Luxury Sales Skyrocketed in 2014 Says Texas Association of Realtors

4326 Lorraine

Caroline Summers, the Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s agent who sold 4326 Lorraine, says that well-designed luxury homes in high-profile areas are seeing heightened demand.

Luxury home sales with prices of $1 million and up posted huge growth in 2014 according to the latest Texas Luxury Home Sales Report from the Texas Association of Realtors. In Dallas-Fort Worth, the sales volume of luxury homes was second highest in the state and grew 15 percent year-over-year. Dallas was a runner up to Houston, which had the highest volume of luxury home sales as well as the highest luxury home price growth.

The overall inventory of luxury homes in Dallas-Fort Worth shrank by 1.2 months in 2014, a trend that was seen across the market in North Texas, and luxury home sales represented only 1.2 percent of the market. Compare that to Houston, in which luxury home sales represented 2 percent of the market and were up 13 percent year-over-year.


Get More For Your Moolah With This Cute Fort Worth Ranch on a Huge Lot

6304 Inca Front

I saw this home pop up in my search today, it’s first day on the market, and I was stunned. In Ridgemar, a fantastic West Fort Worth neighborhood, you can get this totally remodeled 1960s ranch with three bedrooms, two full baths and one half bath, more than 2,400 square feet, and a whopping 0.39 acre lot for $380,000. You’d pay at least $400K for that in a comparable Dallas neighborhood!

Just goes to show that our wonderful neighbors to the west have some great deals. Maybe it’s time to move to Cowtown?


NRT's new portals, acquisitions, may position the brokerage to out flank competition.

NRT’s new portals, acquisitions, may position the brokerage to out flank competition.

It’s a much different model than Zillow/Trulia, but NRT/Realogy will be on pace to not only capture more leads than Zillow, but it has boots-on-the-ground Realtors who can complete sales. This one-two punch is part of NRT’s strategy to “out flank” Zillow, positioning the brokerage as an online and in-person real estate powerhouse, according to Inman News:

“The nation’s largest real estate brokerage, NRT LLC, is preparing to launch two new search portals that are aimed at reducing the company’s reliance on leads from Zillow, Trulia and, attracting homebuyers by offering access to a complete set of MLS listings in markets where NRT operates, plus bells and whistles like automated valuations.

NRT, the brokerage wing of real estate titan Realogy, has over 42,000 agents and operates more than 700 offices in the U.S. under the Coldwell Banker Real Estate, ERA Real Estate, and Sotheby’s International Realty brands. It also owns and operates Citi Habitats, The Corcoran Group and, when the acquisition closes sometime this quarter, ZipRealty.”



Scott CarlsonPart one: Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s has begun an acquisition process that is part of their overall strategy to have a stronger presence in Lakewood area real estate. Today they made part of that process official: Robbie Briggs has acquired Scott Carlson Real Estate.

And what a presence! Scott Carlson, a force of nature in the Lakewood residential real estate market, is a force of nature himself.


Later today, the venerable PR firm of Rubenstein Public Relations will release this press release with more details, the official details, of Friday’s sale of Champ d’Or. As I told you yesterday, we know Champ was swooped up by a Dallas family with international ties (read: jet setters) and I have just learned that Clay Stapp was the buyer’s rep.  As I may have explained before, just because a home sells at auction does not mean the realtors are left out. This firmly plants Clay on the scene as a leading Dallas broker and agent, and signals, I think, a real changing of the guard.

Everyone’s in their morning meeting, and something tells me champaigne is being poured doen on Cedar Springs. Two of the happiest agents in town today? Clay Stapp and Joan Eleazer!

Here’s the release:


Concierge Auctions & Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty produce monumental sale

DALLAS, TX – April 2, 2012 – An exquisite, 48,000-square-foot luxury mansion located on 39 acres, just 45 minutes north of Dallas, was successfully sold at auction, Concierge Auctions has announced. Following 433 auction inquiries, over 500 showings and over 10,000 website visitors, the estate, named Champ d’Or, which translates to “Field of Gold”, was sold in cooperation with listing agent Joan Eleazer of Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty.

The buyer is based in the Dallas area with international ties and is represented by Clay Stapp of

CLAY STAPP+CO. Their name and the purchase price are confidential.

