CONDO VS HOUSE GRAPHIC

When it comes to deciding whether or not you want to invest in a condo or a single-family house, there’s a whole lot to mull over. Before stressing about homeowners associations and finding the perfect neighborhoods we decided to speak to Realtor Nancy Guerriero, who offered a wealth of sound advice.

“The biggest positive you have with a condo is the ability to lock and leave — go out with friends, travel, it’s so much easier than a house that needs to be watched over and maintained,” Guerriero says, “But at the same time you need to think about the neighborhood.”

She explains that there’s a basic checklist that most homebuyers go over before purchasing: What’s the school system like? Are there parks? Where’s the nearest shopping center? Grocery store? All of these components are essential, and as vital as exploring a condo’s homeowners association (HOA).

“The biggest issue is the governing power of the building, or HOA,” Guerriero emphasizes. “If you don’t have a good one, it’s bad news.”

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Jason Roberts

Always on the go, Roberts is involved in myriad projects and groups in Oak Cliff and around Dallas. Photo courtesy Jason Roberts

Much has been written about community activist, urban planning enthusiast, and Oak Cliff resident Jason Roberts. His energy is infectious as he spreads the gospel of urban revitalization around the world: building better neighborhoods by transforming vacant and underused properties into vibrant, thriving blocks abuzz with business, activity, and local participation.

His Better Block concept started in spring 2010 in a small part of North Oak Cliff, where Roberts asked the questions, “why are these buildings vacant and what can we do to rapidly transform them in days, not years, into bike- and pedestrian-friendly places that people love?”

The answer was a rapidly planned weekend project that created pop-up shops, filling underused or vacant spaces with the businesses he wished the area had: coffee shops, flower shops, and cafes, among others.

Better Block has since gone from a local experiment to a national and international model for urban redevelopment that showcases the possibilities in a neighborhood, no matter its current state.

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Photo courtesy of Steve Rainwater via a Creative Commons license

Photo courtesy of Steve Rainwater via Creative Commons

When I learned to drive in the 90s, my dad had two big rules: Don’t run out of gas and don’t drive anywhere near Downtown Dallas, particularly at night.

We were suburban dwellers, used to wide streets, manicured lawns, and regularly scheduled trash pickups. Much of Downtown Dallas was gritty and graffitied, all business by day, and practically vacant at night, except for the club scene in Deep Ellum and restaurants in the West End Historic District.

It’s not just downtown that was affected—for decades, people have been moving to the suburbs in Dallas and across the country. For example, nationally, the suburbs grew at an annual average rate of 1.38 percent, compared to 0.42 percent for primary cities between 2000 and 2010, according to U.S. Census Bureau data and research by population analysts.

But that trend appears to be reversing in the past four years. Since 2010, primary cities with populations of 100,000 or more outgrew suburbs each year, according to research by William H. Frey, a demographer with the Brookings Institution.

Dallas is part of that trend. Certainly, many our suburbs like Frisco are seeing unprecedented growth. But our urban core—the 15 districts that make up Downtown Dallas—has seen a radical transformation as people and businesses move back downtown. 

Case in point: in 2000, the Central Business District population, one of those 15 districts, was just 14,654. It is predicted to grow to 33,139 residents in 2015, and 59,337 in 2030.  

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Photo courtesy of Robert Hensley via a Creative Commons license

Photo courtesy of Robert Hensley via a Creative Commons license

Dallas is one of 15 top markets poised to attract baby boomer homebuyers because of an affordable cost of living, sunny weather, and friendly business climate, according to new research by the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

NAR looked at 100 metro areas with lower state taxes (or none at all, as is the case in Texas), stable job market conditions, and strong migration patterns of “leading-edge baby boomers” (those 60-69) moving to that area. By doing this, they predicted which housing markets are likely to see a boost from baby boomers. Cost of living, housing affordability, and housing inventory availability were also factors in their rankings.

For these reasons, Dallas was identified as one of five markets with strong potential for attracting baby boomer homebuyers.

“It comes down to housing affordability, and lower tax rates in the Dallas area and the state as a whole,” said Adam DeSanctis, NAR economic issues media manager. “More boomers after 65 are working, some because they have to, or feel like they have to, but also those that are healthier and want to maintain an active lifestyle. Those [baby boomer] business owners come to Dallas for its dynamic local economy.”

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old town 2

Old Town Lewisville. Photo courtesy of the city of Lewisville

When you think of hip, fun destinations to live, work, and play in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the city of Lewisville is not usually at the top of the list.

But city leaders in this northern suburb of almost 100,000 residents are changing that as redevelopment moves into full swing in the Old Town area. New houses, townhomes, restaurants, and retail shops are all in the works as developers and entrepreneurs take note of the changing atmosphere.

“Everybody has been hyper-focused on Collin County, but these changes in Lewisville will give people another option,” said David Maez, Broker and Co-Owner at VIVO Realty, which represents the developer Belleville Village, the builders of Uptown Village Lewisville townhomes near East Main Street and East Mill Street in Old Town. “It’s close to Lewisville Lake, close to the airport, close to I-35, which makes it easy to get to Dallas. These changes will make that area more appealing for buyers, especially younger professionals.”  (more…)

The National Association of Realtors survey looked at multiple facets of the home buying process from mid 2013 to mid 2014. Location was a big factor, as expected.

The National Association of Realtors survey looked at multiple facets of the home buying process from mid 2013 to mid 2014. Location was a big factor, as expected.

First-time homebuyers are being squeezed out, and you gotta move fast to buy! And people are hanging on to their houses for the longest time on record, according to a new study by the National Association of Realtors.

Buyers are living in their homes for ten years, up from six years in 2008, and actually expect to live in their home for 12 years. Some of it is by choice, like hanging on to a fantastic rate after remortgaging, and some by necessity, like too much debt to move, as reported by the Dallas Morning News.

The study looked at the demographics of thousands of home purchases around the United States from July 2013 to June 2014, and its findings speak to many trends we’ve noticed in the market here at CandysDirt.

Take multigenerational homes, for example. We’ve seen more builders offering them, like almost every builder on our approved homebuilder list, from Park Cities to Preston Hollow and north. (I swear Mickey Munir at Sharif&Munir invented the jazzed-up mother-in-law suite.) Texas-based builder Darling Homes is selling multigenerational homes in Frisco’s Lawler Park and Houston area’s Lakes of Cypress Forest like hotcakes.

The survey says they’re right on trend: Since 1980, the number of multigenerational households around the country has doubled, with 13 percent of buyers purchasing one of these homes to accommodate aging parents and boomerang kids in a cost-saving way.

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Photo: Bethany Erickson

Photo: Bethany Erickson

When my husband bought the home we live in now – a 1950s bungalow in Midway Hollow – he was a bachelor. He told me several times during our courtship that he bought the house thinking that he would sell it when he got married, because three bedrooms and ONE bathroom is kind of cozy.

Well, I like cozy. When we married, we decided that staying put made sense, but if we ever had kids, we would give the situation another gander.

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Urban Reserve 4 We’ve been talking about Urban Reserve and its dedicated developer Diane Cheatham for quite a long time, so we were so happy to see stories about this incredible sustainable, architect-driven neighborhood on our local Fox and ABC affiliates! It’s funny how real estate is a big story now, isn’t it? (more…)