"There's no crying in baseball!" Who can forget this famous line from A League of Their Own? Well, you could say the same about real estate...and most jobs. Tears are not for the workplace! But let me tell ya, at a recent closing, I shed real, old-fashioned tears, the big kind that roll down your face. This was a little embarrassing. "Get yourself together, Diana!" is what I was thinking. It's not that the closing was sad. It was decidedly NOT sad. It's just that the folks whose home sale was closing were people who had been in my life since I was about 19 years old--former professors of mine at SMU (who became beloved colleagues and friends). We listed their home, and it simply sold right away. And now here we were at the closing, and saying congratulations but also goodbye, as they started the journey back to California after a 30+ year absence. So, that explains the tears. Closings are a favorite part of the job for me and Chris. Oh sure, that is partly because a closing means a sale has happened. But more than that, it's a chance to be part of a really momentous occasion in someone's life. It's always an honor to be there. There are occasionally things we need to clarify or explain about the paperwork; often there are laughs and corny photos with signs that say things like, "We Found Our Dream Home!"; and apparently, sometimes--not often-- there are tears.
Neighborhood Spotlight: Junius Heights
Can a Dallas neighborhood have a cooler history than Junius Heights? If you don't know Junius Heights, it is a classic East Dallas neighborhood adjacent to Munger Place and Swiss Avenue (I'll cover both of those in future editions). Developed by C.H. Munger as a neighborhood convenient to the business district, Junius was marketed as an upscale neighborhood, accessible by streetcar, that was at "higher elevation than the buildings downtown." The elevation was supposed to make a difference because--they claimed-- the higher elevation kept things cool. That thought makes me smile: doesn't matter what part of town you're in, it's hot here! In the "greatest lot sale in the history of Dallas," 200 lots were sold in 45 minutes (at midnight!) on September 3, 1906. Today, Junius Heights represents the largest historic district in Dallas, with 800 rooftops. There you can see well-preserved prairie and craftsman style bungalows. These special properties are protected from demolition, and even paint colors and significant landscaping plans must be approved before owners make any changes. While such rules may seem burdensome, they result in true authenticity in the neighborhood. To walk Junius Heights is to picture of Dallas as it was in the early 20th century, at least architecturally. See above for one of the stately pillars that mark entry to the neighborhood, which you can see as you drive by on the lowest part of Abrams, eastern border of the neighborhood.
Though the neighborhood is primarily residential, one beloved JH business is the Garden Cafe, purveyor of wonderful breakfasts and brunches...and host of the occasional poetry reading. While the Garden Cafe has been closed for a while, I have learned that they await a permit to serve beer and wine and hope to reopen soon. To learn more about Junius Heights, go to their excellent website (source of some of the information above) at juniusheights.org; in addition, I have linked below a Junius Heights property that my TBG partner, Mary Markey, and I just sold (in 48 hours!), as well as another good-looking listing that has just hit the market.
A Book Review, in Haiku (this is for Olive, Again--sequel to the very fine Olive Kittredge that came out about 5 yrs ago): She's still real grumpy. Other Mainers come and go. It's only so-so.
A note on mortgage rates: Folks, if you have a mortgage, take a minute to remind yourself of the rate you secured. Rates are at an all-time low. It may well be that a re-fi would save you a bundle right now. Yes, there are costs to re-finance, but what you could save monthly and in the long-term may make the process well worth your while. As an example: two of the clients we helped make a purchase just last summer (2019) discovered--upon our prompting--that their mortgage had a rate "in the 5's." Both are now looking into refinancing at a nice, low rate. Call me (or Chris) to discuss if you are uncertain. We can help you think this through. But don't unintentionally pay a higher rate than necessary--especially if you plan to stay put for a while!
Stuff I Adore
*The art of letter-writing: Perhaps I've been in a sentimental mood lately. But the truth is, I've always loved both writing and receiving real, actual mail. I don't write letters as often as I'd like--because it does take time; but when I do put pen to paper, I so enjoy conveying my words and thoughts in a direct, personal way to express "thank you," or "how are you?" or "Happy Birthday!" Let me tell you about two of my favorite letter-writers. First, my mother-in-law, Shirley. She has the most gorgeous hand-writing, so part of the impact of her letters is how beautiful the pages look (this is no surprise, given that she is an acclaimed artist). And I love that she sometimes writes to share news and information. Who does that anymore? Her letters are always thoughtful and interesting, and I have saved many of them because they are so special. Second, our friend, Gil Swift. What a letter-writer! Lord, how the man puts language together! His letters are both amusing and awe-inspiring at the same time. I strongly suggest sending Gil a gift or doing him a favor--because a day or so later, the most amazing letter will appear in your mailbox--yes, MAILBOX, not Inbox! Cheers to postal mail!! *The Flat White. This is a kicked up latte offered at Starbucks that my pal Guy told me
about several years ago. I think Guy has moved on from the Flat White. I have not. It is creamy and rich and an all around wonderful way to start the day. Seriously, whatever my workout is, when I am about 3/4 done, my mind begins to drift to coffee, and specifically to my beloved Flat White. I just get a tall (for non-Starbuckers, a "tall," paradoxically, is their "small". Go figure). Anyway, it's yummy and helps set my day going in a positive direction. Just ask Chris. He will tell you that I actually plan our vacations with careful attention to "proximity-to-Starbucks." Please do not think I'm gauche to be such a Starbucker. We all have things we love. Starbucks is one of mine. True, I do not like the drip coffee at Sbux. Too strong for this girl. But the Flat White is a YES.
5412 Tremont StreetJunius Heights--TBG listing, sold right away! 3 Bed | 2 Bath
5415 Victor StreetJunius Heights--not a TBG listing, but very cute! 3 Bed | 2 Bath