“It is a remarkable achievement to have sold this estate — and particularly to have done so in a five week time span,” stated Robbie Briggs, Broker and Owner of Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty. “Champ d’Or is so unique that after years on and off the market with various brokerage firms, we knew that adding Concierge Auctions to the equation was the right move. The Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty team and Concierge Auctions collaborated to create a comprehensive marketing and public relations platform and ensure we identified every possible buyer. Our efforts attracted interest from around the world and instilled the urgency necessary to produce this successful transaction.”

“From public relations exposure including the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CNBC, Inside Edition and more; to creative events such as a dinner with Sotheby’s International Realty owners from around the world and exclusive preview tours attracting over 500 attendees; to widespread global advertising, our outreach for this auction was unbelievable,” stated Eleazer. “We left no stone unturned.”

Modeled after the Vaux-le-Vicomte chateau in Paris, Champ d’Or is one of the grandest residences in the entire country. The property features endless unique amenities including a two-story mahogany library; a conservatory; two elevators; multiple staircases; a master suite with a steam room, hair salon, two-story Chanel-style “her” closet, an indoor lap pool and an exercise room. The entertaining prospects are endless, thanks to veranda seating for up to 450 people; a catering kitchen; a grand ballroom; an outdoor pool and pool house; a tennis court; an indoor bowling alley and racquetball court; a movie theatre; a wine room; a tea room modeled after New York’s Tavern on the Green; a commercial laundry room; and a 20-car garage.

“Champ d’Or is an incredible and unique property, and there was no doubt this auction presented a great opportunity,” stated Stapp. “My clients are experienced with buying at auction, and we were all impressed by Concierge’s execution. They are excited to be the next owners and look forward to living in and enjoying the home with their family.”

“We spent over a year researching auction firms before choosing to work with Concierge,” stated the seller, Alan Goldfield. “Ultimately I selected Concierge because they are the most skilled firm in the country in dealing with ultra-luxury homes, and their entire team is impressive. It feels great to have the property sold, and we are happy to be moving on with our lives and to have found a family who will love Champ d’Or as much as we have.”

“This is undoubtedly one of the most monumental property auctions ever completed in the

United States,” stated Laura Brady, Vice President of Marketing for Concierge Auctions.

“Champ d’Or is without comparison, so it was similar to selling a one-of-a-kind piece of art. Our auction platform is ideal for remarkable properties such as this — to identify interest and drive the highest price in an expedited period of time. I am thankful for the tireless efforts of our team and for our partners at Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty, and I wish both our buyer and seller much happiness as they celebrate this transaction in the days ahead.”


Extraordinary Dallas Realtor, Broker and Humanitarian Charles Freeman, R.I.P.

It saddens my heart to report that Charles Freeman, co-founder of the Briggs-Freeman Sotheby’s brokerage firm, has died after losing a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer. Charles died peacefully Sunday.

Not only was Charles one of the most influential real estate leaders in the city, he was an amazing human being. A fourth generation Dallasite, Charles Freeman watched Dallas grow exponentially during his 46-plus year real estate career and placed his caring hands on that growth. Loved by virtually everyone in and out of real estate, his peers elected him a director of the Greater Dallas Association of Realtors Board, a position he held for three years.  In addition, he served as chairman of the Multiple Listing Service, and served for many years on the Standards of Practice Committee. Charles was President Emeritus of Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty, which has over 125 associates and far reaching global resources.

Charles was also a member of many local charities, including the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation of Dallas where he served on the Advisory board for over 18 years.  He was also an active communicant of St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church, where he was a member of the Acolyte Corps. Most vitally, Charles was the proud father of four wonderful children, and two step-children from his married to Sarah Freeman: Troy and Jennifer Freeman, Preston Freeman,  Herbie Deer, and Traci Deer Harrell, and stepchildren Clayton Smith and Erin and Stuart Smith.

Charles loved and lived life as abundantly as he sold real estate. A voracious gourmet, he was a member of several local Dallas gourmet groups including the Dallas Knife and Fork Club, as well as a tremendous adventurer: dove hunting, fly fishing, wind surfing, aviation, flying, aerobic planes. Charles also learned to rollerblade in his 60’s!

