, Mukesh Ambani, bought his wife a $60 million dollar luxury jet for her 44th birthday. Wheels up, indeed.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

"The Golden Hour" When Selling Your House

The Golden Hour is a term used in emergency medicine where it is "widely believed that the victim's chances of survival are greatest if they receive definitive care in the operating room within the first hour." In real estate we have our own version of "The Golden Hour" but we should call it the "Golden Fortnight", or the first 14 days after a listing goes on the market. When a home goes on the market it immediately attracts all of the qualified buyers that have been looking for homes in that area and in that price range. If 2 weeks pass and buyers have gone through the home and you have no offers, you have missed your Golden Hour and may end up chasing the market unless you take immediate action.

You haven't had 10 people look at the home in the first 14 days? Then you are probably over priced. Buyers don't look at over priced listings. And yes, that even applies to homes over $1 million dollars.

After the first 14 days you start getting those buyers that have been looking around but are probably 60 to 90 days out from buying a home.

After 30+ days you begin to attract those buyers just entering the market and could be more than 90 days out from making an offer on a home.

If you do not receive an offer on your home after 14 days on the market you need to reduce your asking price substantially. $5,000 isn't going bring buyers back in your home. With these types of reductions you will end up chasing the market and will end up selling below market value when all is said and done. Don't believe me? You know that house that has been on the market for 268 days at $299,000? What is they reduced to $289,000? No buyer is going to give them any where near that price.It's a stale listing now and they will eventually pay the price for not positioning itself correctly when it was first listed.

$12 Million Spec Home in Highland Park Up For Grabs

4223 Bordeaux Ave. just hit the market for a cool $11.995 million. This is another high priced home built by Andrew Merrick and designed by Robbie Fusch. This home comes complete with a basement, 1,800 bottle walk in wine cellar and 6 car garage all spread out over roughly 14,000 sf on one of the most beautiful streets in Highland Park

There are currently 8 homes on the market in North Texas over $10 million dollars with 5 of those being in the Park Cities.

Well. What are you waiting for? Make an offer! I bet they would take $11,900,000 for it.

See the virtual tour here. (If you're into that)

Monday, January 28, 2008

How do Realtors Get Paid?

The common misconception is that when a Realtor sells a home they get 6% of the sales price. Now we all know commissions are negotiable and technically this statement is true, but what people don't realize is that half of the commission goes to the buyer's agent, or selling agent. Let's look a the following example on how a new-to-the-business agent would get paid on a $300,000 sale at a 6% commission.

Sales Price: $300,000

$18,000 Gross commission to Listing Broker
-$9,000 Given to cooperating Buyer's Agent

$9,000 Gross commission to Listing Agent
-$540 Most large companies charge a 6% affiliate fee

-$4,230 Most new agents start at a 50% split with their company

-$635 Let's assume the agent spent 15% of their commission marketing the property

-$1,079 Take out 30% for tax purposes

$2,516 Agents Net Income

If the agent sold 13 homes at at average sale of $300,000 that's $4 million worth of real estate sales in one year! Wow! This agent must be rolling in the dough! But in reality that would equate to a net income of $33,500 for the entire year. And that does not include any other costs such as buying office supplies, gas and other business expenses such as magazine, newspaper and direct mail ads. You can see that a "successful" agent in this business can very easily net less that $30,000/ year with 13 sizeable transactions.

So the next time you see an email or postcard from a Realtor that says, "Multi-million Dollar Producer", you should probably feel sorry for them.

Dallas and Tarrant County Make Forbes List...For Foreclosures, That Is

Dallas County came in at #21 out of 50 with 4.4% of the homes entering foreclosure proceedings having negative equity. (Read the full story here) Meaning the sales price will not cover the loan amount owed to the bank. Tarrant County represented at #36 with the same number (4.4%) of foreclosed homes having negative equity.

Although I'm not quite sure how we or why we made the list since #50, Pasco County, Florida boasts a whopping 15.7%.

I'm confused.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Buyer's Market Myth

In many markets across North Texas there have been less sales so that must mean the buyers are hibernating, right? Wrong. I heard this a lot in the latter months of 2007 from seller clients and even other Realtors saying showings have died down on their properties and the buyers had all but disappeared. Please allow to me to squash this myth for you. Pay attention students.

The orange triangle above represents the buyer pool (according to this myth) and how the pool shrinks during a buyers market which is why there is so much inventory on the market. With all those listings on the market there can't possibly be enough buyers to go around, right? Not if the price is right. This is tough news to swallow for many sellers but reality is that the buyer pool never changes. Buyers are always willing to buy IF they perceive the home's price as valuable. If buyers feel the home is over priced they will simply pass. And we've already learned that buyers don't " just make offers" willy nilly because you, the seller, over priced your home to leave room for negotiation.

