Sunday, December 27, 2009

Conservation Districts vs. McMansions: Which is Better?

These two homes are located on Richard Ave. in Vickery Place. There are many more homes that looks just like these scattered throughout Vickery Place yet the Conservation District doesn't seem to do anything about it.

In the never ending debate over which is better, bulldozing old homes to make way for McMansions or encouraging renovation of older homes with "character", there never seems to be hard data to clearly support either side. What I will say - bluntly, cuz that's how I roll - is that Vickery Place should have NEVER been allowed to be a Conservation District.

You tell me, are these homes increasing Vickery Place's property values more than if a $500K+ McMansion were to be built on the very same lots? (Yes, I know a builder can still build in Vickery Place, but not without a bunch a red tape and getting approval from a biased Board.)

If you think McMansions ruin property I suggest you talk to residents of Preston Hollow, Park Cities, Lakewood and Lakewood Heights. They don't seem to be complaining too much about their property values.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Gambler Loses $127M Then Blames Casino...Seriously

This isn't exactly related to Dallas real estate but I couldn't resist posting it since you know how I love me some stupidity. This is just another example of how our society continues to avoid taking responsibility for our own actions. Remember the McDonald's coffee lawsuit? Lord and Baby Jesus help us if this man wins this lawsuit.

(Thanks, Mark, for the link!)

Monday, November 30, 2009

New Marketing Technique Using "Artistic" Photos?

Nope. Just another poor seller who is not getting their money's worth. Or maybe they are? Either way, this is poor form and should never be acceptable to any real estate agent or their clients. At this time, there is only 1 photo. And this is the one they picked? Hopefully the seller speaks up about this.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Best Dallas Photographer in Dallas. Maybe the Country.

Sublime Red Line
Originally uploaded by
the urban fabric

So I'm being cheeky in the title. But if you haven't heard of Justin Terveen or seen his work then you are seriously missing out. His photos are nothing short of jaw dropping. Check out his Flickr page.

Amazing stuff.

Home Sales Increase by More Than 10%

But don't go popping corks on the Veuve just yet. While it may be true home sales have risen to their highest level in 2.5 years the experts accurately state that this jump in sales was due to many buyers having already been under contract before the first time home buyer tax credit was extended to April of 2010. That being said, we are likely to see stagnant sales over the winter and then they will ramp up as we near the April 2010 tax credit deadline. From the omniscient experts,
Experts forecast that prices will fall again. Most say they will hit a new low next spring, perhaps falling another 5 to 10 percent, as more foreclosures get pushed onto the market.
I've already expressed my concern about the threat of rising and/or continuing foreclosures. And it looks like the experts agree.
A record-high 14 percent of homeowners with a mortgage were either behind on payments or in foreclosure at the end of September, the Mortgage Bankers Association said last week.
What this means to you, Dear Reader, is that if you are in a neighborhood full of short sales and foreclosures, you may have to wait until 2011 before you see a turn around in prices. If your neighborhood doesn't have that many short sales or foreclosures your home value will still feel the indirect effects of a lousy economy laden with foreclosures. So sit tight. Update that kitchen or the master bath, beef up your landscaping and enjoy your home. And if you get relocated and have to sell then at least your home will be in great selling condition.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Is this the Most Expensive Lease Property in Dallas?

I'm talking about Casa Bellamini, of course. I mean, who doesn't have $50K a month to spend these days? To be fair, the monthly rate includes maid service, a private chef, and a full time butler and house manager. Good Lord. To put this into perspective, if you make over $1 million a year you probably still can't afford to lease this place.

This home is also for sale with an asking price of $7.9M, which is a far cry from the original asking price of $13M. That's a whopping $5M price reduction! Check out the home's website here. I've seen this home a few times and I have to say it is breathtaking. My favorite feature is the pedestal sink in the master steam shower. Perfect for a man (or woman) who prefers to shave while in the shower.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

NAR Has Fun With Numbers

Feel free to read this somewhat wordy article released today by NAR. Here are some of the highlights.
Existing-home sales are expected to rise 13.6 percent in 2010.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage will average 5.3 percent in the fourth quarter, rising gradually to 5.8 percent by the end of next year.

