Thursday, March 27, 2008

$100,000 Price Reduction on Beverly Drive

Remember this little incident I caused over at Overheard? Apparently the ruckus even made its way on to a real estate blog in San Diego. To summarize, a FSBO at Beverly Dr. and Preston Rd. in Highland Park was asking $2,250,000. After 2 months and no sale they listed with an agent and increased the asking price by $200K to cover the commissions. I called shenanigans saying buyers would see right through their ruse. It stirred up some serious emotions to say the least.

Today the MLS shows the property reduced $100,000 off their original $2,495,000 asking price and it has been on the market for roughly 2 months. So they are now at $2,395,000 which is still $145,000 more than what they were asking during their FSBO days. It didn't sell then after 60 days on the market and now they have been on the market for 2 more ,months at a higher price and have just reduced $100,000.

Some of you might be waiting for the "I told you so" but it's not coming. All sellers in this market can learn from this example. In both good and bad markets, Dallas will never be a real estate market where you can test the buyers and hope a hedge fund daddy will simply pay you what you're asking, just 'cuz. Most buyers in the Park Cities are smart and their Realtors should be even smarter.

Now we'll just have to wait and see how my $1.9 to $2 million dollar sales price prediction holds up.

How Much Are Realtors Worth?

Many people don't want to pay the traditional 6% commission (3% to listing broker and 3% to selling broker) so they turn to discount brokerages in order to save a quick buck regardless of the service or competence of the agent they hire. But aren't some agents worth more than others?

If Ebby Halliday wanted to list your home, would you tell her she isn't worth 3% and ask her to reduce her commission? Would you tell Virginia Cook to take a hike because you would rather list your $1.5 million dollar home with a no-name, start up, discount real estate brokerage? Of course not.

If you list with a discount brokerage then you should expect discounted service. With all of the criticism surrounding Realtor commissions, how has no one come up with a commission structure that consumers are truly happy with after 106 years? The sad truth is that no one ever will because consumers will always be cheap and Realtors will always have a poor reputation.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Breaking News: Phil Romano Not Selling $17.5 Million Dollar Home Because of Me

Or so a mystery source told my office manager. My manager won't divulge the person's name but here's what they said. Doris Jacobs, the listing agent for Phil Romano's $17.5 million dollar abode on Strait Lane, is apparently upset with me because she says I am responsible for Mr. Romano pulling his house from the market a few months ago. While I appreciate the implication that my little blog weilds such power over the psyche of the restaurant mogul and recent house-flipper, I'm afraid that accusation is nothing short of absurd. Indulge me while I break it down for Mrs. Jacobs and the mystery source and set the record straight.

December 5th, 2007 - Romano home hits the MLS for $17.5 million.

December 30th, 2007 - The Real Estalker gives her opinion on the Phil Romano house decor. Let's just say it was none too flaterring.

January 2nd, 2008 @ 9:54am - Kristiana Heap over at Park Cities People's blog Overheard, picks up on the news from Real Estalker and brings it home to Dallas.

January 2nd, 2008 @ 11:46am - D Magazine's real estate blog, Dallas Dirt, catches wind and enters the fray via D's Adam McGill.

January 2nd, 2008 @ 10:15pm - Candy Evans posts some pretty personal information (rhymes with "Three Forks") from an anonymous "high profile real estate source" that says this is the reason the Romano's pulled their home from the market.

January 3rd, 2008 - Little ol' DREB posts what everyone above has already been blogging about.

January 8th, 2008 - The Romano's pull their listing from the MLS. Prompting a few blogs (inlcuding DREB) to discuss why they did so.

I hope this timeline of blog posts will clear things up for Doris and the mystery source who tattled on me to my office manager. Furthermore, I'm pretty sure the Romano's had their own reasons for pulling their $17.5 million home off the market after 34 days. Phil Romano has been ridiculed by the likes of D Magazine for years, and he's going to get his feelings hurt over my little blog regurgitating what other blogs have already discussed? That's giving me a little too much credit and the Romano's too little.

Genius Marketing or Just Juvenile? You be the Judge

I don't know Rogers Healy, who recently formed his own real estate company here in Dallas, so I don't want this post to be misconstrued as being critical of him. I came across this article in the SMU Daily Campus and it seems as though he is going after a particular niche market with a certain amount of, well, arrogance. I'm struggling as to whether it's brilliant or not. Here are some of the rather self-aggrandizing statements from the article. You be the judge.
"...we're not your mom's best friend," Healy said. "We're young people who are good looking and aggressive, and that opens doors."
Is this alienating the baby boomer generation? The girls are cute but the dudes need to kick it up a notch, ifyaknowwhatimean.

