Defining Homes • Ask the EXPERTS

With the economy still in a wicked mess, reports are that the latest trend in homebuying is not buying. Renters are on the rise. But are they? Real estate source Inman reported in January that it is cheaper to buy in the majority of the country’s larger cities. Keith Jurow reported last year on World Property Channel that a Harris Interactive survey found renting a better option. So which is it? We asked locals in the industry how the trends are swaying the Dallas housing market and the frustrations behind them.

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Michael Litzinger

Michael Litzinger
William Davis Realty Uptown

The trend has affected my business significantly. The firm I recently moved to seems to be more in tune with today’s market. Their streamlined, online process requires less paperwork which makes it better for the client, a much quicker turn around for me and better for the environment.

Leasing does move property these days, and I am just glad the industry moves in some fashion whether it’s leasing or selling.

I do think the trend has affected us locally somewhat, but not nearly as severely as in most other areas. I still feel good about the Dallas market.  I know Realtors in other areas that can’t say the same.

Buyers are decreasing to some degree. Even with low interest rates, I’ve had a lot of buyers come to me and then disappear.

 

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Derrick Dawson

Derrick Dawson
Texas Pride Realty

As an active and producing Realtor also working in property management, I’d say the rental trend has picked up significantly, but that doesn’t mean it’s been ideal for property renters/owners or for the multi-family industry. The rental market has been stable but faces some challenges based on broken leases due to financial hardship or unemployment. Many are playing it safe by downsizing or combining rental homes based on economic conditions, being fearful of keeping their jobs and saving for the future.
Today is a buyer’s market and an ideal time to get out of the rent race. The downfall to the buyer’s market that I have seen personally is buyers and investors taking advantage of desperate people in today’s markets, possibly causing detriment to individuals or families in their time of need but also bringing down values in those areas making it harder for others to sell.

 

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Dan Flynn

 

Dan Flynn
Dave Perry-Miller InTown

The trend of leasing over buying has changed the way I preview properties in my area. Leasing is so hot now, I’ve looked at rentals and try to know the different apartment communities close by. Now I am much faster to respond to leasing needs.

I process far more leases to build my future list of clients. I try to educate and prepare them for the buying process down the road. Using a Realtor to find the perfect place to lease makes a lot of sense for those wanting to buy in the future but also for those who don’t really want to do the legwork.

I recently represented a seller who could not sell his property for the amount he was hoping for. Finding qualified buyers in his market and price range wasn’t easy. Another Realtor’s client was interested in leasing the property so

I had to have that conversation with my seller. The seller decided to go with the lease. While sales are still going strong, leasing has increased. While this really is the time to buy, I think all the media attention scares buyers. Potential buyers need to know that the market is stable here and we are one of the cities leading the nation in sales right now.  Go buy a house now or pay more for it later both in price and interest rates.

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Keith M. Thomas

Keith M. Thomas
1111 Apartment Locators

Although the economy has definitely affected us here, it is worse in other areas of the country. Dallas continues to grow and so I feel the trend’s impact on Dallas has been positive.

My company is a fully licensed real estate brokerage company and we handle all residential and commercial real estate transactions yet, our primary business is apartment locating. We want to maintain focus on renters, but we’ve created strategic partnerships with other real estate companies and have a referral program with them. We work closely with our clients to help with all of their real estate needs.

For homes that have reasonable mortgages there is good news. In Dallas, the rental market has significantly gone up, especially from 2010 to present to a  94-97 percent occupancy rate.

Buyers become renters for two reasons: First, they are able to get a nicer home for a lower monthly payment. And second, it doesn’t make sense to buy unless you’re planning to stay. However, buyers are increasing, oddly enough. MetroTex Association of Realtors reported that last August 2010 there were 1,223 properties sold and this August 2011 there were 1,485.

It’s a landlords’ market. Rents are at a premium and good ones go fast. When I show my clients rentals, they want to think about it, I encourage them to act quickly, because the unit is gone within a day or two. Why should homeowners take a loss on waiting for a qualified buyer, when they can rent quickly and hold out for the market to improve?

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 7, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Local briefs • 12.24.10

CoH plans Christmas Eve services

Cathedral of Hope United Church of Christ will hold five Christmas Eve services beginning at noon Friday, Dec. 24, with “A Shopper’s Christmas Eve” in the Interfaith Peace Chapel. Shoppers can buy gifts in the Sources of Hope gift shop, have their packages wrapped and worship during their lunch hour.

