Andrews

This three-bedroom, two-bath home in Andrews is perfect for a family.

Finding a three-bedroom, two-bath rental that doesn’t break the bank is hard – which is why we went a little further afield this week, to Andrews.

Andrews, which is in the center of the Permian Basin, has been called the Oilfield Capitol of Texas. With a little more than 13,000 people living there, the town boasts that it is 100 percent debt free – as is Andrews County.

Andrews ISD boasts an enviable four-year graduation rate of 96 percent (the state average is 89 percent) and an average of one teacher for every 14.2 students. The district has a Texas Education Agency accountability rating of “Met Standard.” (more…)

Harvey

A Texas National Guardsman shakes hands with a resident after assisting his family during Hurricane Harvey flooding in Houston, Texas, Aug. 27, 2017 (Army National Guard photo by Lt. Zachary West).

How will Hurricane Harvey impact Texas long term – and what are people doing now to assist with the most pressing needs? We’ll look at these questions in this week’s news roundup. (more…)

Picturesque country living.

After yesterday’s high winds knocking out power in just about every direction in Dallas, It has made the notion of moving to the country even more attractive. Of course, I wouldn’t want to move too far. But Celina is a healthy distance away without being out in the boonies.

Now, some farmhouse properties are just plain boring, outdated, and truly overdone. This home, however, is just perfect for a family who wants neighbors with a little bit more space between them, room to run around, and a pool, too.

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Alleged Thief Stan "Dan" Tucker also goes by Tim Allen.

Alleged Thief Stan “Dan” Tucker also goes by Tim Allen.

We sounded the alarm about Stan “Dan” Tucker, a middle-aged man who is targeting open houses and owner-marketed properties. He comes in and heads straight for the medicine cabinet, stealing prescription medication while touring homes. Realtor Lydia Player tipped us off that this guy has been all over North Texas and Oklahoma, touring homes and snatching things from people’s bathrooms and bedrooms.

“His mode of operation is to pose as a potential home buyer. He claims to be looking for a property for his son, or himself or something like that. Currently it looks like he is targeting homes that are for sale by owner. Security is a major issue when selling a home without an agent and he is proof. Letting a stranger in your home is risky business for a homeowner.

Based on the calls and emails I’ve gotten, he has robbed homes from Waco to Stillwater, Oklahoma. This slippery snake is good at what he does and seems to always avoid getting caught in the act. Yesterday, I got a call from a homeowner in Lake Highlands where he did his usual routine.”

But who is this guy? And why is he stealing?

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Distribution of starts by priceThis is very good news for home builders, not such great news for consumers. New home ownership is getting more expensive, even in North Texas. Hence all those apartments going up:

“New homes priced under $150,000 are rapidly disappearing from the market because of shrinking lot inventory, rising land and construction costs. There are just over 5,000 developed lots available for home in this price range and they are not being replaced. Only 2% of the new lot deliveries in Dallas-Fort Worth last year were for homes priced under $200,000. Buyers searching for a new home in this price range are being pushed to the existing home market in most submarkets. They may soon be forced to stay in the rental market,” said David Brown, Regional Director of Metrostudy’s Dallas Ft. Worth Market.

Steve Brown says that North Texas home starts were up 2 percent in the second quarter of 2014 from 2013, and that new home prices are soaring thanks to rising construction costs and ever-rising land prices.

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Alpine Dan NelsonPorchatSunset2a_edited-1.jp gIt’s that time of the year where I want a second home so much I could scream! After being in Albany last weekend, now I have Alpine to drool over: Dallas-based designer extraordinaire Dan Nelson has created an oh so comfy retreat inside a real log cabin in Alpine for a Dallas family. I honestly never thought I would want a log house — stone and metal-roofed Fredericksburg casita or clapboard Seaside bungalow, yes.

But now methinks I have a new house heartthrob: the sexy log cabin. Check out Dan’s handiwork (and a whole lot more) over on SecondShelters.com… (more…)

Z-ComingSoonsCall it another by-product of our hot, inventory-deprived real estate market that was created out of the wreckage of the worst recession since the Great Depression.Last week while the nation’s top real estate editors were gathered in Houston, Zillow launched a new on line real estate search to help consumers find pre-market listings.

Call them Hip Pockets, call them Whisper Listings, whatever you call them, they are properties that are NOT yet in MLS, but are available for sale. An agent may or may not be involved. (more…)

Raphael HouseIf you love Swiss Avenue, you will absolutely adore Ennis, Texas, just 30 minutes south of Dallas. You need to get down there tomorrow for an unprecedented home tour and luncheon featuring the most historical homes in Ennis listed by some tip top Dallas agents: Eric Holmes, Joe Kobell, and Lauria Mah. These three have partnered to introduce us to some fabulous properties a wee drive south of downtown.

I know Ennis. At one point, I think my husband delivered every baby in Ennis and I have spent many a holiday party at Hamilton House. We have also been to the beautiful, historic Raphael House, now owned by the darling of the design world, Miss Harriet Adams! I love Harriet with all my heart and soul and swear to bring you her story someday! Harriet remodeled Raphael House and I saw it before her talents ever touched it. We have stayed there, having attended one of her famous “Lights of Ennis” parties. Oh my, that was a night to remember. First of all, it was the night of Hurricane Rita, so the interstate was shut down southbound to allow more people to evacuate north. Second, we were spending the night at Raphael House so Candy enjoyed her wine a little more than usual. She went bidding and thought she had bid on “garden gnomes” (Which weighed a ton, how to get them home? Who knows, who cares, just drink wine!) but alas, she had bid on a trip to JOHANNESBURG as in Africa. I know, garden gnomes, Johannesburg, yeah, it was definitely a blonde night. (more…)