8538 San Pedro Front Angle

Photos: Shoot2Sell

Drive by this gorgeous modern farmhouse in Forest Hills and try not to fall in love. Chances are, the house is going to win and you’ll fall head over heels for this beauty, which has clean modern lines throughout and stunning custom interiors.

This is, truly, one of those homes where you think “Why on earth would anyone want to sell this beauty?”

The truth of the matter is that the homeowners are selling their dream home kicking and screaming. Their loss could be your gain, and what an amazing gain it could be.

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Jane and Daniel Cheek

Jane and Daniel Cheek with sons Ike (1) and Abe (3). (Photo: Maryam Salassi)

I got to know Jane Cheek and her cute little boy, Abe, when she was teaching a toddler art class in East Dallas a little over a year ago. This talented stay-at-home-mom, a former art teacher, came up with the cutest ideas for crafts for our little buggers. When she and her husband, Daniel, bought a home up in Royal Highlands Village, I adored watching her transform their three-bedroom semi-detached into a gorgeous property. She managed to do it just months after having her second little boy, Ike, too.

Now with two boys and another bun in the oven, Jane and Daniel Cheek are moving back to their hometown of Raleigh, N.C. Our loss was some other homebuyer’s gain, as their adorable home was snapped up in a matter of days, all due to the brilliant marketing of Keller Williams Elite agent Vicki White.

Read on for their real estate story …

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2001 N. Buckner Front

Everyone in East Dallas knows about the “Underground House.” But maybe it’s time to re-brand this White Rock Lake-area landmark? That’s what Keller Williams Elite agent Vicki White thinks. Now priced at $870,000 (down from $1 million), this Frank L. Moreland-designed earth-sheltered home at 2001 (as in 2001: A Space Odyssey) N. Buckner is an absolute steal!

This home is a fantastic “green” home, and thanks to the before-its-time design and solar panel array on the roof, it only costs an average of $200 a month to power this 23-year-old, 4,561-square-foot home. Not only that, it would cost almost twice its listing price to build a home of this caliber today.

2001 N. Buckner Living

So, what’s turning people off?

“Several people have been tempted, however at the original price buyers did not want to take on updating the bathrooms. The bedrooms are small, but almost none of the interior walls are load bearing so the house could be easily reconfigured,” Vicki said. “It is built sort of like a circus tent, load bearing around the perimeter of the house and two center concrete supports.  The living room is almost 2,000 square feet, so many possibilities.”

If this wasn’t out of my price range, I would totally jump at the chance to buy this home. It just makes financial sense, as Vicki explained: “With this reduction, a buyer could spend $100,000 in updates and still not be at our original price. I really feel this would have sold if it had updated baths and perhaps some reconfiguration of  bedrooms.  Kitchen has already been done and is lovely.”

2001 N. Buckner Kitchen

Vicki is right — there is so much potential in this home. I really, really love it, especially the almost 2 acre lot. Wouldn’t it be cool to have a sort of earthship thing going on here? Add on a cool greenhouse, maybe a water collection system, a chicken coop, and see how close you can get to self-sufficiency right in the heart of East Dallas!

2001 N. Buckner Roof

“This house is great for someone wanting ultimate privacy and seclusion, or a ‘prepper’ that feels there could be a time he needs to hunker down in a safe place, or a totally ‘green’ type person that would never use a plastic grocery sack, or someone paranoid of tornados, etc.,” Vicki said. “It is so very peaceful on the side of the house that is open and looks out at heavy wooded area, the banks of a creek.”

I’m sure this fantastic landmark will find the perfect buyer soon!

2001 Buckner

2001 N. Buckner Front

Everyone in East Dallas knows about the “Underground House.” But maybe it’s time to re-brand this White Rock Lake-area landmark? That’s what Keller Williams Elite agent Vicki White thinks. Now priced at $870,000 (down from $1 million), this Frank L. Moreland-designed earth-sheltered home at 2001 (as in 2001: A Space Odyssey) N. Buckner is an absolute steal!