Think about it. If I listed a single family home in good condition in University Park for $400,000 I will receive 5 to 10 offers within the first 5 hours on the market guaranteed. This example shows there are always many buyers ready and able to buy, thus, the buyer pool size never changes. They just need to perceive the home as valuable in order to make an offer.

So what does this tell us about our current market which admittedly has more inventory than last year? (But certainly at very healthy levels) It means most of the listings currently on the market are not priced correctly and thus buyers are not willing to make an offer.

To summarize, the buyer pool never changes. Every listing currently on the market has an "energy price" that will cause buyer's to act. Your Realtor should be able to help you find this price which will, in turn, allow you to maximize your sales price while minimizing your time on the market. And when homes are priced attractively and sell quickly, you end up with less inventory and an appreciating market.

Virtual Tours vs. Multiple Photos

Which do today's buyers prefer? If you had to choose, would you rather see 10 photos or a virtual tour when searching for homes online?

How Important Are Multiple Photos on

Please note, I am not picking on or critiquing the following real estate agents' marketing methods nor am I implying they are less than capable Realtors. I am simply curious as to how important having multiple photos on is to today's sellers. The following listings on have 1 or no pictures and are over $1 million. I'm wondering if the owners of these homes realize how detrimental this can be. Or maybe I'm missing the mark and having multiple photos on is no longer important to sellers. If you were selling your home in today's market would you be ok with 1 or no photos on I'd love to hear your feedback.

6706 Tulip Ln. - $1,070,000

6530 Brookshire Ln. - $1,100,000

6011 Mimosa Ln. - $1,149,000

Saturday, January 26, 2008

I'm Quoted In Park Cities People! Does This Mean I'm Cool?

Check out Kristian Heap's article about a new search engine for home buyers. Dallas is one of the few areas across the nation that is testing this new search platform. I have to say I like this quote,
“If they’ve done their research online and know which neighborhoods they can afford and which neighborhoods they like, they do become qualified buyers — not just in the financial sense, but that they are educating themselves,” Duffey said. “I am happy for any search engine that will help educate the consumer so they can save time, and I can help find the house [buyers] want and get them into it.”
Check it out and let me know what you think! And do you think I'm cool now?

Are Realtors or Sellers To Blame For Bad Service?

A few days ago I posted this article about the couple out of Carlsbad, CA that is suing their real estate agent for allegedly misleading them into paying more for their home than they believe they should have. Today, the Barry's over at Real Estate Radio USA ponder whether or not the real estate industry is already doomed and critically wounded due to consistent poor public image (Ranking last in "Prestigious Occupations Poll") and the 24/7 availability of real estate listing information.

But doesn't some of the responsibility lie with the consumer in choosing their respected Realtor? Aren't they interviewing them and asking them the pertinent questions like how much business they do yearly? What is their marketing strategy? Do they have a team or a full time staff? People don't ask these questions and most clients don't get the service they would get if they worked with a true professional. So instead of admitting they made a poor decision they sue or complain about how all Realtors are terrible. I posted this comment to them and I'm hoping I get a response.
I would also like to hear what you think about where the responsibility lies with the consumer and how they go about choosing their real estate professional. It’s unfortunate Realtors have such a bad wrap and I will not argue that there are MANY Realtors that deserve it. But isn’t the consumer the one who chooses the Realtor they want to work with? Just as the Barry’s choose their Realtors, consumers have the same choice and MOST get it wrong. They don’t work with the most business savvy or the one with the best sales record. They choose to work with their “cousin who sells real estate part time” or they use their “friend" who sells 2 homes a year. Shouldn’t the consumer take some of the blame for not doing their due diligence? I mean this lady allowed her agent to process her loan? I can give you hundreds of examples of people who list with agents that don’t even have email addresses much less know how to advertise a home on the internet using multiple pictures or a virtual tour. I would love to see someone confront those sellers and ask them why they chose the agent they did while bypassing the successful tech savvy one.

I have been passed up by potential clients for a myriad of reasons and in the same breath admit I am the more professional choice but yet, "I thought I would give my neighbor a try since she lives so close", or "This Realtor's office is closer to where I live than your office". Shouldn't they be saying, "The other Realtor has sold $10 million worth of real estate more than you in the last 12 months" or "The other Realtor has a better marketing strategy and a full time staff"? And how do I tell someone they're making the wrong decision without sounding like sour grapes? Help! Someone please enlighten me.