Home prices should rise between 3 and 5 percent in 2010.

The unemployment rate is close to peaking and is projected to ease to 9.5 percent by the end of next year.
All Realtors should be thrilled with the increase in home sales. However, I wouldn't expect Dallas to live up to the price appreciation forecast. We tend to lag behind whatever the country is trending towards. I expect Dallas to remain stable and possibly depreciate 0% to 1% in 2010 mainly due to flushing out the bulk of the foreclosures and short sales.

And finally, I'm not sure what is meant by the unemployment rate "easing to 9.5%" means. Is it going up, down? This, IMHO, is the major factor in determining the future success of Dallas real estate. Many people are forced to foreclose because of a job loss. They have no savings, mortgaged to the hilt, credit cards are maxed and then BAM! They get laid off. Ninety days later the house is foreclosed on. So until people can be secure in their jobs I wouldn't expect 2010 to be all roses. But it also won't be all doom and gloom. There are many deals to be had out there and smart buyers are taking advantage.

Man with Spinny Driving Wheel Camera Makes Good Sense

I could not agree more with this guy. I came across his video over on It has always amazed me how many agents - and companies - claim they are "numero uno". That's not to say they aren't telling the truth. But statistics can be manipulated to make them prove your own claims. Anyone can be No. 1 if you narrow the field down enough.

So just remember, you too can be the number one agent in Dallas!*

*sales between $451,000 and $452,000 on Northaven Rd. for the month of November 2009

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

How is the real estate market doing?

I get this question about a bazillion times a week. It's honestly the hardest question for me to answer each and every time it is asked. A client and friend just emailed me asking if waiting to list their home would hurt or help them. Here is how I responded.
Will the market get better/worse? Your guess is as good as mine. Buyers are waiting, waiting, waiting but yet some things are selling. There is no rhyme or reason except for price. When a property is priced very aggressively it moves. Everything else is somewhat of a waiting game. Buyers have been looking and watching listings reduce, reduce, reduce. So why pull the trigger when another reduction is right around the corner? Just wait. That is how buyers feel, and the feeling is justified when you look at the evidence out there. Presentation and condition of the property is still as important as ever. No one wants a project. And the nice homes are typically the ones that are selling. Giving clients a time frame has become tougher in the last 90 days. My listings were moving fairly quickly in the first quarter and now I seem to be getting a lot of showing activity but no offers. Does that mean all of my listings that aren't selling are overpriced? I'm not sure I even know the answer to that question right now. I pride myself on initial price positioning but I have been having to go to my clients and recommend price reductions. Not sure if that is indicative of the market as a whole but it's making me reevaluate the price of each and every one of my listings. And unfortunately the numbers still don't offer much of a solution.

I didn't mean to come across as whiny because things are moving. But buyers are testing not only the seller's patience these days, they are testing their own real estate agent's patience as well. It's just how it is and we need to respond to the market! So I'm going to get back to work now!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Agent to Meet? Or Not to Meet? That is the Question.

I've been showing homes to an out of town couple around the $2 million price point over the past few weeks. Each time we view approximately 6 to 8 homes. I give at least 24 hours notice as most of these properties are "agent to meet"...the last thing any Realtor wants to see in the showing instructions section for any listing. I'm not exaggerating when I say at least 5 of the agents attempt to reschedule the 30 minute time frame I give them because they "can't make it at the time we've requested".

On the surface that sounds fair but you have to look at it from a buyer's point of view - and their agent's. When you're looking at 8 homes from Russwood Acres to Jan-Mar to Bluffview to Greenway Parks to UP/HP the listing agents should be THRILLED that I only gave them a 30 minute time frame. Let me give you an example you probably won't care much about. And that's ok. This is my own form of therapy time so let me have it, dammit! :)

You have to have a starting point so let's pick Jan-Mar (Royal and Hillcrest) at 11am. From there we're heading to Russwood Acres (Royal and Midway). Then down to Bluffview and Greenway Parks. And shoot across the toll road to the Park Cities. We'll probably end around 2pm.

But...The first agent can only meet me at 1pm so we'll need to reschedule that one. But then what about the other home in Jan-Mar we just scheduled with the other listing agent for 11:30am? I guess we can move her to 1:30pm.

