It cannot be avoided any longer: I must use this space to say a few words about this crazy real estate market. When I say "crazy," I mean that in both positive and negative ways. One reason the market is crazy is because there is so little inventory, and there are probably 15 would-be buyers for any given property. Let me tell you, that is more fun for the seller than for the buyer. Who wants to compete with that many people for a home? Even for sellers, the situation isn't ideal...because of course they must move somewhere, too. Some folks are selling and taking a year to lease and thus "sit out" this chaotic time. And I think that is a legitimate strategy, but I also cannot swear that in a year from now we will be swimming in wonderful inventory. Also fueling the frenzy are continuing favorable mortgage rates. There's no denying that locking down a 2.8% or 3.0% rate on a 30 year note is an incredibly advantageous opportunity for home-buying. To say it in brief: this is a great time to invest in real estate--provided you can find a home to claim as yours!
But take heart! It can be done. I have several buyers closing on homes they love in the upcoming weeks. Each purchase has been a journey, with, in some cases, waived appraisals, super-brief option periods, and never-seen-before amounts of earnest money. So far, our clients have not had to go as far as the waiving of inspection in order to "win" an offer (Yes, we hear this is going on; we don't support it). This market takes patience and persistence, but The Blackman Group is helping clients settle into great homes.
Featured Neighborhood: SOHIP
New York's got SOHO, TriBeCa, and DUMBO; Denver's got LODO; Austin's got SOCO. Dallas has....SOHIP?
SOHIP is a neighborhood that might best be defined as the north part of Oak Lawn. It is directly south of Highland Park. Get it-- SOHIP?
Before you form your thoughts and opinions, let me tell you that Chris and I lived in SOHIP for 2 years, and I rarely told people we lived in SOHIP. In the same way that TriBeCa sounds cool, SOHIP sounds kinda dumb when you say it.
Moving the name aside, let's talk about the neighborhood, which we did enjoy. SOHIP is a vibrant, walkable (rare in Dallas, as you probably know) neighborhood that is bordered by Lemmon to the south, Oak Lawn to the east, Hawthorne to the north, and Lomo Alto to the west. Some things we loved: being so close to Whole Foods; walking around the corner to eat at the bar at Bob's Steak and Chop; and just being centrally located to so many things--easy access to Central and the tollway, quick to SMU, quick to downtown. The residents are an eclectic, artsy bunch, and they love their dogs. We actually got our dog, Kai, when we lived there on Bowser, so we have many happy memories of walks in the neighborhood with the world's cutest puppy.
Architecturally-speaking, SOHIP was a neighborhood made up of cottages and multi-family properties. Developed around the same time as Highland Park, it was a less-expensive area for young professionals and families. Many of these structures are still standing, in various states of repair (and disrepair). In the picture above you see a lovingly-restored original home with a soaring residential tower being built behind it (right next to Holy Trinity Catholic Church). In the picture at left you see a classic SOHIP duplex that Chris and I sold last year to a group that has brought it into the modern era--a nice compromise! SOHIP--the name is a maybe, but you gotta love being walking distance to Nonna!
Real Estate Vocabulary: Estate
The use of the word "estate" in residential developments makes me raise an eyebrow probably 90% of the time. Call me crazy, but when I hear the word estate, I imagine a sizable dwelling on a big piece of land. I'm not trying to be snobby! I love my own house...but it's not an estate! Often when I am showing houses, I will note that a particular property is in, for example, the "Lake Highlands Estates" neighborhood. But the houses in the neighborhood are 1300 square feet, and they are on your standard 50 x 150 lot! This is epidemic in Dallas--calling such properties "estates." In thinking about this, I actually consulted the dictionary to ensure I was thinking correctly. Indeed, the definition includes the idea of an "expansive" property. So, in short, I am right. But neighborhood developers are not going to consult me as they name the communities they build. At least in Dallas, estates abound!
Stuff I Adore
--VonLane: If you haven't taken VonLane to get from Dallas to Austin or Houston, then you really need to give it a try. This luxury bus service is all kinds of awesome. It's a full-sized bus that is outfitted with just 16 or so seats. The seats are roomy and comfortable, and there is a fair amount of space between you and the other passengers. VonLane leaves from the Doubletree Love Field and drops at the Hyatt Regency in Austin or the Hyatt Regency in Houston (these are 2 separate routes, not one with 2 stops). They offer all kinds of snacks and drinks (yes, grab yourself a mixed drink en route!). For those days when you don't feel like driving, sit back on this lux bus, get your work done using the wifi, or take a nap. It's a civilized way to travel!
--Katy Trail Ice House: I know--how unoriginal of me! But whatevs! I don't care if this is not a unique selection. Katy Trail Ice House is a consistently fun spot, and Chris and I always remark on the fact that the food is "better than it should be." What I mean by that is that these kinds of fun, outdoor venues are notorious for cruddy food (Oasis on Lake Travis, anyone??). The food at the Ice House is yummy. My personal pick is the grilled chicken and swiss sandwich, no onions, ranch on the side. With a beer and french fries, this is perfection. The Ice House has been the site of many happy occasions for me. Back in the day, my pal Martha and I used to walk there (so as to earn our beer) on Fridays. We called it (facetiously) "Teachers Gone Wild" (because frankly, we aren't wild people). These days, you will find me there with Shelly after one of our epic walks, or Chris and I go meet pals Lisa and Reggie and end up eating too many cheese fries. Katy Trail Ice House: it's truly one of my Happy Places.
I've Been Busy Helping Great Folks Find Their Spot!
114 Cameron Drive - SOLD!
5 Bed | 4 Bath
2638 Alco Avenue - Kessler Plaza - SOLD!
3 Bed | 2 Bath
14038 Sunset Court - SOLD!
4 Bed | 2.5 Bath
423 Golden Pond Drive - Beautiful lot available to build your dream home.