In an early morning message from his partner, Robbie Briggs said “our dear, sweet Charles has gone to be with the Lord. He will leave us with a huge hole that cannot be filled. We will miss his humor, his friendship, his love, his loyalty, his dignity, his wisdom, his irreverence, his integrity, and his presence.”

To quote long time Briggs-Freeman agent (and friend) Len Bourland:

“In my house are many mansions, now there is one with a Charles Freeman open house sign, and that’s where the fun people are!”

Texas ranger third baseman Adrian Beltre and his wife are real-estate heavy. They have listed for sale a seven-bedroom, 14.25-bath home at 340 Old Ranch Road in Bradbury, northeast of LA, near Pasadena and at the foot of Bliss Mountains.¬† Don’t gulp: the home is listed for $19.8 million.

The 16,600-square-foot house was built in 2010 in the Rancho Azusa subdivision. Lynwen Hughes-Boatman of Sotheby’s International Realty is the listing agent for the home, and Sotheby’s, of course, is associated with our very own Briggs-Freeman here in Dallas.

It’s a modern, Mediterranean-style number you see way too much of a lot of in LA:¬† the circular driveway, Corinthian columns for that palatial feel,¬† 35′ custom painted ceiling in the entry, inlaid marble fleurs, over-sized, dripping crystal chandelier after dripping crystal chandelier, & dual sweeping “Gone With The Wind” staircase. There is a¬† 2500 sq-ft guest house (perfect to accommodate a Middle East security force) with 3 beds & 2 baths, and my oh my to be a servant in this home: even the Cabana has a full kitchen with Viking appliances. (To clean all those bathrooms? Maybe I’ll take GE instead.) Besides all the bedrooms and formals and soaring high to the sky ceilings, there is a rec room/batting cage with bathroom, infinity pool, golf greens,¬† both tennis & basketball courts.

I would seriously market this lickety split to some of the wealthy Egyptians who are escaping right now. Maybe even Hosni Mubarak himself?

Adrian Beltre is currently the third baseman for the Texas Rangers. Previously, he played for the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Seattle Mariners, and the Boston Red Sox. He has won several awards including the Silver Slugger Award in 2004 and the same year was voted second in the National League MVP voting, just behind Barry Bonds. He also received the Fielding Bible Award for being the top MLB defensive third baseman in 2006 and 2008 and the Gold Glove award in 2007. Playing for the Red Sox in 2010, he had 28 home runs, 84 runs scored, and he led the Majors with 49 doubles. No word yet on where he is leasing in north Texas, but I’m sure searching.

And I’ll say he has a home run with this mansion. Cannot help but wonder if he’ll fetch anywhere near $19 million in this market, however. Especially with that furniture…

Robbie Briggs: Real Estate is Global, Baby, Global

I caught up with charged-up Briggs Freeman CEO Robbie Briggs for the low down on his new deal with Sothebys. After all, that was all any of us talked about last night at Duxiana. Did Robbie sell out? Is he retiring? What’s the story– inquiring real estate minds want to know all. Well, here’s the deal: last week Robbie and some BF agents were showing homes to 25 very wealthy Chinese citizens along with Mayor Leppert. They want to buy homes, In Dallas. Then there were the New Zealanders who came in to Big D on a private jet, looking at real estate. The point is Robbie Briggs gets it: real estate is going global, and he wants to position Briggs Freeman to be ready for it. So he just invested in more exposure for Briggs Freeman by relinquishing the firm’s Christies Great Estates affiliation and buying into Sotheby’s International Realty.

Did I say buy in? Yes, Robbie made an investment in his company’s future. From now on there will be a fee to Sotheby’s on every BF transaction so that BF can basically “have a guerilla for a partner,” says Robbie. What he means is that Sotheby’s takes those hefty fees BF pays¬†on each transaction and puts them to work developing state of the art technology, computer systems and websites designed to keep BF competitive not just in Dallas, but everywhere, and to bring in those referrals from folks who recognize the quality of the name. BF will have access to a 9000 member company. And here’s how BF listings have already changed: Any home $1.5 million or over goes into an E Gallery shown in every single Sotheby’s office IN EVERY COUNTRY.And get this: all of BF’s graphics have been translated into 15 languages with sales prices posted in 15 languages. And as for language, does anyone speak Mandarin?

“I’ll soon be looking for agents who speak different languages,” says Briggs.

(To be continued)