Category: Real Estate Quarterly

From Black Box to Information Onslaught


For every generation before us that dreamed of one day purchasing a home, the process was opaque and incredibly complicated. Buyers sought out real estate agents not just for their charm and hand-holding through the process, but because those agents were the only ones who knew which homes were actually on the market. Short of slowly driving block-by-block through your dream neighborhood and writing down addresses with For Sale signs in the front yard, choosing a real estate agent was the only way to ensure that you could even find a home to buy.

I don’t have to tell you that this is clearly no longer the case. With the advent of companies like Zillow and other online real estate databases, today’s consumers have access to nearly as much information as those very same agents. Just 10 years after its founding, Zillow says that nearly nine out of 10 homebuyers now use the Internet when searching for a home. And we’re not just talking about Millennials here. 71 percent of those over the age of 65 search for their next home online. And that figure skyrockets up to 90 percent for those between 18 and 35.

Gateway Up for Grabs

The vacant land near the convergence of Armstrong Avenue, Lakeside Drive, and Oak Lawn Avenue where it becomes Preston Road is on the market. (Photo courtesy Allie Beth Allman) 0
The vacant land near the convergence of Armstrong Avenue, Lakeside Drive, and Oak Lawn Avenue where it becomes Preston Road is on the market. (Photo courtesy Allie Beth Allman)

One of the last undeveloped tracts of land in the Park Cities is drawing intense interest, according to representatives from Allie Beth Allman and Associates.

The 1.17-acre triangular plot bordered by Lakeside Drive, Armstrong Avenue, and Oak Lawn Avenue is being marketed as the “Gates of Highland Park.” While the land has been for sale since mid-fall, tall wooden signs erected just before New Year’s have generated increased attention.

“I can’t think of another location that would be more desirable,” former Highland Park mayor William D. White Jr. said.

In 1906, real estate developer John Armstrong purchased a large amount of land just north of Dallas for $276 an acre. The city’s population had more than doubled following the turn of the century, and was fast approaching 100,000. Armstrong saw enormous potential in the area he dubbed “Highland Park,” so named because it sat on high terrain overlooking downtown.

Balanced Market Brings Opportunities for Buyers, Sellers


While active home listings in Preston Hollow and the Park Cities dipped in the fourth quarter, 2016 brought greater housing inventory overall, creating opportunities for buyers as well as sellers.

New listings may not be likely to go under contract instantly in a wave of multiple offers like they would a few years ago, but home prices remain strong and sellers who have done quality renovations are still rewarded, according to Shell Stegall, senior vice president and broker with Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty, who has spent 25 years in real estate.

“It’s not quite so chaotic now,” she said. “It’s becoming a little more balanced between the power of buyers and sellers.”

Active listings in 2016 averaged 22 percent higher than in 2015, according to data from North Texas Real Estate Information Systems Inc.

The Art of an Estate Sale

Photos courtesy of Help Me Ronda 0
Photos courtesy of Help Me Ronda

Drive through Preston Hollow or the Park Cities any weekend and you are likely to stumble upon an estate sale, but you may not know what goes into the process behind the scenes.

A garage sale might be run by a homeowner looking to get rid of some things and make a few dollars, but an estate sales involve liquidating the entire contents of a house. This can require a specialist’s help.

Many owners brings in property liquidators to oversee the entire process, from organizing the event to staging the contents and pricing them based on their research and expertise. These professionals earn commission on the sales.

Housing Market Cooling Off This Quarter

North Texas Real Estate Information Systems, Inc. 0
North Texas Real Estate Information Systems, Inc.

The North Texas housing market is showing signs of cooling down. The latest North Texas Real Estate Information Systems statistics show that the median September home price in the Park Cities was down 17 percent compared to June. Despite a double-digit drop, the $1.2 million median price is still 5 percent higher than it was in September 2015.

The median home price in Preston Hollow climbed 19 percent to $952,000 over the third quarter. However, houses in Preston Hollow are taking longer to sell, as is the case in the Park Cities. According to some local real estate experts, these trends are not necessarily a bad thing.

“This is a much more healthy and balanced market,” said Virginia Cook realtor Lori Sparks. “It’s still an awesome time for sellers, but we couldn’t have continued on that pace forever. It would have been impossible.”

Anatomy of a Best Realtor


Five of D Magazine’s Best Realtors share their keys to success.

Who is your ideal client?

The ideal client is someone who knows which neighborhood they want and knows exactly what they are looking for in their home, and finally, one who has a strategy for their investment — such as, they know exactly what they want out of this home and they know how long they want to stay and what they need to do to capture future profit when it is time to sell.
– Alexis Collard, Allie Beth Allman (12 years) 

Housing Inventory Increase Gives Buyers More Options

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The first half of 2016 saw a dramatic increase in the number of houses on the market. The number of active listings in the Park Cities increased 81 percent between December and June. The increase was even more striking in Preston Hollow, where active listings nearly doubled over the same time period.

According to Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty agent Tom Hughes, the usual increase in spring home sales started later than normal this year. He said that activity seems to have picked up slightly since school let out in May.

“Usually when you have a big run like we had in 2014 and 2015, sellers see opportunities for higher prices,” said Hughes. “When too many decide to list at the same time, it sometimes causes a glut of inventory.”

Bring Back the Brass This Summer


As you freshen up your home for summer, consider bringing these elements back into your home and pay tribute to the old and the new.

Brass is Back
Be careful, as this is not the shiny brass of the ‘80s, but a warm satin brass. Pair this beautiful finish with the Calcutta and Carrera marbles that are so popular in today’s bathrooms and kitchens. Mixing cool gray finishes with warm gold and brass tones makes a beautiful statement. Another way to pull in brass is with light fixtures, cabinet hardware, wall accents, and fireplace accessories.

Exterior interiors
We are seeing a huge resurgence in materials that are typically used on the exterior of homes or commercial buildings being used in interiors. Instead of staining your concrete floors to look like leather or applying a dark stain as in the past, add simple clear sealers and let the beauty of unfinished surfaces become finished.

The use of exposed structure has made its way into residential design primarily through the surge of converting industrial spaces into apartments and town homes. Removing the ceiling gives the illusion of a soaring structure, open spaces, and clean lines.

Pop-up Open House Provides Luxurious Perks

Courtesy Photo 0
Courtesy Photo

Realtors Jonathan Rosen and Christy Berry, founders of the RosenBerry Group and executive vice presidents of Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty, are constantly looking for new ways to draw attention to luxurious properties on the market.

On Feb. 28, the RosenBerry Group hosted a pop-up open house featuring eight luxury homes throughout Preston Hollow, Highland Park, Bluffview, and other areas of Dallas. The houses vary in both style and price. From a remodeled Tudor to an estate in Preston Hollow, the homes range from around $750,000 to $4.5 million.

In creating a spinoff from the traditional open house, the realtor group partnered with local businesses to provide enticing experiences to enhance the qualities of each home.

For example, Tailwaters Flyfishing and Community Brewing Company were at the home at 3615 Amherst Ave. to highlight the water feature in the back of the property. Other companies set up throughout the different properties included Scardello Wine & Cheese, Audi, and Trunk Club, to name a few.