Midland homeowners could see a higher property tax bill in 2018. (Photo courtesy: TaxRebate.org.uk)

Midland homeowners will probably be paying a higher property tax bill in 2018, but not for the reason you might think. We take a look in this week’s news roundup. (more…)


At the recent Frisco town hall meeting, a Collin County Association of Realtors member said above-ground power lines like those proposed by Brazos/CoServ would negatively impact home values by 5 to 20 percent along the selected route. Map: CCAR

At the recent Frisco town hall meeting, a Collin County Association of Realtors member said above-ground power lines like those proposed by Brazos/CoServ would negatively impact home values by 5 to 20 percent along the selected route. Map: CCAR

The gloves are off in northern suburb Frisco as homeowners fight against a power line proposed by Brazos Electric Power Cooperative Inc. and CoServ Electric.

But in an unprecedented twist, Frisco Realtors are fighting side-by-side with homeowners for their home values and property rights.

At the heart of the issue is a suggested above-ground, 138,000-volt, double-circuit power line along either Stonebrook Parkway or Main Street in Frisco, built by Brazos on behalf of CoServ. The power line will start at an existing transmission line west of the Dallas North Tollway, and run between 2.7 and 4.1 miles, depending on the approved route, to a new substation to be built on King Road, west of Farm-to-Market Road 423. The new power line would serve growth in Frisco, Little Elm and The Colony, one of the fastest growing areas in the nation.

This prospect has the West Frisco Homeowners Coalition (WFHOC) and Collin County Association of Realtors (CCAR) working together oppose the 12-story power line, proposing instead that Brazos/CoServ build the line underground. They say the above-ground high-voltage transmission line, which will run through densely populated neighborhoods, will adversely affect the rights of homeowners.

“This is not simply about lowering property values—we see this as a huge home ownership, private property rights infringement,” said Adam Majorie, Government Affairs Director for the CCAR. “We think [the above-ground lines] will have a detrimental impact on homeowners themselves, because it affects on the whole neighborhood, and it impacts the homeowners’ nest eggs.”


Capital Distributing 1.13

Houzz Founder Adi & Candy

Capital Dist 1.13 all sponsorsSo we all love HOUZZ, that way cool design site that gets like a trillion hits a day and fills us with photos, millions of photos of beautiful “HOUZZes” and rooms. Houzz was founded just a couple of years ago by Adi Tatarko and Alon Cohen, two Palo Alto residents who were remodeling a ranch home on the Peninsula there in northern Cali and were tired of cutting pages out of magazines for their inspiration file. Houzz soon became an online national photo database and idea generator for people in the process of building, remodeling and decorating. By December 2012, the Houzz i-pad app was downloaded over five-million times and the website featured one-million images. Houzz has a directory of 1.5 million home improvement professionals who use the site to connect with homeowners. So it was no wonder then that when Houzz decided to do a big party in Dallas to promote the site, they chose Capital Distributing (and Thermadore, ModernLuxuryDallas and your’s truly, CandysDirt.com) to partner and party with. I don’t know of a better design central for your home than Capital Distributing, ASID’s 2012 Appliance Designers’ Choice Award” Winner. Last Thursday evening we rocked it up around the latest and greatest in kitchen gadgets, learned how the internet is influencing home design, and  got an earful of a survey commissioned by Houzz. There were at least 450 builders, designers, architects and contractors in the house. Lisa Hausman, from Houzz, told me the Dallas event was one of the best attended across the USA.

Oh yes, the surveys. Let’s start here: do you go over budget when you decorate? Hell yes, right? I am not alone: 45% of people report going over their design budget. Here are a few more Houzz survey tidbits:

Depending on the home price range, people are increasingly do-it-yourselfers: even upscale homeowners are taking a hands-on approach to building, remodeling and decorating projects.

“The survey found that while 45 percent of homeowners at upper income levels ($150,000+) are choosing to hire an architect, interior designer, general contractor or another remodeling or decorating professional to complete a project in its entirety, an equal number of them are combining professional help and DIY efforts, a proportion only slightly smaller than the 49 percent taking this combination approach in lower income brackets.”

Kitchens and bathrooms are the most popular remodeling projects among Houzz users, with 48 percent of respondents planning a bathroom remodel, and 45 percent redoing a kitchen in the next two years. This is no surprise having come from the midwest: Midwesterners have the highest budgets for kitchen and bath remodels at $30,500 and $13,600 respectively, while the South is allocating the least at $23,800 and $11,600. I mean, in the south you can have an outdoor kitchen, no can do that in frigid Chicago.

Of course, I’d eliminate the kitchen entirely if I could.

We love our Houzzes! Other key findings from Houzz’s national survey:

-In the next two years, 72 percent of homeowners surveyed plan to decorate or redecorate, 40 percent plan to remodel or construct an addition, while 10 percent are planning to build a custom home.

-Custom homes are more popular in the South.

-57 percent of Houzz homeowners planning to complete a project in the next two years and will hire a general contractor, 35 percent a kitchen or bath professional and 32 percent will hire a carpet or flooring professional.  Thirty percent are planning to hire an architect, 26 percent an interior designer and 24 percent a landscape architect or designer.

-About half — 52 percent — say they will save money by completing some projects themselves.

-The largest projects in terms of average spend in the last five years were custom home builds ($577,000), complete home remodels ($193,000), pool additions or replacements ($34,000) and kitchen remodels ($25,000)

-6 in 10 Houzz homeowners hired a general contractor in the past five years, and half hired a carpet or flooring professional. Windows and kitchen and bath professionals were each hired by 28 percent of respondents, while architects and landscape professionals were each hired by 24 percent of respondents.

  • Candy Marc Kleinman Liza 1.13