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.

……………………

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.

 

……………………

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.

 

……………………

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.

……………………

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

LifeWalk steps off Sunday in Lee Park

Nobles says that park will not be fenced this year but is worried about added cost and barrier affecting next year’s event

KICKING UP THEIR HEELS | The LifeWalk organizing committee gets ready for Sunday.

 

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

New requirements by the city of Dallas could affect proceed totals from this year’s AIDS Arms LifeWalk, and at least one more new requirement is expected to be added to the list next year, according to LifeWalk organizers.

The 21st annual LifeWalk steps off from Lee Park on Oct. 2 at 1 p.m. for the 3.2-mile walk. Registration begins at 11:30 a.m. Last year’s event raised $401,000 and this year’s goal is $500,000.

Although thousands of people are expected for the event, Lee Park will remain unfenced this year, even though the city has said such gatherings will require fencing in the future.

Officials with the Dallas Tavern Guild, which stages the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade and the Festival in Lee Park each year as part of Dallas’ annual LGBT Pride celebration, decided to get ahead of the new requirement by fencing in Lee Park this year for the festival, although the city requirement had not yet gone into effect.

Tavern Guild officials also chose to charge a $5 admission fee to the festival this year to help offset expenses and raise extra funds that will be distributed to parade beneficiaries.

The admission fee raised the ire of some in the community, and attendance at the festival was down compared to last year. But Tavern Guild Executive Director Michael Doughman said the drop was not significant, and noted that the admission fee brought in about $25,000 that will be divided among beneficiaries.

But AIDS Arms Executive Director Raeline Nobles said new city requirements have already had an impact on LifeWalk, and she is worried that the new fencing requirements could affect next year’s walk.

“There were a lot more expenses from the city this year,” she said. “It really hits the bottom line.”

The cost of fencing next year will add an additional, unwelcome expense. But Nobles said she isn’t going to worry about that until after this weekend’s event. Right now, her main concern is getting people out to participate in this year’s fundraiser.

“Anyone can participate in LifeWalk,” Nobles said. “You can walk alone or bring friends or join a team. We even have poop-out vans: In case you can’t walk the entire three-mile route, someone will pick you up and bring you back to the park to have a good time.”

She also invited people to just come to the park and cheer.

“We need cheerleaders at the start and finish and at the water stations,” Nobles said. “We have pompoms for anyone who wants to cheer the walkers on.”

Registration for LifeWalk is $40 for people and $10 for dogs participating in LifeBark. People get a T-shirt and dogs get a bandana to show their support for people with HIV.

AIDS Arms is the primary beneficiary of LifeWalk, but other organizations also receive funds from the event, including AIDS Services of Dallas, Legal Hospice of Texas, Turtle Creek Chorale, The Women’s Chorus, Bryan’s House, Resource Center Dallas and the Greg Dollgener Memorial AIDS Fund.

Money raised goes toward programming rather than capital costs. The chorale uses funds for their HIV fund, including giving tickets to performances through the year to people with AIDS.

Nobles praised that effort, saying that socializing is an important holistic element in treating HIV.

The Women’s Chorus will present a program at AIDS Arms in March on National HIV Women’s Day. Those expenses, Nobles said, should be covered by the group’s LifeWalk proceeds.

Nobles said it would be tempting for AIDS Arms to use the money to finish paying off the agency’s new Trinity Health and Wellness Center in Oak Cliff. She said that the new facility cost more than $2 million, and AIDS Arms needs to raise just $35,000 more to pay off the facility.

Trinity Health and Wellness Center opened in September and will have its formal grand opening in two weeks.

But despite the temptation, AIDS Arms will instead use proceeds from LifeWalk to support programs for clients at Trinity as well as at AIDS Arms’ older clinic, Peabody Health Center in South Dallas.

AIDS Arms also uses the money to administer HIV tests to more than 3,500 people a year and for case management for more than 3,400 people.

LifeWalk began in 1990 as a fundraiser for Oak Lawn Community Services. When that agency closed, management of the event moved to AIDS Arms.

LifeWalk Co-chair Marvin Green noted that his Green Team will mark its 20th year of participation in LifeWalk. He said he put the team together for the first time in the second year of LifeWalk because he had already lost 20 friends to AIDS.