The Children and Families Service, with sing-alongs, puppets and more begins at 5 p.m., followed at 7 p.m. by Mass en Español in the Interfaith Peace Chapel.

Traditional candlelight communion worship services will be held at 9 p.m. and 11 p.m.

Services are free and open to all.

Pavillion holds Stocking Stuffer drive

The stocking stuffer benefit for Legacy Founders Cottage hospice continues through Friday, Christmas Eve, at Barbara’s Pavillion in Oak Cliff.

Patrons are asked to donate gifts to fill up the gigantic stockings at the bar and then donated to the Founders Cottage. Wish list items includes paper towels, Lysol, coffee, gift cards for groceries, disposable adult diapers (medium), cleaning supplies, hard candy, trash bags, Ziploc bags, disposable tableware, wipes, non-powdered latex gloves, games, etc.

Barbara’s Pavillion also has Christmas stockings on hand that patrons can purchase and decorate, with proceeds also benefiting Legacy Founders Cottage.

ONE Church in new location

The ONE Church, the only LGBT-affirming Apostolic Pentecostal church in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, now holds services each Sunday at 6 p.m. at Resource Center Dallas, 2701 Reagan St.

The church also holds prayer service each Thursday from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., followed by Bible study from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., also at Resource Center Dallas.

Tuesday Night Fellowship is from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Buffalo Wild Wings on Lemmon Avenue at Douglas Avenue.

For more information go to the church’s website at Dallas1Church.org.

Sadlek wins MTAR award

The MetroTex Association of Realtors has announced that Mark Sadlek from Republic Title is the 2010 Affiliate of the Year award winner. The announcement came at MTAR’s annual awards and charity event.

Sadlek has served on the MetroTex board of directors and is a MetroTex Leadership Academy Graduate, currently serving on the Leadership Committee.

He also serves on the Human Rights Campaign’s Board of Governors and as co-chair of the Federal Club. He co-founded and chaired Leadership Lambda Inc. in Dallas and has done planning and fundraising for Design Industry Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA).

“I have been amazed with Mark’s dedication to MetroTex this year,” said 2010 MetroTex President Kay Weeks of Ebby Halliday Realtors. “His contributions to our organization reflect his professionalism and devotion to the real estate industry.”
MetroTex has honored one of its affiliate members with this award annually since 1982.

Stonewall Denton elects officers

DENTON — Stonewall Democrats of Denton County, now completing its third year, has elected new officers for 2011.

Eloy Machuca of Flower Mound was elected as the second president in the chapter’s history. Outgoing founding President John McClelland did not seek re-election.

“I was honored to have lead this chapter and in becoming the first openly gay elected official in the county in my final year,” said McClelland. “Our members put a lot of faith in me. I felt it was the perfect time to get some new blood on our executive board.”
Joining Machuca will be Vice President Courtney Medina of Flower Mound, Treasurer Tod King of Lake Dallas and Secretary Stacey Langley of Denton.

“Our new officers are representative of our chapter being male, female, Caucasian, Hispanic, gay, straight and bisexual,” said Machuca. “Stonewall is intended to fight for everyone.”

Stonewall Democrats of Denton County has been instrumental in holding a Pride Weekend in the city of Denton, organizing rallies for the Prop 8 rulings, providing scholarships for community organizations and promoting progressive Democratic candidates.

Estate-planning seminar set

Attorney John McCall and Sparkman Hillcrest Family Service Director Ron Boson are sponsoring a free estate-planning seminar on Jan. 2 at 2 p.m. at Oak Cliff Coffee in the Bishop Arts District. Complimentary coffee and refreshments will be served. Seating is limited so call 214-942-1100 to reserve a seat.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 24, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

Realtors adopt non-discrimination policy

All members of North America’s largest trade organization must comply with amended code of ethics that now includes protection based on sexual orientation

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer taffet@dallasvoice.com

FAIR HOUSING | From left, Texas Pride Realty’s Bob McCranie and Leslie Wilson, Oregon Realtor Steve Strode, NAGLREP founder and Executive Director Jeff Berger, NAGLREP Director and Legislative Liaison Eric Kodner at the National Association of Realtors national meeting in New Orleans earlier this month after an amendment to the trade association’s code of ethics to include sexual orientation passed. (Courtesy Bob McCranie)

A suburban Dallas homeowner once posted this sign: “For Sale by Owner. No Queers.”

Within the city of Dallas, housing discrimination has been illegal since 2002, and if the ordinance had been in effect at the time, the homeowner could have been fined $500 for violating the city’s nondiscrimination housing ordinance.

But while some found the sign offensive, nothing was done.

The sign is now in the archives at Resource Center Dallas.

And since the National Association of Realtors voted to amend its code of ethics to prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation at its November meeting, that homeowner could no longer receive help from any of NAR’s more than 1 million members. Any Realtor showing that house would be violating NAR’s code of ethics.

NAR is the largest trade organization in North America.

When the National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals organized in 2007, passing this amendment to NAR’s code of ethics was an original goal.

A NAGLREP board member brought the amendment to the Wisconsin state association. That organization then officially introduced it to the national organization.

In May, NAR’s board of directors approved the amendment, which sent it for final approval by a vote by the general membership.

The amendment passed easily on a voice vote at the national meeting in New Orleans earlier this month. By NAR rules, since the proposal did not pass unanimously, opposition could call for a paper ballot, and an Arkansas Realtor who opposed the measure did just that.

But even with the secret vote, the measure passed with 93 percent of the 25,000 convention attendees voting in favor.

According to Jeff Berger, founder of NAGLREP, the only opposition that was voiced concerned federal fair housing laws that do not include sexual orientation.

“But there wasn’t much resistance,” he said.

Still, opposition was expressed on the group’s blog, Berger said, citing the usual biblical and religious excuses to discriminate. He pointed out that those Realtors writing anti-gay comments on the blog would now be considered to be in violation of the organization’s code of ethics and could be sanctioned.

Berger called the code the industry’s own mini-ENDA.

“Clients can’t be discriminated against,” he said. “Realtors can’t discriminate against each other.”

And everyone who works in an office with a Realtor designation now is bound by non-discrimination policies that include sexual orientation.

Should someone violate the code, Berger said they could be brought before NAR’s grievances committee. If found in violation, they risk anything from a warning to losing their membership and the Realtor designation.

Jeff Updike of RE/MAX Urban in Downtown Dallas serves on the board of NAR.

“I don’t know that it’s going to have a huge impact,” Updike said, but he wasn’t downplaying the significance of the new rule.

Updike believes that any sort of discrimination is just bad business and that any agent that does discriminate will probably not survive in the competitive industry.

Berger said that in the last six months, 10 cases of housing discrimination against gays and lesbians have been documented. An older case in Dallas involving an agent refusing to sell property in Oak Lawn because of the area’s connection to the LGBT community ended with that agent leaving the business. Her license status is “suspended.”

NAGLREP has also been asked to prepare a “best practices” chart for Realtors when doing business with the LGBT community.

“We will be presenting it to NAR at the midyear meeting in Washington, D.C. in May 2011,” Berger said.

The last time the NAR code of ethics was changed, Berger said, was in 1988 to include families with children and people with handicaps. That change was made in conjunction with a change to federal law.

“Our next goal is to see the federal Fair Housing law amended,” Berger said.

Updike would also like federal housing regulations to match the new industry standard. He said he expects NAR to support without lobbying for that change.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 26, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

Nondiscrimination amendment goes to secret ballot at National Association of Realtors meeting

Realtor Bob McCranie

At the national meeting of the National Association of Realtors in New Orleans, 25,000 attendees voted on a code of ethics amendment that would prohibit discrimination against gays and lesbians by members of the organization.

A voice vote was held earlier today and the chair believed that the measure had passed by a two-thirds vote, according to gay Carrollton Realtor Bob McCranie, who’s attending the conference. McCranie said the Collin County association voted in favor of the nondiscrimination measure.

The chair moved to the next item on the agenda, but the next speaker called to reopen the nondiscrimination measure and asked for a secret ballot. That vote is now taking place and results will be available later this afternoon, McCranie said.

If the measure passes, it would be part of the code of ethics that must be followed nationwide by the 2 million members of the association.

UPDATE: Nondiscrimination passed by 93 percent of the vote in a secret ballot.

“This is a monumental moment for fair housing,” said Todd Shipman, the president of the National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals.

His organization has been working on the issue with the National Association of Realtors for about 3 years, he told Dallas Voice by phone from the convention in New Orleans. He said that there is a patchwork of laws across the country but that his organization will continue to advocate for a national fair housing law that includes LGBT people.

McCranie said that the new regulation applies to all real estate professionals who have the Realtor designation. He said that now all Realtors must work with all clients equally.

—  David Taffet