"Every person on Healy's wall of fame has a connection to Healy, including best friend Tony Romo. The two were introduced through a mutual friend."
Really? Best friends with Tony Romo? I thought that was Jason Witten. I guess I must have missed him in that photo in Cabo.
"Healy gets more than 400 calls a day on his cell phone. He keeps it constantly plugged into a charger to manage all of the calls."
Really? 400 calls a day? Does Donald Trump even get 400 calls a day?
"With the office fridge stocked with beer and a staff made up of an ex-college cheerleader, a Maxim magazine model, a reality TV star and a few frat boys, it is no surprise that Healy is the buzz around town."
But you're professionals, right? And the kicker,
"Healy was busy last fall switching careers from realtor to matchmaker, successfully creating Hollywood's 'it-couple' when he introduced Jessica Simpson and Tony Romo."
Really? Seriously? He's taking credit for introducing Romo and Simpson? I obviously can't refute any of these claims but like I said before, maybe this is brilliant marketing to a niche not yet served in our real estate market.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Buyers Are Buying. Wanna Know Why?

The reason according to Blanche Evans of Realty Times is simple.

"Consider that home prices [across the country] in February 2007 were $213,500 and interest rates for the month averaged nearly 6.5 percent. In 2008, prices are $195,000 and interest rates averaged 5.9 percent.

So it shouldn't be surprising that housing inventories have dieted down to a 9.6-month supply from over 10-months on hand in January."

Make perfect sense to me. Mortgage rates are low, low, low and there's plenty of inventory to choose from. I also think seller's are beginning to get a little more realistic with their asking prices. These are all ingredients for a market upswing.

My 1 Minute of Fame Discussing the Increase in Home Sales

I can't seem to figure out how to imbed the video directly into my blog. Ugh! So here is the link to view my take on the recent good news for real estate across the country. Enjoy!

Thanks to CW33 for sharing the good news and adding a healthy perspective.

Are Jessica Simpson and Tony Romo Going Country?

I have absolutely no idea. I'm simply passing on gossip and rumor from the Real Estalker who has it from the Nashville Post that Miss Romo just plunked down almost $3.5 million big ones on an 11,000 square foot bachelorette (?) pad.

Yes it's true that Miss Romo is getting less and less relevant with each passing day, but she certainly knows how to pick real estate - and men.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Attention Investors: Florida Mega-Mansions Hit Auction Block

"These luxury homes were languishing on the market, or in builder inventories, as Florida real estate imploded. Now Sotheby's is hoping to auction them off at an event on March 28. The owners no doubt have their fingers crossed."

If You Had $45 Million+ to Spend on a Home

Which of the following 2 homes would you buy? Let's see,

La Reve in Cumming, GA for a cool $45 million.


Champ d'Or in Corinth, TX for a few more bucks at $72 million?

Hmm. That's a toughy.

Friday, March 21, 2008

How Do You Search for Homes?

Surveys offers insight into how the general public feel and think about certain topics. Many people are saying newspaper ads are dead and more and more people are turning to Craiglist, Realtor. com and other websites to advertise or search for real estate listings. If you are a buyer or simply love looking at homes online, how do you primarily do your searching?

Dirk's Rumored New Digs Gets Ripped From the MLS

Candy Evans over at Dallas Dirt broke the news about Mr. Nowitzky possibly snatching up a fancy shmancy new home on prestigious Strait Lane. Two days ago it showed up as "Sold" in the MLS and as of yesterday the listing has been "Cancelled/Withdrawn".

This is an old school way for agents to pull their listings out of the MLS so no one can see what they sold for. But why wouldn't they just not disclose the sales price? Agents can have their clients sign a non-disclosure form and the price will be "Z'd out". Why the secrecy?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

My Prediction for Dallas Real Estate in 2008 and Beyond

Dallas ain't San Diego (pictured), thankyouverymuch. And that's just how we want to keep it. Wells Fargo economist, Scott Anderson, has said that Southern California home prices will decline over 10 percent in 2008, and additional half a percent in 2009, where he too believes the market will bottom. Not only that but an economist at Beacon Economist in Los Angeles feels that real estate prices in San Diego and Southern California will continue to decline through 2009 and will not show significant improvement until 2012.

2012? Ouch! My 2008 prediction for Dallas is there will be less sales this year but prices will remain flat (up or down 1% in Dallas), similar to 2007. In 2009 we will see a 2% or 3% increase in appreciation and the number of sales will increase slightly over 2008 numbers. And those that were walking away from their negative equity in '06, '07 and '08 will be itching to get back into the real estate market in 2010, 2011 & 2012.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Not to get all HGTV on your asses, but...