How To Sell Your House in Today's Market

I taught a class yesterday morning which prompted a nice little debate between a newer agent and myself. I was explaining the importance of pricing listings in today's market. My platform was basically if your home is not priced competitively in the beginning, which means sometimes pricing it lower than the competition to make it look attractive to buyers, then plan on being on the market a long time. She said she has a listing that is priced correctly but is still not selling. This listing has been reduced 3 times and has been on the market for over 6 months. She says that the home is priced right and is in line with the other homes currently on the market. I told her it's obvious the market is telling her the asking price is still too high. She responded with, "But the other other homes are priced just as high as well." My response, "And they're not selling either so you need to drop the price to where buyers will perceive your listing as valuable." This new agent asked if we are truly representing our clients' best interests if we recommend a "low price" just to get the home sold. That's a great point and here is my answer. If an agent does their research and can accurately communicate market stats with their client then a real asking price will present itself and that price might be lower than what they are wanting for the home. But remember the goal is the sell the home for the highest price in the quickest amount of time. For example, if there are 5 similar homes on the market priced from $230K to $265K and they are comparable to your home and you want to get $275K for yours what is your initial reaction? They have no chance. If it's priced any higher than $249,000 then that listing is probably going to be on the market for a while. This is the Realtor's job to explain to their clients this is not a time to test the market. Buyers are tentative to pay market value for a home much less overpay. And if a home has been on the market for 8 months vs. 30 days which home will probably get closer to their asking price? This is what Realtors need to be telling their sellers.

If a buyer does not see your asking price as a good value they will simply pass it buy without a second look. I don't care if you have the nicest updates in the neighborhood. If you are not priced correctly they will not "make an offer". This is the hardest thing for sellers to understand. They say to themselves, "Yeah I know we're priced a little high but we want some room for negotiations. Why don't they just make an offer?" I know this sounds familiar to many of you. So what's the answer? Why don't buyers just "make an offer"? The answer is because they are smarter than sellers give them credit for. They haven't just seen your home. They've probably seen 15 to 20 homes in your general area and your home is being judged just as harshly as the others. If most of the homes in your area are selling around $250,000 and you are priced at $275,000 or $299,000 then buyers see you as an unrealistic seller and why waste their time?

This article reiterates this new philosophy in pricing your home to maximize dollar value and minimize time on the market.
“I show them the neighborhood and we look at what other houses are for sale,” said Page, a Realtor for REMAX Property Source in Rockford. “Then we would sit down and look at the prices those homes are listed for and I’d tell them, ‘Yours has to be better.'...With so many houses on the market, you have to price it aggressively so that yours is the one that jumps out at them.”
So make sure your Realtor shows you in depth sales statistics for your neighborhood and also make sure you're not the highest priced house in the neighborhood unless you are willing to have your house on the market for the long term. But in the end you won't sell your home for what you might have sold it for had you priced it right in the beginning.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Another BIistering Asking Price in Highland Park

I guess I'm infatuated with ridiculously priced homes because I know I'll never be able to afford one. 4412 Lakeside Dr. just hit the market with a staggering $15 million price tag. What will that get you you're wondering? First, you'll have the privilege of living on one of my favorite streets in the country. You're facing Lakeside Park which is one of the most beautiful places you'll ever see on a Spring Day. You should see all the parents dragging their gussied up kids to this place come March and April not to mention the flurry wedding photos. Jerry Jones is within a stone's throw and Troy Aikman is a 5 minute jog away on Highland. But other than that the almost 10,000 square foot house was built in 1918 on a half acre and is was completely gutted from 2000 to 2003. The pictures look phenomenal and that wine room makes me wanna pop open a Pinot Noir just looking at it. And if $15 million is too steep for you why don't you scoot down the street and check out 4808 Lakeside Dr. Asking a paltry $10.9 million, this home has been lingering on the market almost 500 days after starting off at almost $12 million.

Pete Sampras is Selling His Pad

No it's not in Dallas but being the tennis fanatic that I am I had to share. Again, thanks to The Real Estalker, the $25 million English Manor in ultra posh Beverly Hills, CA will get you 6 bedrooms, a whopping 12 bathrooms and 10,000+ cozy square feet. And of course a North/South tennis court that looks pretty nice. I would love to know who he's swatted the ol' tennis ball with on that court. The pool is blah but the wood paneled entry more than makes up for it. Holler if you're in the market for a pad like this in Dallas. I'll see what I can do.

Generation "U"

You might have seen this article yesterday but there is a couple out of San Diego, CA suing their real estate agent because they feel they were misled and paid too much for their house. They got a couple flyers for 2 homes that sold just down the street from them for more than $100K less than what they paid for their home. So now they're suing.

Please note their Realtor was also their mortgage broker. Hello? Anyone NOT see a problem with that arrangement? I'm not saying he did anything wrong but if anyone's in a position to make sure an appraisal comes in higher than it needs to, it's your mortgage broker. Also, California is taking a huge hit and it's not uncommon for many people that bought a year ago to have negative equity.

I want to know whatever happened to "buyer beware" and doing your own due diligence in looking closely at the sales statistics? Surely they asked their Realtor to show them a CMA of the neighborhood. They should also still have a copy of it. If they can prove he left out lower sales then that should be pretty telling. If they blindly signed a contract without doing any of this then that's their own fault and now they are just bitter.

It started with someone suing McDonald's for having hot coffee and for being fat and now this? Generations X & Y are classified using age but I think the whole world is in Generation U. The unaccountable generation. We no longer take responsibility for our own actions or mistakes. No longer does the home owner have to claim a short sale loss on his or her income. Free get out of jail cards are given to stupid people across the nation so I guess we shouldn't be surprised.