And then...The second agent can't do 1:30pm because she has a massage appointment.

And then...Both of the Russwood Acres homes we want to see are having an Open House from 2pm to 4pm so it would be nice if we could reschedule our times to view the homes at that time instead of from 12pm to 1pm.

So now...I have to call the Greenway Parks listing agents and the Park Cities agents to reschedule with them and hope they can make the new appointment time after they've probably already made plans.

You see what I'm getting at. It's a pain in the arse and we typically have to cancel at least 2 of the homes on our orginal list because the agents can't meet us to show the home.

I am not, nor have I ever been, a fan of "agent to meet" showings. They are pointless and my buyers find the listing agents more distracting than helpful as they prattle on about how "special" their listing is while following us from room to room.

In my opinion, no home in the Park Cities or Preston Hollow areas under $3 million is special enough to require a Realtor's presence at the home when it is being shown. If you want to brag about the special features of your listing then open up Microsoft Word and prove it by placing an information sheet in the home. You running your yapper and rattling off the 1,000 special things about this home is lost on every buyer that walks through the front door. I don't care if Lambert's did the lawn or the guy standing by the DART bus stop. If it looks nice then it looks nice. That is not a special feature of any home.

The saddest and most important part of all this is that sellers of these homes will never know someone tried to show their $1.8 million dollar home. No wonder it has been on the market for 178 days. I mean seriously, do you think the listing agent will tell their sellers they couldn't make the showing because they were too busy? I didn't think so.


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Stupid Realtor Comment of the Day: Virtual Tour vs. Multiple Photos Edition

A real estate agent posted the following comment on this post - anonymously of course - saying that virtual tours are a must and that I am a fool for thinking otherwise and need to consult with the Almighty Google to reinforce my foolishness. (My comments are in italics.)


A prospect has pictures in the MLS to view anyway. Really!?!?!?!?

Adding a virtual tour gives them the sense of being there. Kay....

The Real Question to ask is: If you found a house you thought you really wanted to see, that truly caught your interest, and that exact same house had two viewing options one had pictures only and the other had pictures and a virtual tour would you pass up the virtual tour? The answer would be emphatically NO! This is your question. Not mine. This is also a stupid example.

The virtual tour connects all the dots. What dots are you referring to?

Sure it takes more time then looking through A dozen pictures and less convenient...IF YOU'RE NOT INTERESTED IN THOSE HOMES. But when you find the one you want. You take that virtual tour and call your husband and email your kids and let your friends see it to get their opinion, not 15 pictures. Not sure where to begin with this one...

I know, because that's exactly what my buyer and seller clients have told me. What do seller's have to do with virtual tours?

Virtual tours are priceless, just ask Google you fool. Ouch. *crying*
Look Anonymous, if that is your real name, before you go around calling people "fools" you should brush up on your reading comprehension and pay more attention to the logic behind your argument.

As I said in my post, the purpose of online photos and virtual tours are to attract potential buyers and to make them want to view the property in person with their agent. The "real question", as you so eloquently put it, isn't whether or not people will view a virtual tour of a home they are interested in. That's a stupid question. OF COURSE A POTENTIAL BUYER WILL VIEW A VIRTUAL TOUR OF A HOME THEY LIKE BECAUSE THEY LIKED THE 15 PICTURES THEY CLICKED ON SECONDS BEFORE!

Please do the real estate profession a favor and send your license back your local and state associations.


Jeff Duffey

Monday, January 5, 2009

Florida Homeowners Sue Habitat for Humanity

A tip o' the hat to my good friend Mark for sending this link my way. Homeowners in a Florida neighborhood are suing Habitat for Humanity for building them a house they say is substandard and contains mold and other harmful substances. They are also upset because the development was built upon an old rubbish heap.

After I read the article my take away is that some people probably haven't maintained their homes properly and therefore, it is deteriorating. So instead of paying for proper maintenance they would rather sue and try and get more free stuff.

When will America learn? People are ungrateful and don't deserve free stuff because they don't know how to take care of what they're given. Sound familiar, Extreme Home Makeover?