This home is a fantastic “green” home, and thanks to the before-its-time design and solar panel array on the roof, it only costs an average of $200 a month to power this 23-year-old, 4,561-square-foot home. Not only that, it would cost almost twice its listing price to build a home of this caliber today.

2001 N. Buckner Living

So, what’s turning people off?

“Several people have been tempted, however at the original price buyers did not want to take on updating the bathrooms. The bedrooms are small, but almost none of the interior walls are load bearing so the house could be easily reconfigured,” Vicki said. “It is built sort of like a circus tent, load bearing around the perimeter of the house and two center concrete supports.  The living room is almost 2,000 square feet, so many possibilities.”

If this wasn’t out of my price range, I would totally jump at the chance to buy this home. It just makes financial sense, as Vicki explained: “With this reduction, a buyer could spend $100,000 in updates and still not be at our original price. I really feel this would have sold if it had updated baths and perhaps some reconfiguration of  bedrooms.  Kitchen has already been done and is lovely.”

2001 N. Buckner Kitchen

Vicki is right — there is so much potential in this home. I really, really love it, especially the almost 2 acre lot. Wouldn’t it be cool to have a sort of earthship thing going on here? Add on a cool greenhouse, maybe a water collection system, a chicken coop, and see how close you can get to self-sufficiency right in the heart of East Dallas!

2001 N. Buckner Roof

“This house is great for someone wanting ultimate privacy and seclusion, or a ‘prepper’ that feels there could be a time he needs to hunker down in a safe place, or a totally ‘green’ type person that would never use a plastic grocery sack, or someone paranoid of tornados, etc.,” Vicki said. “It is so very peaceful on the side of the house that is open and looks out at heavy wooded area, the banks of a creek.”

I’m sure this fantastic landmark will find the perfect buyer soon!

2001 Buckner

Since our Monday Morning Millionaire is so fresh to the market, we didn’t even have interior photos to share earlier today. But now we do! And talk about a poster child home for perfection, 5543 Edlen (listed with Vicki White, Keller Williams Elite, but not yet in MLS) is it! I am loving those baby’s butt smooth as silk wall finishes, the curved ceilings, the limestone and wood floors, the huge master. And you know how much I love “Keeping Rooms”! Well, this one is a keeper! Coming up: the Master Bath!edlen entry Edlen living room edlen dining Edlen family Edlen kit (2)Edlen keeping rm edlen study Edlen master Edlen pool Edlen rear pool back edlen patio

Grandwick front burningI feel very sorry for David D. Anderson tonight. Very. Not only did he lose a home to fire, he has no insurance on the home at all. None. Nada. Anderson is the man who owns the “Scientology” house at 9401 Dixie Lane in East Dallas that burned Thursday in a 3-alarm fire, bringing 17 fire trucks to the usually quiet neighborhood and completely blocking off Buckner.

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David is kind of like me: he loves homes, historical homes in particular. If I could, I’d buy homes like shoes: a Tudor, a mid-century, a Georgian. I have always wanted a white antebellum with columns. Is it a sickness? I don’t know. But I am feeling David’s pain here in Preston Hollow (that isn’t really Preston Hollow), where I live. I didn’t see the same fire trucks Joanna and Dave saw, didn’t smell the smoke, but I recalled the day Chateau De Triomphe burned on Strait Lane. A searing hot day in July, 2002. It was just devastating. I always try to be positive, which is why tonight I am thinking (as I did back in 2002, when Triomphe burned) that we need to be very, very thankful no was was injured or killed, no animals, no humans. That is what is important. Before Chateau du Triomphe was gutted by fire, and gutted it was, it was on the market for $44.9 million, and all in all with porticos, guest house, garage, loggias and all, it was about 73,000 square feet, one of the largest homes in the country.

The “Scientology House” or Grandwick, it’s original name, was one of the largest homes in East Dallas: 10,021 square feet.