That first year, three team members raised $75. This year, the 32-member Green Team has collected about $22,000.

Co-chair Fred Harris said that there were quite a few new teams this year.

“We’re reaching out to new communities,” Harris said. “There’s new energy. We’re branching outside Oak Lawn.”

He said teams are using creative new ways to raise money and AIDS Arms has actively brought in new sponsors such as Chipotle.

“Stoli is coming with a first-ever LifeWalk drink,” Nobles said. Returning sponsor Caven Enterprises will serve beer and Ben E. Keith donated iced tea.

Harris said planning has gone well, and that “LifeWalk is a well-oiled machine.”

Harris said he has seen more use of social media this year than ever, reaching out to people outside the Metroplex.

“This year Facebook has become a very powerful tool,” he said, not just for fundraising but also for recruiting walkers.

Last year, about 3,500 people walked, and this year, “Registration is ahead of where we were this time last year,” Harris said.

Waterpalooza, another AIDS Arms event, was moved to Pride weekend this year, just two weeks prior to LifeWalk. Harris said they took advantage of that event to sign up teams and walkers and generate excitement for this weekend’s walk.

Among the new teams, Harris said, are the DFW Sisters.

“Their efforts have been tireless,” he said. “They raise the bar.”

Nobles said that WFAA Channel 8 morning anchor Ron Corning will serve as M.C. in Lee Park. Although he’s appeared at several events since arriving in Dallas, this is the first big public event the openly gay television host has emceed.

LifeWalk received the Human Rights Campaign family-friendly designation, and Nobles said there will be bounce houses, clowns and face-painting for children.

Harris said the event is pet-friendly as well, “because pets are our family.”

There will be games and puppy pools for dogs as well as doggie adoptions, Nobles said.

She said the day would be a lot of fun but asked people to participate because the need is greater than ever.

“With the growth in the number of newly-infected people in Dallas County who need help in this economy, we’re seeing people who never would ask but must,” she said.

Next year, Nobles said, she would like to see LifeWalk return to Oak Lawn, but new city regulations for events may change those plans. Among the events changing plans this year because of the city involved Lone Star Ride.

Last year, Lone Star Riders participated in LifeWalk on bike. This year, city regulations banned bikes from walks so LSR riders who participate will have to walk.

Green was thinking about bigger plans for future LifeWalks. Other cities that raise more money stage longer walks. He said he’d love to use the new Downtown Deck Park that should be completed next year and dreamed of seeing LifeWalkers crossing the new suspension bridge that should be open in March 2012.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 30, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

In 2011 Neil Patrick Harris Will ‘Try Not To Insult Aged Soap Stars’

We demanded to know your New Year's resolutions, but we didn't think Neil Patrick Harris got the message. Alas, he's come forward with his own list of self-promises in 2011, all focusing on the body, mind, and spirit.

CONTINUED »


Permalink | 2 comments | Add to del.icio.us


Tagged: , , , ,

Queerty

—  admin

News: Kamala Harris, Serbia, Jason Mraz, Prancer, Chicago

Road WaPo: Activists press Obama to push for marriage equality.

Harris RoadKamala Harris: The Democrats' anti-Palin.

RoadWatch: Holiday, erm, greetings from Ke$ha.

RoadSerbian far right leader charged in attacks on gays: "Prosecutors are charging a far right Serbian leader with orchestrating violence during a gay pride march in Belgrade in October at which more than 150 people were hurt. The Higher Court in Belgrade says Milan Obradovic, leader of extremist group Obraz, or Honor, is charged with 'committing violent acts at a public gathering.'"

RoadPrancer, the sassiest reindeer?

RoadChristmas miracle? Chicago gay health center gets cash to remain open.

RoadJason Mraz is engaged to a Prettyman.

RoadWaPo: Smithsonian chief should step down over censorship over gay exhibit. "Three weeks after the Smithsonian Institution ignited fury in the museum world by censoring one of its own exhibitions – removing a video that appeared in the National Portrait Gallery's groundbreaking exhibition of gay portraiture, 'Hide/Seek' – the best option for undoing the damage remains the resignation of the man who made the decision."