I totally giggled when I read this line from my "gal" the Real Estalker. She just gave me a fun, unoriginal and childish phrase that I am totally going to steal and over use.

Acclaimed "30 Under 30" Realtor Faces Mortgage Fraud Charges

Realtor Magazine releases it's choices for the best 30 Realtors under 30 each year. So says the home page,
"These bright young professionals, chosen from more than 600 applicants, showed they have what it takes to open doors in any market."
And from the sounds of it Eve Mazzarella (pictured) of Las Vegas was opening plenty of doors for people. But it's just that she may have been making millions doing so fraudulently, according to the Feds. Among the allegations,

The government alleges Mazzarella and Grimm bought more than 200 properties at inflated values using limited liability companies and more than 400 straw buyers to make purchase offers.

The couple allegedly controlled transactions worth more than $100 million."

Geez. No wonder she made the list. And no wonder Realtors have such a bad rep.

What's Cool for Pools?

Dena Kouremetis with Realty Times tell us. Here's a sneak peek.
According to pool builders, beach entries, fire features, water fountains, infinity edges and saltwater pools are all the rage.
One thing they left out was size. I have found that today's consumer wants a smaller pool because they still want to have grassy areas in their backyard, especially if they have children and a playset. In my experience, when buyers in Dallas see an older pool needing work it is a sure bet they will bypass that house simply because of the pool. Hint: If you have an older pool that needs a complete overhaul, you might want to consider filling it in as opposed to renovating it. If a buyer really wants a pool they can build their own. And a nice green backyard can be a perfect blank slate.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Are There Too Many Realtors? Part II

Is this your Realtor?

Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist, gives us some great news. The number of Realtors is finally going down instead of rising exponentially as it has over the past 6 years or so. He leads the article with a candid, refreshing and honest,
"NAR membership figures have finally begun to fall. Whew!!!"
Then comes Jessica Swesey of Inman News Blog as she shares her thoughts about the matter. She mentions the obvious,
"And NAR definitely benefits from having more agents. More agents = more members = more dues = more powerful trade group. NAR's swelling membership of recent years certainly has helped the group maintain one of the largest political contributions in the country and the political clout that goes along with that." Sound familiar?
She touches on the fact that older agents who are not very tech savvy are deemed less than capable by their younger clientele who, more than likely, utilize technology in their every day life. And I'm not just talking about Gen X & Y. I learned about Firefox and all sorts of other techy stuff from a past client and mother of 4 college kiddos. (Thanks Sue!) Am I telling older agents that don't have email addresses to get out of the business? No. I'm also including the 70% of Realtors that only make $1,000/month selling real estate.

Who wants to go to a "professional" that only works 4 or 5 weeks out of the year only selling 3 or 4 homes in a year? Who wants to work with an agent that doesn't know how to log onto the internet and thinks a Treo should be dipped in milk and has cream filling? Apparently many consumers are ok with the agents I just described. Lydia Player does a good job of exposing this type of incompetence. Someone please tell me why someone would be ok with this type of agent?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Neighborhood Stabilization Overlay = "I Hate You and Your House"

This has to be my favorite blog picture. And so very apropos for this article in DMN which just adds to the tension being built up in parts of East Dallas. (Is East Dallas really this bitchy?) It's no secret the residents here - yes, I live in Lakewood - have been dividing neighborhoods for years regarding tear downs and McMansions. But guess who's been doing the dividing? It's not the people tearing down homes and bringing higher income families to East Dallas schools. Have you ever seen or heard someone saying, "Screw you and your old home! I'm going to tear this bitch down and build the biggest and gaudiest house I possibly can just to piss you off. And I'm going to spend $700K doing it! So there!". I didn't think so.

If your 2 bedroom, 1 bath home is really that cute then someone will buy it and live in it. So until then, East Dallas, the Park Cities and Preston Hollow will continue to "one up" you when it comes to real estate values, Whole Foods, retail, restaurants, schools...get the picture?

Wikipedia says, "Cutting off the nose to spite the face is an expression used to describe a needlessly self-destructive overreaction to a problem." It's called change. Deal with it.

Top 10 Things That Will Sell Your Home in Today's Market

1. Price your home competitively.

2. Get an inspection before you put your home on the market.

3. Make repairs that show up on the inspection report.

4. Put oversized, ugly and unnecessary furniture in storage.

5. Landscape your front and back yard. This is the number one money maker and is the most ignored.

6. Paint over your Trading Spaces purple faux paint job, circa 1999.

7. Hire a Realtor that knows what the hell they're doing. Ask how many homes they have sold in the last 12 months, average days on market, average list to sales price ratio, what is their marketing strategy? If they can't answer any of these then you need to call me ASAP.