And then there's this which is yet another example of how Generation U will go down in history and the stupidest and laziest generation, ever.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

What to Make of the Federal Reserve Rate Cut

The Federal Reserve cut its key overnight interest rate by three-quarters of a percentage point this morning in an effort to stave off fears over a potential U.S. economic recession. That sounds nice. But what does that mean for all of you?

First, please understand while it’s true the Feds cut the interest rate by ¾ of a point that doesn’t mean if rates were quoted at 6.00% yesterday they are 5.25% today. But it does allow mortgage rates to be a little more flexible which typically means mortgage rates will drop slightly – which they have. Yesterday’s mortgage rates were around 5.7% assuming you have decent credit and can put money down. This morning they are at 5.45%!

Second, since this was a surprise move by the Feds and they are scheduled to meet again in the near future to discuss yet another rate cut there is potential for mortgage rates to fall yet again.

Third, if you currently have an interest rate around 6.5% or higher and you plan on staying in your home another 3+ years you might want to look into refinancing. If you refinanced a $200,000 loan to 5.5% down from 6.5% you will save roughly $129/month on your mortgage payment.

Fourth, if you’re interested in refinancing or if you’re thinking about purchasing a home while the rates are so attractive you’re welcome to call me but I will most certainly end up telling you to call the following 2 mortgage experts that have helped many of my clients purchase first and second homes and refinance their homes as well. I wouldn’t be endorsing them in this email to you, the main source of my business, if I wasn’t confident in their abilities to take care of my clients. I can honestly say they are two of the most professional and knowledgeable people when it comes to real estate finance and I encourage you to use them as a valuable resource.

Chris Harris
Coldwell Banker Home Loans
214-521-0044 Work
214-770-2238 Cell


Jerrett Morris
Kanso-Morris, LLC
972-385-1300 Work
469-767-7670 Cell

Monday, January 21, 2008

Dallas Real Estate Blog Is Catching On!

I started this blog back in April of 2007 with nothing but a dream and high hopes of educating you, the precious reader, about all things involving Dallas real estate. Because lets face it. Most of you are clueless when it comes to how real estate changes hands. Mortgage lenders, buyer's agents, listing agents, selling agents, new construction, flippers, foreclosures, short sales, mortgage can be overwhelming. But have no fear because Jeff is here to quell your fears about the Dallas real estate market and help you sift through the scary newspaper headlines and statistics only to come out on top with a clear understanding and a realistic, if not positive, perspective about Dallas real estate.

I also started this blog because I have plenty of opinions, I think I'm right about everything and people really need to hear what I have to say because I'm awesome.

Either way, dear reader, DREB readership is growing and here are the stats.

April 2007 to December 2007 (9 months)

2,897 Page Loads
1,590 Unique Visitors
251 Return Visitors

The first 21 days in January 2008

1,577 Page Loads vs. 322/month in 2007
832 Unique Visitors vs. 177/month in 2007
152 Return Visitors vs. 28/month in 2007

And January isn't even over yet! Using my calculator that is like a 77,000,000,000% increase in readership.

So thank you for reading and keep coming back because I promise to keep the information fresh, useful and relevant. But I couldn't do it without you. So utilize the comments section, click on all those crazy buttons in the sidebar, email me your questions and let me know what you think about my posts good or bad. Tell me if you think I'm right, wrong or just plain dumb.

Truman Capote once said, “A conversation is a dialogue, not a monologue. That's why there are so few good conversations: due to scarcity, two intelligent talkers seldom meet.” If you don't want me to think you readers unintelligent then let me hear from you!

Short Sale Showdown: HOA vs. Condo Owners

This story is definitely a must read if you own a condo (and especially if you are falling behind on paying your HOA dues). Homeowners Associations for condos are cracking the whip on those residents who are in short sale situations - sales in which mortgage holders agree to take less than they are owed to avoid foreclosing on the property. This article gives us an example of the condo owner who thinks they've sold their condo and negotiated a short sale with their lender but is stopped dead in their tracks and the sale falls through because the HOA is demanding their full share or they will file a lien on the property. What buyer is going to buy a condo with a lein already on it? Zero. So we have a seller who obviously can't pay the dues and the lender certainly isn't going to since they are already taking a loss. So who pays the dues? Good question but let's look at who really has the most to lose.

The article makes a good point in saying if the dues are not collected they usually end up collecting the money from the other residents which increases their HOA dues. It's not fair but the money has to come from somewhere, right? But also keep in mind the HOA isn't just after the unpaid dues. Attorneys fees are now involved so the number just keeps growing. What a mess!

I think HOA's in general are a huge pain in the ass to deal with and I have plenty of stories to back that up. But I have to comment on this quote from an attorney who represents many HOA's.
"Realtors were making a ton of money," Meisner said. "Mortgage companies were making a ton of money. All of a sudden, because the cookie is crumbling, they expect the condo association to take a bath on it. I don't see any reason why they should."
What?!?!?! What does the Realtor have to do with a seller who isn't paying their HOA dues? The bank is the one who gave the seller the money so they might be partially to blame but they are also losing money on the deal so they're being punished. So why bring up the Realtor saying they expect the condo association to take a bath on it? The condo association assumes the risk of not being paid when it's formed! But I digress.

I'll stop bitching and get to the possible solutions. The HOA is holding out for 100% of what they are owed plus their attorney's fees which is a great way to end up with - you guessed it - nada, zip, zilch, NOTHING! The bank is willing to negotiate a loss but the HOA is not willing to forgive the unpaid dues so the bank ends up with a condo they don't want and the HOA gets no money for dues or their attorney's fees. You would think it would behoove the HOA to get involved with the negotiations and see if they can't get a little cash out of the deal whether from the buyer or the bank. But the sad truth is that they are willing to let the condo go into foreclosure and turn around and get the money - and the attorney's fees - from the other residents. You.

So beware if you're a resident in an association that's killing short sales because of uncollected HOA dues. You might be proud of your HOA for standing strong and demanding to be paid what they're owed. The truth is that there is no one to get the money from and if they allow the home to be foreclosed on, you, the responsible home owner, get screwed twice. You now have a foreclosure sale on the books which is most likely a lot less than what you paid for your condo and your HOA dues increase to make up for the loss. I live in a townhome community and you better believe I'll be all up in the HOA's business trying to see what we can do to avoid a foreclosure sale in my neighborhood. You should too. Otherwise you end up with a lose-lose.

Click My Technorati. You'll Digg It.

(I wish this was me!)

Back in the olden days of the internet people that liked a particular web page would simply "Add it to their Favorites". Now in the world of searching through millions of websited and blogs from social gossip to political rants there are ways to keep tabs on your favorite websites be they blogs or podcasts, etc.

You'll notice a new feature on my sidebar with different logos all smushed together. Those are all different ways to keep track of your favorite blogs (like mine!). Some people use (little black and blue square), a "social bookmarking website, which means it is designed to allow you to store and share bookmarks on the web, instead of inside your browser." Or maybe you use Furl.

How do people find blogs they like? They utilize Technorati which ranks blogs by how many people link to it but is mostly known for being a search engine specifically for blogs. Want to search for blogs about cooking? Technorati can help you get there and see which blogs bring in the most traffic and are mostly widely read. But most importantly you can become a "fan" of my blog by clicking on the Technorati link to the right (just to the left of the "12 blog reactions").
But let's not forget about Digg which is similar to Technorati. According to the website, "Digg is a place for people to discover and share content from anywhere on the web. From the biggest online destinations to the most obscure blog, Digg surfaces the best stuff as voted on by our users." So click on him as well to let the world know how awesome my blog is.

So if you can't tell already I'm absofrigginlutely in over my head with all of this business and I'm sure my laptop has about 50 viruses just from clicking around and trying to learn more about how to utilize all of this stuff. If anyone out there feels sorry for me and would be nice to enough to enlighten me I would greatly appreciate it.

$85 Million Home in Homby Hills, CA

I know it has nothing to do with Dallas real estate but you should know by now I'm fascinated by ridiculous price tags. This home is in Holmby Hills, CA which is some seriously prime real estate and is located on 7 acres. That alone leaves only the Oprah's, Bill Gates', hedge fund big wigs and middle eastern oil princes in terms of who can afford it. Thanks to The Real Estalker we know the now deceased owner was Henry Singleton, who was a co-founder of electronics company Teledyne.

Candy Evans over at D is sure to have some more words for Your Mama as she uses Dallas' name in vane yet again with this statement,
"Your Mama...would never want to live in a big ol' house that looks like a galleria mall in Dallas with a Tiananmen Square sized parking lot out front."
Git'er Candy!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Adriatica in McKinney Rethinks Real Estate

So a friend of mine (thanks Emily!) sent me an email about this new 44 acre mixed use development going on in the Stonebridge Ranch community in McKinney called Adriatica. After looking at what they are planning on accomplishing I have to say its pretty spectacular. The whole development, visualized and run but the Blackard Group, is based on a small harbor town in Croatia called Supetar. (Read all about the vision plan here) So what exactly are they including in this $250+ million mixed use adult playground? Well let's see.

Office and Retail Space – Business establishments throughout the development will meet special criteria that reflect the character and underscore the unique ambiance of Adriatica at Stonebridge Ranch.

Bell Tower – A 128-foot working bell tower modeled after a classic tower located near Supetar. The two bells will be custom ordered and forged in Croatia.

The Galleon
– A replica of the sailing ship "Dubrovnik" will be berthed in the harbor of Adriatica. Watch as it is built onsite.