RoadRyan Reynolds makes it official.

RoadBBC recommissions lesbian drama Lip Service.

RoadGayle King says she was touched by Oprah's tears, says the lesbian rumors no longer bother her: "It used to bother me, and now I say, 'OK, if people believe it, there's nothing we can do to change their minds. Oprah has been so outspoken and I have about my dating life, my desire to have a significant other, that it's just silly that we would deny or hide that because it implies something is wrong. That's what bothers me more than anything. There's nothing wrong."


Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

Neil Patrick Harris, Hostess With The Mostest: Now the Video Game Awards MC, Just Because

Neil Patrick Harris will host the eighth annual Spike TV Video Game Awards on Dec. 11, adding another bedpost mark for the actor, who's already led the Emmys, Tonys, TV Land Awards, and even the World Magic Awards. Give this man the Grammys already.


Permalink | Post a comment | Add to del.icio.us


Tagged: , , ,

Queerty

—  admin

Neil Patrick Harris Did Not Take Any Lesbian Parenting Advice From Sara Gilbert

It seems Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka asked every famous celebrity parent for advice on raising kids, whether it's The Talk's Sara Gilbert or How I Met Your Mother co-star Alyson Hannigan. But the best part of Neil stopping by the CBS daytime talk show — dedicated to kids and parenting — is that the actor being the most famous gay parent (next to Ricky Martin?) was barely part of the conversation.

CONTINUED »


Permalink | Post a comment | Add to del.icio.us


Tagged: , , , , , ,

Queerty

—  admin

Kamala Harris Likely to Replace Jerry Brown as California’s AG

Here in California, we have been waiting since election day to find out who will replace Jerry Brown as our next attorney general. The race has been a nail-biter, with the lead see-sawing between pro-marriage equality Democrat Kamala Harris and Republican Steve Cooley. Provisional and vote-by-mail ballots are still being counted, however it looks like Kamala Harris has definitively pulled ahead. I have been following the race via the facebook page of Los Angeles City Councilman Eric Garcetti, who has been providing a fascinating and detailed analysis of the vote-counting. Garcetti finally called the election for Harris yesterday.

The race has some implications for the Perry v. Schwarzenegger case. Readers will recall that current AG Jerry Brown and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declined to appeal Judge Walker’s ruling in favor of marriage equality on behalf of the state of California, which means there is now an issue as to whether anyone has standing to appeal. As Constitutional Law scholar David Cruz explained in a post for our blog, if no one has standing to appeal, the case will end with Judge Walker’s ruling intact and marriage equality restored to California. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal is set to hold its hearing on the standing issue on December 6, 2010. (C-SPAN will broadcast it.)

Whereas Harris promised during the campaign not to defend prop 8, Cooley said he would. Although the consensus among my lawyer friends and me is that it is too late for a new AG to appeal Judge Walker’s ruling, I nevertheless think a Cooley victory would have the potential to create some mischief. On the one hand, if the Ninth Circuit were to deny standing to the proponents of prop 8 while Cooley were AG, the pro-prop 8 crowd could make political hay out of his inability to intervene. On the other hand, if the Ninth Circuit were to grant standing and allow the case to continue, Cooley could write an amicus brief that could have some sway with the court.

The bottom line is that it is good news that Harris is poised for victory. If she wins, this entire issue will be moot. California will have elected by popular vote an AG who publicly took the position that she would not defend prop 8. The anti-marriage equality crowd will not be able to argue that California’s failure to appeal was due to an accident of timing. Go Kamala!




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

Kamala Harris Regains Lead

KAMALA HARRIS 1 X390 | ADVOCATE.COMThe race for California attorney general remains up in the air — and
with it, possibly the fate of Proposition 8 — but Democrat Kamala
Harris has momentarily regained her lead against Republican Steve
Cooley.
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  admin

Not Looking Good for Harris

KAMALA HARRIS X390 (GETTY IMAGES) | ADVOCATE.COMSan Francisco district attorney Kamala Harris, running for attorney
general of California, looks to be headed toward defeat, according to
precinct results from the Los Angeles Times.
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  admin

Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka Welcome Twins

Twins

Congrats!


Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright