Category: Real Estate

Matte Black is the New Black


I have been on a roll lately attending design conferences and meeting with product vendors from around the globe to stay on top of industry trends. One of the sexiest design elements making a huge statement in home and hospitality interiors is amatte black finish. Because this is a high-end finish, it can also become a prominent design feature.

The trend has also made a significant impact not just in intereiors, but also in the automobile industry and fashion. Matte black is even more luxurious when combined with another matte finish or contrast metal finish, such as satin gold, or with a classic white for a powerful pop of pure luxury.

The Art of an Estate Sale

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.

Preserving Park Cities Structural History


Charles Dilbeck is a household name; it is a name associated with a number of houses in the Park Cities, Preston Hollow, and Dallas. Dilbeck designed more than 600 homes in Dallas, but that number has shrunk, since houses in Dallas don’t tend to survive too many owners.

One Preston Hollow resident is looking to make her Dilbeck-designed home stick around for the long haul, and has filed a request with the Dallas City Hall Landmark Commission for consideration of a historic overlay district. The commission voted to consider homeowner Nancy Shutt’s case in August. Shutt declined to comment on the request.

In its consideration of Shutt’s house, the commission will determine if the building meets the necessary criteria for historic overlay and work with her to establish why the structure should become a landmark.

Housing Market Cooling Off This Quarter

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.”

Penson House Sold for $4.5 Million



Courtesy Heritage Auctions

Courtesy Heritage Auctions


Heritage Auctions announced Sept. 27 that the Penson House on Armstrong Avenue sold for almost $5 million. The buyer, who was represented by Allie Beth Allman of Allie Beth Allman and Associates, chose to remain anonymous.

The 1954 home was designed by O'Neil Ford for Jack and Nancy Penson. Ford was well-known for his architectural style that combined elements of European modernism with Texas and Southwestern elements. The 9,800-square-foot Penson House was one of his largest residential projects.

Preservation Dallas added the house to the 2016 list of most endangered places, noting that its location could be attractive to potential developers, and that Highland Park does not have a mechanism to protect historic buildings.

The house has been on the market for more than two years. According to a release from Heritage Auctions, 12 people placed bids on the house.

"This Highland Park estate was one of the most significant auctions we've ever held," said Nate Schar, Heritage director of luxury real estate.

Homeowners Fight Inflated Property Taxes

Photo by Joshua Baethge

Soaring property evaluations are hammering local homeowners. While tax rates have remained relatively stable over the past five years, tax bills are still on the rise. The North Texas housing boom is largely to blame as strong demand continues to drive up home values.

Increasingly, property owners are fighting back. According to the Dallas Central Appraisal District (DCAD), 78,508 residential tax appeals were filed this year – 20 percent more than last year. In 2014, there were only 57,435 appeals.

“It’s insane that the government can just send you a letter saying, ‘Here’s what your house is worth,’ without even going into your home,” said North Dallas resident James Hanson.

When government entities set their budgets, they try to anticipate how much money will be generated from property taxes. If the revenue is higher than expected, they end up with a surplus.

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) 

Make Your Grout Stand Out


For many years, we have seen a trend of making grout go away. Grout lines got smaller, and we used the term butt-joint to describe designs showing no grout line or as little grout line as possible. As designers and contractors, we chose colors that would blend in with the tile or stone and not take away from the tile itself. The grout color was secondary and played no part in the design. It was almost a nuisance to make the selection. I dreaded picking grout colors and was always waiting for the tile installer on job sites, screaming for the color!

Housing Inventory Increase Gives Buyers More Options


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.”