Restaurants – Italian, Mexican, an Old World bakery, a deli, a pizzeria, and an English Pub are just a few of the venues planned for Adriatica.

- Adriatica will produce it's own wines from grapes grown on the property. The oak barrels will be stored in a cellar carved in the bedrock of Adriatica.

Lofts - 297 lofts located over the harbor restaurants, the retail shops and throughout the village.

The 74-Room "B" Hotel - Located within the Harbor District, a full service "Venetian Style" boutique hotel with banquet facilities, a conference room and meeting rooms, extending the village’s ambiance to short-term visitors and guests of Adriatica residents.

Virginia Parkway Businesses – Includes a coffee shop, wine bar, salon/spa, mortgage company, bank, doctors’ offices, and more.

Wedding Chapel
- Stone masons will construct this building on one of the two islands as if it has risen out of the water. Construction should begin in the late spring of 2007.

The Villas
– (2,000 sf starting in the high $400's) Designed with the look of an ancient village rising from the edge of the sea, 75 uniquely designed villas will range from $400,000 to more than $1,000,000.

“The Promise”
– A 16-foot tall 147 ton sculpture / fountain is being hand-carved on site by renowned artist Matthew Johnson representing Architectural Stone Company.

Their own winery, wedding chapel and harbor with a friggin' ship? This sounds pretty amazing and may make some people living South of LBJ think about trekking North. And based on their other high end developments (mainly in Frisco) that seem to be successful and doing well I don't see any reason why they can't pull this off. But since this is so big there will be no "mediocre" or "average" in terms of how it will be judged. It's either going to be phenomenal or a huge dissappointment. But as some athlete said somewhere at some point, "Go big or go home". Adriatica is certainly going big and I'll be keeping an eye on this one.

2007 Was 2nd Best Year EVER For Real Estate Sales

I just got this confirmation from Sue Meyer, President of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Dallas/Ft. Worth.

Yes, housing on a national basis is going through an adjustment, but just remember – Real Estate is Local, and locally, 2007 was our market’s SECOND BEST YEAR ever. The North Texas MLS finished the year around $17.4 billion in sales, slightly south of our best year in 2006 when NTREIS reported $18.2 billion in sales in our area.

You heard it here first.

DMN Giddy About DFW Real Estate 10 days After DMN Says DFW Real Estate is in the Tank

DMN and Steve Brown officially win the flip flop award and continue to show symptoms of a severe case of bipolar disorder with this article from last Friday. I'm just happy they consulted a resource that knows what they are talking about.

"Dallas-Fort Worth's housing market is the least likely of any in the country to see a decrease in home values, a new report confirms...Dallas and Fort Worth ranked dead last in PMI Group's latest forecast of cities with the biggest chance for a home price shakeout."
Those of you who read my blog know this isn't shocking news to me. The article goes on to say,

"Analysts with the California-based company estimate that Dallas-Fort Worth has less than a 1 percent chance of marked home price drops in the next two years."
Remember my post from last June? I sent out an email telling my clients and friends not to pay attention to the national statistics and the Dallas Morning News scare headlines. And finally this last excerpt from the article,

"It's quite likely Texas will be doing better than the national average for the foreseeable future."
Real estate in Texas appreciates at a slow and steady rate each year so we typically don't see unstable ups and downs. But I'm afraid the damage has already been done on consumer psychology. Recently on Dallas Dirt someone posted this saying 2008 will be a "reality check" for real estate in Dallas. But I can't blame them for thinking so negatively considering 10 days ago Steve Brown published this crap. And by the way, Steve's headline of sales being down 25% turned out to actually be 8%. That's quite a difference but once you put it out there for the public to see the damage has already been done, hasn't it?

$10.8 Million New Construction in UP

I drive by this house everyday since it's a block away from my office and I have to say it catches my eye every time. But almost $11 million dollars? Granted it's got 12,500 square feet on a 100x230 lot in the Volk Estates area but that puts this home at a staggering $866 per sf! However, that's not too far off from a recent sale on Turtle Creek that was also new construction. According to the description this home boasts 2 prep kitchens, a billiards room, a 2,300 bottle wine vault (is that different than a wine room?) and an outdoor living area with a pizza oven. Sounds pretty cool. But seriously. $10.8 million smackers? I'll make sure to take a look at this one and get back to you with a report.

Oh, here's a virtual tour for you serious real estate voyeurs. Gotta love the classical musin in the background. Totally worth an extra $1 million or so, right?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Wick Allison Puts Steve Brown on Front Street...

...and on Frontburner. For those not hip enough or cool enough to know what (or where?) "front street" is (or didn't grow up in South Dallas like I did), go here and get your read on and come back. LOVE. IT.