Tonight Realtor Vicki White was with David Anderson as he watched one of his homes reduced to cinders, being bulldozed. She met him, of course, when he bought Belle Nora on Garland Road. According to DCAD, Anderson owns about 45 homes that I could count.

Vicki’s husband called her at the WCR Dallas Tea and Fashion Show at Brookhaven and told her that Grandwick was on fire. At one point, when the Scientologists owned the home, Vicki lived right behind it.

“They had the neighbors over, and were very nice, good neighbors, says Vicki. “That’s when I saw this beautiful glass etching of the Last Supper, a huge, commissioned piece.”

It was truly beautiful, says Vicki, and the Scientologists assured her it was going no where.

David knew that glass etching was in that house, and he begged firefighters to save it but knew there was no way. Neighbors say they heard popping glass right before the fire started.

“He had a lot of valuables in the house,” says Vicki. The land value on DCAD is $206,000.

She also told me that the house was constantly being vandalized by kids, suffering broken chandeliers, graffiti on the wall, and David even found snippets of homework in the front yard. He apparently had trouble getting insurance because it’s difficult and costly to insure vacant homes, Vicki told me. He had recently gotten an offer from someone who wanted to lease the home, but turned them down. David told KXAS he was renovating the home. Neighbors gathered round the immense burning house told Vicki that the home, now rubble, will have to have the rubble cleared off within 30 days. She said it could cost David up to $100,000 to haul it.

I wonder about the 30 days — we had a home burn in our neighborhood and the carcass remained up for two years, blue tarp and all, while they fought their insurance company over a settlement.

But 9401 Dixie was not insured. And this is almost eery: Vicki was picking up the phone to call David and tell him she had someone who inquired about BUYING Grandwick two days ago.

But as she picked up that phone, her husband was on the other line, telling her the pink stucco estate on Dixie was in flames.

 

 

Grandwick back Grandwick back 2

belle_nora_new_sign-700

You guys, that’s dedication. When I sent Dallas City Center powerhouse Realtor Vicki White this Q&A, I totally didn’t expect her to answer so promptly. When she added that she was sorry that it was late (what?) because she’s on vacation in Hawaii (DOUBLE WHAT??) I was trying to pick my jaw up from the floor.

But from what I hear from her colleagues, that’s just Vicki for you. She’s always going the extra mile, looking out for clients and friends. She’s always chasing down a lead, making things right, and negotiating like the sun won’t rise tomorrow if she doesn’t do her very best. She’s a local legend that sold Dallas’ iconic Belle Nora mansion, and land sakes is she driven!

So yeah, we are thrilled that she answered a few questions for us! Find out more about Vicki after the jump!

CandysDirt.com: Where are you from?

Vicki White: Both my husband and I are both born and raised in east Dallas. We have found that is quite rare, as most of our friends are from out of town. We both grew up near White Rock Lake/ Casa Linda. My dad was principal of gaston jr high for 10 years and we were active in white rock Methodist church. My family has deeply planted roots here.

CD: How did you get into real estate?

Vicki WhiteVicki: Real estate really got into me instead of the other way around. When I was in preschool, I would fantasize about the old shanties I saw on the highways going to Tennessee every summer to see my dads family. For hours in my mind I would I imagine painting the house, fixing windows and putting up curtains, adding rocking chairs. It would totally entertain me on the drive. Jim and I lived in our first house on Parkford in Lake highlands for a long time while our son was In elementary school. Then we started flipping, quite by accident. We purchased the worst house in the better neighborhood and made it the best. Sold it and did it again. After 21 flips (that means being at the closing table 42 times!) I started a staging business. I did that for 3 years while also managing a townhouse development. All of the above was so physically labor intensive that the next natural step was to become a Realtor. I felt like it was my calling from day one.

CD: You’ve represented some very famous Dallas properties, including Bella Nora and the “Underground” house on Buckner. How do you deal with the Looky-Loos and other problems that crop up?

Vicki: I have been so blessed to have some great high profile listings. Belle Nora on White Rock Lake was my first. I cut down on looky-loo appointments by having public open houses. I never had less than100 people attend. I had lots of help and it created energy for the property. The underground house would be very difficult to have an open house, and I do get a fair amount of people just wanting to see it. It is agent to meet and I do ask the agent if the buyer is qualified. However the seller is very nice about letting groups tour. We have had several Architectural groups want to see it and we have accommodated them.

CD: Where is home for you in Dallas?

Vicki: We still live in east Dallas near Casa Linda. We have moved back and forth from lake highlands and love both areas. It’s really crazy how many of my high school friends have bought homes in the area where we grew up.

CD: And you drive a … let me guess, Mercedes Benz?

Vicki: So, I just got a new car for my recent “significant” birthday. I am So not a car person. I could almost not tell you what any of my friends drive. I loved my 11 year old Escalade truck, but it was beginning to require a lot of repairs, so my husband got me a Mercedes Benz E350.

CD: What was your best/highest sale?

Vicki: My favorite listings? Hard to decide. I loved Belle Nora. Not only was I the agent but also sort of the caretaker since the owner lived in Mexico. That house really got in my soul. There were two other magnificent properties with wonderful sellers, one on San Rafael in Forest Hills and another on Waggoner in Preston Hollow.

CD: Likewise, what was your most challenging or memorable transaction?

Vicki: My most memorable sale was a listing where my sellers were so dear, but they were the executors of an estate where each family member only spoke through attorneys. I could write a book about that one, but hate to put it out there right now. Trust me, it was an episode of Jerry Springer!!

CD: How quickly have you ever turned a house?

Vicki: My quickest sale? I have had numerous that we’re sold before I put them on MLS.

CD: How much did you sell last year?

Vicki: We had close to a $13 million year in 2012. That is with just me and one full time executive assistant, Karen peeler. She is the best ever and I could not come close to doing this without her.

CD: What have you learned about selling that makes you so successful?

Vicki: We are great at “touching” our data base regularly and staying in touch with our clients and friends. We just came up with our new tag line last year….luxury service at any price. We are really doing our best to make that a reality.

CD: If you ever change careers for an encore you’ll…

Vicki: I can’t imagine what I would be doing if not real estate now. I truly believe I have found my Calling. I guess volunteering in my community would be my second choice.

CD: Do you have a second home? If so, where?

Vicki: We don’t have a second home, but my parents have a ranch in east Texas that we can use to escape. Plus we are blessed by wonder friends that take us to Hawaii and jamaica every year for the last dozen years. It is the ONLY time I really relax.

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I know a couple of people, it seems, who were on that miserable Carnival Cruise Ship “Triumph” that turned a party boat into a nightmare because of a fire in the engine room. Dallas City Center agent extraordinaire Vicki White — she sold Belle Nora — her assistant Karen Peeler and friend Kim Hext were on board for what they thought would be four nights of fun celebrating Kim’s 50th birthday. Little did Vicki know she is one tough cookie with great survival skills, essential to an agent whether negotiating a contract or a place in a food line with 4,000 hungry, rude, desperate people.

The fire also made her miss four closings.

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Sparkles before the engine fire

“We were supposed be back Monday morning bright and early to work,” says Vicki. “We had four closings last week and we just didn’t make it.”

Vicki says they had no idea the world was watching and worrying about the passengers. It was quite scary at times, she said, and she recalls looking at the grand staterooms and wondering if this was what the passengers on the Titanic must have felt like, especially when the lights went black.

The trio began the cruise on Thursday February 7 and were supposed to be docked by Monday the 11th. But early that Monday morning the fire blew out the ship’s engine room, crippling the ship’s electricity which meant no power except for whatever eeked out of generators.

And no flushing toilets.

“They gave us instructions on how to poop within 2 hours of the fire,” says Vicki. They were told to pee in the showers because the commodes were not functioning, and stewards passed out red “poop bags” which they then picked up and stored somewhere in a separate room. Sometimes you bussed your own poop bag, like birthday girl Kim who picked up a few others along the way. Kind of like a Pooper Scooper.

Vicki says a lot of what she’s read in the media has been over stated and exaggerated – she never saw floors covered in feces. If anything, it was some passengers themselves who made the unfortunate incident more of a disaster: the food hoarders.

“Right after the fire there were long lines for food — 2 to 3 hours — and people just hoarded food,” says Vicki, like the one woman who took six hot dogs. But the ship corrected that the second day by eliminating self-serve.

“You’d look at people’s plates and they were eating like it was their last meal,” says Vicki.

Vicki says she managed one survival feat she never thought she was capable of’: pull a hot dog out of the trash and eat it. “It was clean, in a bun, had no condiments, I broke off where the bite was and just ate the weiner –I didn’t die, I didn’t get sick!”

She took Heineken beer from the fridge, poured it in wine glasses and pretended it was wine!

On Day 2 an attorney set up on the ship’s deck, signing up potential plaintiffs for the class action lawsuit due to the fire and resulting “primitive cruise conditions.”

Vicki was very scared twice when they were told to don life jackets.

“We put on all our jewelry and went to our rooms to get the life jackets when the lights went off, it was pitch black” she says. “Then they came back on.”

The ship also listed seriously to one side when the tugboat arrived, and Vicki worried the whole ship would flip faster than one of her listings.

The first day there was no running water, it returned on day 2 of what she calls the “survival cruise”. Sinks worked, still no commodes, and passengers could clean out the potty showers. No electricity, but lots of emergency lights at night were on. The people who created Tent City, as they called it, were passengers from the very lowest decks whose cabins were completely dark with no electricity. Vicki and the girls had sprung for an upper cabin with a balcony, so they almost always had some form of light and another Godsend on that cruise: fresh air. But the Tent City people had fun, she said, creating a camping environment. At some point a helicopter brought in steak and lobster, bagels and cream cheese, and the entertainers grilled chicken. Bottled water was gone the first day, everyone used and re-used cups for fresh water and drinks — no big deal.

The crew, says Vicki, was amazing.

“They did everything for us on 3 hour sleep shifts: the girl who ran spa was night security, the entertainers grilled chicken, got activities going, kept everyone’s spirits up.”

They ended up on the water four extra days than what they had planned, 4000 people crammed onto a disabled cruise ship floating aimlessly in the Gulf of Mexico. The crippled ship brought out either the best, or the worst, in people says Vicki, like the food hoarders.

There were those who were bitchy and complaining, and those who made the best of it, she says.

“One woman had a heart episode right behind us in the food line,” says Vicki. “A neurologist was there, he pitched in, and a 6-year-old girl gave up her teddy bear to put under the woman’s head.”

One woman was the most popular on the ship: she had a working commode in her bathroom.

On board, Vicki heard rumors that the last time the Triumph was out, it had engine problems. If so, says Vicki, whose husband is a retired pilot, it should not have been sent out until fully repaired.

So I had to ask: Would you go on a cruise again?

Yes, says Vicki emphatically. When it was good it was really good, they just need to monitor the equipment better. Carnival has offered a full refund plus a free cruise equal to the value of whatever the passenger bought plus reimbursement of most on-board services, like Vicki’s $400 spa services, plus $500 per passenger. Of course, the delay kept her from four closings, and she lost one client who listed with another agent because time was of the essence.

When she returns to the sea, these items are included on Vicki’s packing list: electric candles, a bottle of alcohol which came in quite handy, a mini flashlight, hand sanitizer, maybe even a filtered face mask. Also a power supply strip: folks with these were even more popular than the gal with the flushing commode.

This story has a very happy, jet-setty ending: Vicki’s husband is a retired pilot. A friend lent him his Lear Jet and he picked up the girls and had them back to Dallas while people were still disembarking the Triumph.

“We were first off, and our feet were on Mobile, Alabama soil less than 25 minutes, “says Vicki. No, she didn’t want to stop and check out beach front property on the Gulf shore. There was catered food on board the plane, flowers, and best of all…

A functioning loo. Not a red bag.

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