8. Hire a Realtor that knows how to exploit the internet when exposing your home to internet buyers and also knows how to capture those leads so they can follow up. During the interview, ask the Realtor if their listings will show up on other real estate company websites. If they don't know the answer then you need to call me ASAP.

9. Did I mention pricing your home competitively?

10. Hire Jeff Duffey. Yeah. I said it. There's not enough shameless promotion on my blog.

Who is "LANC"?

I received the following comment from a concerned Dallas resident (I assume),
"Anyone with a genuine interest inseeing the LANC area improve should question the intent of Mr. Allegro.He is at best a gadfly and at worstan accomplished purveyor of half truths and self serving inuendo.He would be comic if he were not so ill intended.He represents himself as a major real estate investor while the actuality seems to be that he tends to a family trust. If he seeks to insinuate himself into your group please be cautious. Yourfuture is worth the time it takes to investigate this man."
And then I read the following comment on Trey Garrison's post about the halted Fairfield Residential Development Plan,
"How did the opposition group to this development (the Lovers Amesbury Neighborhood Coalition) manage to leverage so much power? The two ring-leaders (Norma Minnis and John Allegro) live on the far side of White Rock Lake… 4 TO 6 MILES AWAY from the proposed development. What dog do they have in this hunt and why does Angela Hunt even bother giving them the time of day?

One thing that I’m really starting to get tired of is these fake, astro-turf “Neighborhood” action committees that, more often than not, are actually something else entirely. If organizations like the LANC have legitimate concerns, why do they have to masquerade as something they are not?"

I know Norma Minnis personally and plan on asking her about this. And I assume John Allegro is the East Dallas Realtor whose office is right behind Cantina Laredo off Abrams. I know his wife Mary so I eventually plan on discussing this matter with her as well. My concern is that Norma Minnis (I can't speak about John personally since I've never met him) is a great person and as far as I can tell a well respected person in the real estate industry. But I'm not sure she and one other local Realtor weilds this much power. I can see how someone like Neil Emmons would be able to sway Angela Hunt's vote seeing as he is the first line of defense on the City Planning and Zoning committee. But to give an organization like LANC so much power seems that we might be overlooking the true source that is halting development in East Dallas.

If LANC truly holds this much power then they owe East Dallas a HUGE explanation for their actions. And while I appreciate folks calling people to the carpet, I can help but feel like I'm missing something here.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Fun New Buttons for Your Mouses, Mice and Meeces

Avert your eyes from the Pussycat Dolls and pay attention to the cool new buttons I spent WAY too much time creating for you, dear readers, and your real estate enjoyment. Now click on 'em.

When Did a House Stop Becoming a Home?

I've said it before and I'll say it again, if sellers are expecting to make tons of cash selling their homes after living in them for 1 or 2 years, they are simply being unrealistic and, frankly, stupid. Blanche Evans of Realty Times gives us her take on today's consumer,

"Today's homebuyer thinks a home is only an investment. The NASDAQ has never recovered to its 2000 highs because people want the big return on their investment. They could likely look at housing the same way - not interested if it only returns two percent a year. Never mind that two percent a year is the historical norm. They want more."
How did we get to this point? When did homeowners start feeling entitled to lots of money from the sale of their home simply because they purchased it and made no improvements to it while they lived there? How did we go from pride of home ownership and being ecstatic that we were finally able to "realize the American Dream" to a competition of "How much equity were you able to squeeze out of your house?". I'm sure this mindset might have something to do with this.

Is There Such a Thing as Too Much House?

Certainly not in Texas. I mean c'mon. But in Boca Raton, FL a hot off the presses millionaire, who raked in his cash using the ever popular get-rich-quick formula of man forms company, company does ridiculously well, corporation offers zillions to buy it, man lives happily ever after swimming in his riches (Right Larry Lacerte?), built a lavish estate fit for a king and days after moving into the 23,000 square foot behemoth they put the home on the market for a blistering $24.9 million. According to the Wall Street Journal article,

"The 23,000 square-foot mansion is done in French-Country-Manor-style (this being the Florida beach), with four kinds of rare onyx in the bedroom, music piped underwater in the resort-style pool, a computerized television system holding 850 movies and hand-shaved walnut floors. The doorknobs and hinges alone cost $160,000.

Yet when Dru and his wife and kids moved in, they discovered a problem. It was too big. So days after moving in, they put it on the market.

"They’re from the Midwest,” Gerard Liguori, the home’s broker, told [WSJ]. “When they moved it they felt it was just too large for what they were comfortable with."

Amateurs. I'm sure here in Dallas we would shame them back to where they came from. We can't seem to get enough house around here. But I have a feeling they put the home on the market because they spent too much money on the underwater speaker system in the pool. It wasn't too long ago a "little" home on Strait Lane had 2 separate owners that spent beyond their means and had to sell before they ever saw their dream home realized.

Thanks to Cooper Smith for the linkage.

Collin County Sales Stats

Collin County Sales Stats

January 1st, 2007 to March 10th, 2007

Sold: 1,997
Avg. DOM: 73
Avg. SF: 2,593
Avg. Sales Price: $237,701
Total Volume: $474,688,596

January 1st, 2008 to March 10th, 2008
(% Change)

Sold: 1,466 (-27%)
Avg. DOM: 89 (+18%)
Avg. SF: 2,660 (+3%)
Avg. Sales Price: $239,693 (+1%)
Total Volume: $351,390,193 ( -26%) *Many sales are not reported until months after they take place so this number will most likely increase over time.

All the talk about foreclosures in Collin County doesn't seem to have affected prices seeing as they posted a 1% increase over this time last year. Number of sales seems to have been affected the most in both Collin and Dallas counties.

Is this due to buyer psyche? There's more inventory on the market but less sales which means buyers aren't buying for some reason. I explained why back in December. This seems to still be the case. Basically, there's lots of ugly and overpriced homes on the market and buyer's arent' stupid. Reduce or clean up and fix your house. Otherwise, sit tight.

Dallas County Sales Stats

Dallas County Sales Stats

January 1st, 2007 to March 10th, 2007

Sold: 3,789
Avg. DOM: 75
Avg. SF: 2,011
Avg. Sales Price: $208,099
Total Volume: $788,485,505

January 1st, 2008 to March 10th, 2008
(% Change)

Sold: 2,863 (-25%)
Avg. DOM: 85 (+12%)
Avg. SF: 1,984 (-1.5%)
Avg. Sales Price: $194,344 (-7%)
Total Volume: $556,407,923 ( -30%) *Many sales are not reported until months after they take place so this number will most likely increase over time.

I wish I had better numbers to report. But what does this mean for you? Nothing until you look at your specific neighborhood sales stats. Many older and established neighborhoods near downtown Dallas are experiencing price increases while many newer developments in the outlying areas within Dallas county are experiencing losses. Talk to your neighborhood Realtor before you go spreading that doom and gloom gossip.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Best Idea Ever That Will Never Happen

Blanche Evans over at Realty Times continues to impress me with her ability to think outside the box. Add to that her ability to think practically and logically and you have a recipe for genius ideas like the one she offers in this article. The takeaway for those too lazy to read the whole article?

"Services, as a percentage of personal consumption, have grown exponentially. Think cell phones, cable TV, and the Internet. In 1929, services were $30.5 billion, or 29 percent of personal consumption. In 2007, services were a whopping 60 percent of personal consumption.

So here's my plan for avoiding the recession and getting housing back on track. Instead of an economic stimulus package, make the cell phone and cable companies give consumers rebates and better rates on our phone and TV services."

This hits a little close to home for me. Before I got into real estate I was getting my masters in Kinesiology and making about $15,000 a year student teaching, coaching tennis and teaching private lessons on the side. And that's being a little optimistic. But my bills and rent were always paid on time and I was content with my Ramen noodles and Hamburger Helper. When I experienced a little success in real estate I moved up to a more expensive apartment, got the HBO and Showtime package, wireless internet and upgraded from Ramen to chinese takeout. Then came a new car, house, maids, more bills, dry cleaning, fancier dinners. You get the idea. Mo' Money, Mo' Problems.

Today's consumer can easily and quickly become immersed in a never ending sea of bills that are the services Blanche speaks to in this article. What good is a $300 stimulus check from the government going to do for someone whose electricity bill is $350 a month? What about the person who is paying $500 a month in credit card bills with 28% interest rates? Blanche is so right on with this idea. It's just too bad it will never become a reality.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Financial planners agree that houses will continue to be a poor investment

This headline was a quote from Kiplinger's Personal Financial Magazine in 1993. Terry Forsberg, a Realtor in Scottsdale, Arizona, compiled many quotes like this one in order to fight back against the newspaper and magazine scare headlines predicting the virtual demise of real estate across the country. I've copied his email below. This is a great dose of reality to those that are buying in to the negative hype. Take a look at how much homes have appreciated since 1996 across the country and tell me with a straight face that real estate is a poor investment. America's short sightedness is rampant and only the truly intelligent and edcuated people that have a sense of perspective about how real estate appreciates will come out on top. Will you be one of those people?

The Media’s Attack on the Real Estate Industry

The Media’s attack on the real estate industry is nothing new. For decades they have practiced doom and gloom tactics and in some cases have actually caused real estate prices to decline short term. The good news however, is each and every short term decline has been temporary and has been followed by long term price appreciation.

Today we are in the middle of a window of opportunity to purchase attractive real estate at the best prices we may see in our lifetime and to receive “incentives” on our purchases on top of it! The incentives, which are being offered by builders and developers, will not last any longer than they need to. Once the market begins showing signs of a rebound, these incentives will dry up.

Sit back and enjoy some of these dire media projections from yesteryear and allow them to mirror the wide variety of “fear factor” type “media” comments that exist today.

"The prices of houses seem to have reached a plateau, and there is reasonable expectancy that prices will decline." - Time Magazine, 1947

"Houses cost too much for the mass market. Today's average price is around $8,000 - out of the reach for two-thirds of all buyers." - Science Digest, 1948

"The goal of owning a home seems to be getting beyond the reach of more and more Americans. The typical new house today costs about $28,000." - Business Week, 1969

"You might well be suspicious of 'common wisdom' that tells you, 'Don't wait, buy now… continuing inflation will force home prices and rents higher and higher.'" - NEA Journal, 1970

"The median price of a home today is approaching $50,000… Housing experts predict price rises in the future won't be that great.”- Nations Business, 1977

"The era of easy profits in real estate may be drawing to a close." - Money Magazine, 1981

"The golden-age of risk-free run-ups in home prices is gone." - Money Magazine, 1985

"Most economists agree…. [a home] will become little more than a roof and a tax deduction, certainly not the lucrative investment it was through much of the 1980's." - Money Magazine, 1986

"Financial planners agree that houses will continue to be a poor investment."- Kiplinger's Personal Financial Magazine, 1993

"A home is where the bad investment is." - San Francisco Examiner, 1996

"Home prices experience historic drop." - CNN, 2007

Each and every negative prediction by the Media was short-lived. At the time such predictions made it appeared real estate would never go up again in value - similar to the way it feels for many now. The good news is found in the few lines below. This time is no different than times past! FACT: National real estate values have appreciated

• 88% since 1996
• 340% since 1977
• 685% since 1969
• 2650% since 1948

Best Regards,


This House is Like a Door Knob...

...everyone's had a turn. Or, "this house has been around the block". Anyone? Anyone? No? Okay. I thought it was funny. Anwyay, check out this home's listing history affectionately known as Sonnyland in Frisco. If you read D Magazine or D Home then you've surely seen their ad over the last 4 years. You haven't seen a colorful listing history until you've seen this one. Where to begin, how about 2004?

Keller Williams for 71 days
Listed 5/04 at $4,150,000
Expired 8/04 at $3,995,000

Hoffman International for a hair raising 612 days
Listed 8/04 at $4,200,000
Expired 4/06 at $3,600,000

Ebby Halliday for 232 days
Listed 5/06 at $2,995,000
Expired 12/06 at $3,495,000 (Raising the price $1.5 million. Really?)

Took a break from MLS from 1/07 to 6/07

Sharif Munir for 226 days (What's up with listing with Sharif Munir? Interesting choice)
Listed 6/07 at $3,375,000
Expired 1/08 at $3,400,000 (What's the $25K increase in price for?)

Sharif Munir - again - for 42 days
Listed 1/08 at $2,600,000
Expired 3/08 at $2,600,000

Whew! My head is spinning. Having started off asking $4.2 million and last listed at $2.6 million, if you add up all the days this house has been in the MLS it equates to a heart stopping 1,183 days! That has to be the longest listing history in the history of foreverness. Not sure why, but it reminds me of this.

Ever Wonder Where Billionaires Live? Check it out.

George Lucas' crib in Cali.

This is where Oprah Winfrey hangs out. Also in Cali.

I love the fact that Warren Buffet still lives in the home he bought in 1958 for $31,500. See the rest here.

HOA's and Politics

While walking the dog this morning in my lovely little townhome community I saw this sign in a window. I remember back when the mayoral race was going on and someone put an Ed Oakley sign in their "front yard" - which is really community property -and the HOA made them remove it. You also can't have For Sale signs in your windows or anywhere on the property. I personally could care less if people wanted to put political signs in their windows but I'm sure it's a matter of time before the HOA tells them to remove it. But should they have to? Is this really a matter of maintaining property values? I've always heard that the more an entity tells you what you can and can't do to your property, the less valuable it really is.

This Marriage Ain't Long for this World

I've talked about Irvine Housing Blog before, a blog devoted to encourage people to rent instead of buy due to Irvine, CA's terrible real estate market. Or as the blog author puts it, "Chronicling ‘the seventh circle of real estate hell’ since September 2006". Today he posted a poll where you could vote on how long you could stand being "upside down" on your mortgage. (You owe more on your mortgage than your home is worth). Most people have said they wouldn't stand for it for even a minute. Just walk away and throw your keys to the lender, baby! Nice attitude. Or you could just stay in your damn home until things turn around. But I digress, this comment from a reader is what really caught my attention,

"I got aways to go yet. We bought our “McMansion” in 2001 and the price skyrocketed to almost double. I tried to talk my wife into selling and moving to a local rented apartment or townhouse (daughter in public HS) about a year/year and a half ago (when things were still hot to sell) but she wouldn’t hear of it. We could have walked away with $300K in profit (after fees) and, while the prices have not dropped here in MD like they have in CA, I fully expect that, when my daughter has finally graduated in mid-2009 and I finally talk my wife into selling (prolly 2010), we will only be able to sell for a modest increase over our cost of purchase, if that.

My wife is a Pollyanna. She still thinks things won’t get that bad here. So far the local comps are about 10% off their highs of 12 months ago and sales have slowed. My only consolation is I will have an “I told you so” to hang over her head."

Um. Wow. Can you imagine what this guy's wife would say if she knew he felt this way? Ouch.

You Be The Judge

I almost didn't post this because I don't want this agent to think I am picking on him. He's an incredibly successful agent and works with many professional athletes including Nolan Ryan and his family. So he knows what he's doing when it comes to selling high end real estate. But check out these pictures for his listing on Beverly Drive.

Front. Nice picture. No complaints here.

I'm pretty sure the kitchen is a little bigger than this. But from the picture you'll never know. Also looks dark.

Living room looks small because of the angle. Again, I'm sure it's not but pictures are all that people are looking at while online.

I'm not sure what this room is. Sitting room? Library? Whatever room it is it looks too dark.

Picture of a bed. Can't see the flooring and looks like a typical $150,000 home in Garland. This home is on Beverly Dr. people!

I'm really not sure what's going on with this angle. Is their headboard that ugly? I assume this is the master bedroom but you don't get the sense it's all that big in this picture. Do you?

Odd angle and again just doesn't do the space justice.

Seriously? You can't move a few things off the desk before snapping this shot? I have moved sofas, tables and beds in order to get the perfect picture. I don't think I'm being too picky here.

Gives a whole new meaning to the term "postage stamp yard". The lot is small (70x145) so I guess this is all you're going to get anyway. Not sure I would post this pic seeing as how buyers love them some backyard space.

My point in posting this particular listing is if you only had these pictures to look at (excluding the front picture and didn't know it was on Beverly Dr.) would you really think the asking price of this home is $3.4 million dollars and the home has over 7,100 sf? My clients call me hours after listing their home already telling me they want me to retake pictures of their guest rooms or living rooms because they don't care for the picture I took. And I'm completely fine with that because my goal is to make sure they are happy and content. But to be honest it doesn't happen often because I'm an awesome picture taker-er. Yet this seller is content with these pictures? Am I being too picky here? Compare with this picture and let me know which one you would prefer.

High End House Porn for Your Eyes and Watch Calculators

(Take note folks. This is an example of a GREAT real estate picture. 3507 Crescent Ave. if you really want to know.)

Currently there are 50 homes available for sale in the Park Cities and vicinity over $3 million dollars. What I find interesting is that 22 of these homes were listed between January 1st of this year to today. (Some might have been relisted but I did my best to weed those out)

Now for the math part. In 2007, 43 homes sold over $3 million dollars in the Park Cities and vicinity. That's roughly 3.5 homes each month. If that rate stays consistent for 2008 there are 14 months worth of inventory on the market. That's not too bad for such a high end price range considering there are some areas in Preston Hollow that have 20 months worth of inventory sitting on the market between $1 million and $2 million.

Gives a New Meaning to "House Porn"

Old news but still gross. I doubt this is what Candy over at Dallas Dirt had in mind.

Yet Another Reason Realtors Have a Bad Reputation

This is an absolutely awful story about a real estate agent with Remax out of Milwaukee who conspired with her seller not to sell or show the home to a buyer because she is African-American. The Department of Justice handed down a $35,000 fine to both seller and her broker but chose to allow the agent to continue selling real estate in her market.

Author, Blanche Evans, brings up a good point. What the hell does a Realtor have to do to lose their license? If a Realtor learns one thing in real estate class I can attest to the fact they will leave understanding the concept of Fair Housing Laws quite well. It should be a no brainer that this agent never handle another real estate transaction for the rest of her life. So how does something like this happen?

Texas Housing Still Looking Strong

While the number of sales may be down (sorry) in some areas and some publications love to jump all over that and scare the heck out of our local buyers, Real Estate Center Chief Economist Dr. Mark Dotzour noted in a recent speech in Washington, D.C.
"...home prices are still increasing in most Texas metro areas, foreclosure rates are much lower than the national trends, and the inventory of unsold homes in Texas is currently at 5.7 months, well below the national average of 10.1 months. However...the most recent numbers from the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight show the rate of price increases in most Texas metros to be getting smaller."
We should be boasting these stats and screaming our good fortune from the roof tops. But for some reason it's just never caught on. Our perspective is so skewed at this point I'm not sure what it will take to get this message across to our local market. Make some random phone calls to Irvine, CA sellers and tell them about your poor 5.7 months of inventory and your teeny price increases and they'll probably hang up on you thinking about their 24 months worth of inventory with price declines in the double digit percentages. Being ungrateful for our good fortune is SO Dallas.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

My Bad. Revised Park Cities Sales Stats

Turns out I didn't look very closely at the closing dates of the properties. Big thanks to Britt Fair for noticing there was not 1 closing in February on the CMA even though you can see I included the month of February in the search criteria up top. I just got off the phone with our MLS folks and apparently the term we use when you search for homes in Highland Park ISD was changed (there are 3 Highland Park ISD search terms in our MLS for some reason) which is why no closings showed up for the month of February. Completely my fault. Isn't technology fun? If I worked for a news station I would totally be fired. So here are the real 2008 sales stats. Lakewood and Preston Hollow stats were not affected.

Number of homes sold: 44 (60)
Avg. price/sf: $365.71 ($363.07)
Avg. sales price: $1,487,885 ($1,594,985)
Avg. days on market: 117 (75)

*2007 statistics for same time period in ( )

So that is only a 27% drop in number of homes sold and a 7% drop in price.

Monday, March 3, 2008

RE: Want More Sales Stats?

Thanks to some sweet props from Unfair Park and Park Cities People I've received quite a few requests for sales stats in different areas. If you haven't already, please email your requests directly to me at It might take me a day or so but I will definitely get back to you. Due to the number of requests I won't be posting all of the results I find, that is, unless there is something notable to share about a particular area's sales. And I promise your emails will not go unanswered.

Five Hard Truths Every Seller Needs to Hear

Pay close attention to #1, #2 and #4. Thanks to Barry Cunningham of Real Estate Radio USA for telling it like it is.

Want More Sales Stats?

Let me know what neighborhood you want me to look at and I'll see what I can do.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

M-Streets & Lakewood Sales Stats Year-to-Date

Area 12, aka East Dallas, encompasses WAY too much area in my opinion. Search for homes in zip codes 75214 and 75206 and just see how many homes come up. Anyway, M-Streets and Lakewood are also affectionately known to Realtors as Area 12, Sub-areas 6 & 7, respectively. Think areas roughly South of Mockingbird and North of Gaston; East of 75 and West of White Rock Lake. Enough of that, here's what I found out.

Number of homes sold: 66 (94)
Avg. price/sf: $178.53 ($175.57)
Avg. sales price: $416,985 ($393,812)
Avg. days on market: 80 (74)

*2007 statistics for same time period in ( )

Apparently South of LBJ is showing similar not-so-hot results when it comes to number of homes sold over the same time period compared to one year ago. East Dallas posted a 30% drop in number of homes sold but, just like Preston Hollow, boasts a higher average sales price with a 6% increase. Check out all the fun 2007 and 2008 numbers for yourself.

Preston Hollow Sales Stats Year-to-Date

Area 11 or "Preston Hollow" boundaries for real estate purposes are very broad and I realize that. So don't go telling me how the REAL Preston Hollow does not include Strait Lane. Just so you know, Area 11 is defined by the areas North of NW Hwy and South of LBJ; East of Midway and West of 75.

Number of homes sold: 58 (92)
Avg. price/sf: $241.76 ($207.23)
Avg. sales price: $998,662 ($828,641)
Avg. days on market: 89 (79)

*2007 statistics for same time period in ( )

Preston Hollow - much like the Park Cities - posted a 37% drop in number of homes sold but comes in strong with a 17% rise in average sales price. See 2007 and 2008 here and here. So what does this mean for you in 2008? Nothing. If you're thinking about selling your home in 2008 then you need to call me, or a Realtor you trust, and I will take a good look at your house and what's going on in your specific neighborhood. Then based on that information you should be able to get a good idea of what you will be able to sell your home for.