And at the risk of sounding like an immature child. Nyah - nyah - nyah - nyah - nyah - nyah. (Sticking tongue out)

University Park Makes Yet Another "Top" List

I'm pretty sure this list wasn't released back in August of 2007. (Whoops!) But in true Park Cities form University Park makes Forbes' list of America's Most Lucrative Cities where they picked the top neighborhoods from across the country whose median home sales prices has appreciated the most since 1990. UP's median home sales price, according to Forbes, was $672,573 in 2006 which puts their price growth at a whopping 253%. But it sure doesn't compare to the little piece of real estate at Riverside Drive And 149th Street in NY, NY which boasts a ho-hum (by New York standards) median sales price of $774,708. But price growth of 4,391%? Seriously? I bet they didn't check Volk Estates and streets like Vassar, Turtle Creek and Hunters Glen. (So the home on Hunters Glen didn't sell but a $17 million asking price is pretty impressive.)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

UPDATE: Phil Romano's House Off the Market

The MLS shows the home was taken off the market on January 8th. What gives? It was in the MLS for a whopping 34 days. Maybe the Romano's feelings were hurt because some people didn't care much for their taste in decor.

$1.5 Million Dollar Price Reduction

Remember my post about this $12 million home on Strait Lane that is virtually a deteriorating shell ? Well we know it went under contract and fell out of contract a week or so ago. Today they reduced the price to $10.5 million. That's a $1.5 million price reduction! But it needed to be done. I assume the home was under contract around this price or maybe closer to $11 million when the buyers got the home inspected and probably found a slew of maintenance issues. My guess is that when the buyers saw what needed to be done just to repair this monstrosity and they either couldn't agree on a repair allowance with the sellers or just didn't want the hassle of it anymore. The repairs I would guess were to the tune of $500,000 which would bring us to the new asking price of $10.5 million. But what do I know?

Top 25 Wealthiest Towns in America

Our very own Highland Park comes in at a very respectable 11th place on's 25 Top Earning Towns touting a median household income of $174,538 and a median home price of $1,603,608. "...well-heeled and well-educated Dallas suburb..." it says. I doubt anyone is going to argue with that. And I can't imagine the crazy cats at Frontburner are going to miss the opportunity to snarkily point out who came in at No. 25.

The Real Estalker Gets All Up In Mark Teixeira's Bizness

Your Mama, aka The Real Estalker, doesn't care too much for Texas decorating it seems (Phil Romano's house anyone?) but she actually doesn't have too many bad things to say about former Texas Ranger Mark Teixeira's decorating style other than he uses too many browns and beiges everywhere. She also had this to say,
"Your Mama thinks that Tex, Missus Tex, and their decorator have actually shown an admirable restraint on much of the interior spaces."
Check out her blog and then check out the MLS listing for this $5.75 million home.

Sidenote: I LOVE the covered patio.

Get Your Home Search On

Now you can search for homes on my blog by either going to or you can simply click on the picture of downtown Dallas I have provided to your right. Then let me know what you think of the search engine. Your feedback is welcomed and appreciated.


Monday, January 14, 2008

Seriously. Someone Buy Me! I'm a New Home in Lakewood

I've been on the market since August of 2005. Yeah. You read that right. I've been on the market roughly 2 years and 5 months. That's like 880 days if my math is correct. I started out asking $1,072,000 and now I'm down all the way to $939,000. Wow. Someone please buy me.

My notes: The builder is Spirit River custom homes which is owned by Michael Campbell (or at least partly owned by him I believe) who is a great guy and Realtor. He's actually a past president of our local real estate association so he knows how to sell real estate. I haven't seen the inside of this house but I'm getting quite curious as to what is scaring buyers so much from making offers. No matter what the issue is, the market is telling this house it's not worth the asking price. Sellers take note. This is one of the risks of overpricing in the beginning of a listing period.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Top 10 Highest Sales in North Texas for 2007

This is somewhat anti-climactic seeing as how 6 of the top ten sales were undisclosed. But their last asking prices combined for a total of almost $83 million which is impressive in and of itself. Five out of the 10 are located in Preston Hollow and 4 came from Park Cities. Take a look at some pictures of these manses here. I don't know much about any of the people who purchased these homes but I do know that the man who purchased the $22 million home on Vassar runs a hedge fund (natch) and he and his wife are in their early 40's. As for the other 9 luxury buyers I'm pretty much in the dark. Anyone?

I Receive Some Constructive Criticism

Alternate title, I Just Got Served? DREB reader and fellow Realtor, Lydia Player, gives me some feedback on my post critiquing Steve Brown's scare tactic real estate articles.

Never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel. Unless your name is Candy.
I agree. If anyone can go ink barrel for ink barrel with Steve it would be Candy. But it's just that 1. He never tells the whole story and chooses to arbitrarily use stats that suit his doom and gloom needs, and; 2. I've never been afraid of a little friendly banter. Especially when I'm right. But I'll play nice. Promise.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Atlanta Agent Quits Due to Bad Market...And She Sucks

Read here about an agent in Atlanta who just can't handle to strains of her current market. So I wrote a broker friend of mine in Atlanta asking him about the agent in the article. The article says
As for McMahon, the Atlanta agent, she still had a nice listing book and plenty of leads when she called it quits. In the end, unreliable buyers, surly sellers, and a lack of office camaraderie contributed to a decision that solidified when home sales and prices dipped. "I was waiting for a time to kind of swing out," she says. She's planning to become a high school science teacher.
My broker friend's response?
I looked her up in MLS - she's some ReMax agent who has closed 7 houses in 2 years (4 of which were new construction on the same street)... I'd quit too if I were her.
Hmmm. Doesn't sound to me like she had a "nice listing book and plenty of leads" with 7 sales over 2 years. I will be blogging soon about the abundance of Realtors just like this that in my opinion just get in the way of the good ones. They don't make $150,000 like they thought they would because hey, real estate is easy. Right? And then they disappear unnoticed in the middle of the night and return to their corporate jobs where they get their paychecks every 2 weeks. Good riddance I say.

Steve Brown Needs to Consult RECTAMU & NTREIS

Ok, the graphic is pretty harsh but Steve Brown just doesn't get it.
North Texas home sales plunged in December. The number of preowned homes sold fell by a quarter last month compared with December 2006, according to preliminary numbers released Monday. The median price of homes sold in the area also declined. "I would have expected sales to be off, but not by 25 percent," said David Brown, a housing analyst with Metrostudy Inc. "Wow! That's a big decline." Real estate agents sold 5,257 single-family homes last month, according to statistics from the North Texas Real Estate Information Systems and Texas A&M University. The drop in sales from last December is one of the largest recent declines on record. The number of pending sales was also down 21 percent. The median price of homes sold last month also fell 2 percent from a year ago to $143,190.
This article was written a few days ago and when reading it it's easy to think the sky is falling. I also cring to think that this is what is being told to the general public. But then that's what you get with Steve Brown. Stats without perspective and all doom and gloom. I'm wondering if he just can't decipher stats or if he's just too lazy to do so. With all that being said, I would like to direct him to some real statistics that have been compiled by the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University using our MLS statistics from the North Texas Real Estate Information Systems. Two entities that cannot be disputed. While December's number have not been officially released these numbers show that as of November, average North Texas single family sales prices have appreciated by 5%. Condos and townhomes by 11%. Feel free to peruse through the statistics if you want. These are real and for public use via MetroTex Association of Realtor's website. How Steve Brown uses them in his scare tactic newpaper articles is ridiculous and and juvenile. Seriously, what is hoping to achieve by writing this crap?

Bitter About Real Estate

My friend Lydia Player over at North Dallas Homes Blog sent me a link yesterday to a blog post on Real Estate Radio USA saying the National Association of Realtors (NAR) is virtually expecting 2008 not to bring any relief to the real estate woes of California, Florida, Vegas and all of the other hard hit cities across the country. (But not Dallas!) The blog authors are also real estate investors with a take no prisoners attitude that want to get the best deals possible. You get the idea from this excerpt.

If your client does not NEED to sell, take the house off the market. It will NEVER sell because the Seller does not and will not understand that his property value is about to s#&t the bed. If he is just seeing what he can get he is wasting the agent’s time and the prospective buyer’s time. Cancel the listing and tell him to batten down the hatches. He should be safe, we’re looking for roadkill!

This blog post caught the attention of NAR's attorneys but it doesn't look like these guys are backing down. I get it. They want to make sellers hurt when they buy their properties 30% below market value. But what is their issue with Realtors?
Using professional and real estate in the same sentence, as I just did, is an oxymoron. A true professional would be able to provide sincere credible advice on their product and most real estate agents simply can not.
They sound like scorned and bitter ex-husbands. Now I won't argue that some of it isn't warranted. There are many real estate agents that do not conduct their business professionally but I don't want to go there right now. (Another blog post maybe?) But there are quite a few Realtors in my market area that should take issue with the statement above. Feel free to leave comments on their website...and on mine.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

$16.5 Million Ocean Front Home Needs New Owner

This is my last Florida house post I promise. But I have always loved this house. When I found out it was for sale I had to cruise out in the ocean and snap a picture of it. Painful, I know. This home has about 16,000 sf for your feet to walk through and 180 feet of unobstructed ocean front views. This is about as good as it gets.
And if this doesn't float your boat the pink house next door is for sale at a much lower price of $14,990,000. What a bargain!

More House Shopping by Wave Runner...And Their Price Tags

I posted about this house a few days ago because I've always liked it. It's not for sale but the following homes in the same neighborhood are so I'm sure this would priced similarly. I took these pictures with my Blackberry while riding around on the waverunner and I think they turned out pretty good!

I'm thinking about getting my real estate license in Florida so I can go check these out!

Price Revealed

A few days ago I asked you to guess how much these sellers wanted for their home. Well they want a cool $2.5 million. Doh!

It's on about a 3rd of an acre with 120 feet of water (bay) frontage. The house is in "good condition" but would be a tear down in this neck of the woods. Any takers?