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

Islamist Attitudes By Nation

Andrew Sullivan links to a story about a Pew report on attitudes towards Islamist punishments.

Should adulterers be stoned? Should robbers be whipped, or their hands amputated? Should apostates from Islam be subject to the death penalty? On the x-axis you see the proportion who accept that adulterers should be stoned. On the y-axis you see the responses to amputation and apostasy. The red points are the proportion who agree with the death penalty for apostates, and the navy points those who believe in whipping or amputation for robbers. … Compare Turkey to Egypt. They’re in totally different regions of the scatter plot. There is simply no comparison between these societies on these issues, despite both being Muslim and Middle Eastern.

Joe. My. God.

—  David Taffet

Audio: Mocking people who want to fight and possibly die for our nation, calling it conservative

We’ve covered under-the-radar conservative Steve Malzberg several times, frankly because his willingness/desire to use the most churlish anti-gay talking points possible makes him one of the most strident anti-LGBT voices on mainstream talk radio. So now, here’s another one for the files, with Steve and guest Jeff Kuhner (of the Unification Church-funded conservative spinsheet The Washington Times) proudly acting like particularly dramatic children who have had their G.I. Joes taken away:

Good As You

—  admin

HRC Volunteers in D.C. Keep Dialing In for Equality Across the Nation

In this last week before the critical Midterm Elections, we’ve been contacting HRC members  all over the country from here in D.C.  It’s exciting because I know just how much of an impact every conversation makes.

On Monday night I headed over to George Washington University and lead a phonebank withthe  student group Allied for Pride and dialed in for marriage equality in New York State.  Across town, Deputy Field Director Jeremy Pittman led another group of D.C. volunteers and HRC supporters as they also dialed to elect pro-equality state Senate candidates in New York.

We continued making calls into New York on Tuesday night with a great new group at George Mason University, StandOUT.

I’m so happy to support these key campaigns which will get us that much closer to passing marriage equality. I’m invested and passionate about all of our campaigns across the nation, but this one is particularly close to my heart. I grew up “upstate”- depending on your definition of upstate- in Hudson, NY.  I also recently got engaged to my partner, Renee. If I ever wanted to return home to New York to get married, I wouldn’t be able to do so legally. Unfortunately, situations like mine are not isolated. This is a sobering fact, and I want to do as much as I can to change the tide and see that all families in New York are recognized.

On Wednesday night I was joined by eight D.C. area volunteers and we continued to mobilize our members, this time in Minnesota, which is poised to be another marriage-equality state. At the same time, former HRC intern Josh Langdon ran a simultaneous phone bank with University of Ohio law students that reached out to hundreds of voters to support pro-equality candidates there.

In the last three days, we’ve held 5 phonebanks in three different locations and dialed over 2,000 numbers. It sounds like a lot, but we still have so much work to do.

Just two and half hours of your time will help us reach out to more than one hundred members and in races this close and this important, that could make all the difference.

Please email me directly at to sign up for our last election phonebank, on Monday, November 1. That night, we’ll be making calls into key districts all over the country to mobilize our members and get out the vote for pro-equality candidates.

We will provide pizza, training and a fun atmosphere on the eve before the elections. We’ll also be starting early, at 5:00 p.m., and calling right up until 9:00 p.m.  Stop in after work, on your way to the metro, and give what time you can; just let me know that you’re coming!

It’s simple- we need all hands on deck.

Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  admin

One Nation Working Together This Weekend

The following comes from HRC Greater New York Steering Committee Diversity Co-Chair Pete Webb with photo by Marilyn Abalos:

Last week at the New York Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center, Ben Jealous, President of the NAACP, discussed the importance of joining together for the upcoming One Nation Working Together March. HRC is a proud sponsor of the march, which will occur Saturday, October 2nd.

I grew up around NAACP events and civil rights activities in my household because my father and extended family members were early supporters of the organization. Last week I had the opportunity to attend this community forum for One Nation Working Together. I was moved to tears to hear Jealous address  the issues of equality and justice, including LGBT Equality, at the event. Whether you are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Black, White, Latino, LGBT or straight we must work together for the common good of equality to create a better America with economic justice, quality education and equality for all.

Jealous spoke eloquently about the work being done by this progressive coalition on civil rights and equality for the entire community. He stressed the importance of coalition building and solidarity.  We all need access to jobs in a safe work environment with a living wage, regardless of our sexual orientation and gender identity/expression.  We must stand in solidarity in order to achieve an equal playing field. This evening was truly a historic moment for me and I will be on the bus to march in Washington, D.C., on October 2 with Ben Jealous.

HRC has partnered with NAACP, National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, Pride at Work, National Black Justice Coalition, National Stonewall Democrats and more than 200 other organizations in sponsoring the One Nation March.  As a longtime HRC member and volunteer, I am proud of the work of the Human Rights Campaign, and I exited to be a part of this event. Come join us! It is important to let your voice be heard!

When: Saturday, October 2, 2010

Time: 10:00am

1640 Rhode Island Ave. NW,
Washington, DC 20036

HRC Marchers will meet at the HRC building at 1640 Rhode Island. T-shirts will be provided. We will then join with other LGBTQ groups at Freedom Plaza at the southwest corner of Pennsylvania Ave NW & 13th St NW.

We are pleased that AIDS Walk Washington has also endorsed the One Nation March. Walkers are encouraged to join LGBTQ groups for the march after their closing ceremony.

Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright

NAACP’s Ben Jealous visits Manhattan’s LGBT Community Center; promotes One Nation Working Together

This week history was made as the first visit by the President and CEO of the more than century-old NAACP to Manhattan’s LGBT Community Center. Jealous was there to promote the upcoming One Nation Working Together rally a coalition of over 150 groups from across the country committed to ensuring that everyone is treated equally. It will be held in DC on October 2. The coalition of over 150 groups with many different constituencies and missions, have bound together for the march to support equality, including:

  • Prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or sex.
  • Expand anti-discrimination laws to be inclusive of everyone.
  • Respect all families.
  • End all forms of workplace discrimination.
  • Provide all children equal access to high quality education in a safe environment.
  • End all forms of discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing and housing.

The policy platform of One Nation Working Together is here.

Among the LGBT organizations that have endorsed One Nation Working Together are the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the Human Rights Campaign, the National Center for Transgender Equality, PFLAG National, the Equality Federation, the National Black Justice Coalition, National Stonewall Democrats, Immigration Equality, Lambda Legal, Pride at Work, UNID@S, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Lambda Legal, the Bronx Community Pride Center, Equality Maryland, and Equality Pennsylvania.

Jealous was peppered with questions during the event at the Community Center, that was covered by Gay City News.

A Rhodes Scholar who formerly worked at Amnesty International on issues of prison rape, the criminal justice system’s treatment of juvenile offenders, and racial profiling, Jealous earned a warm response from a crowd of more than 100 with a discussion about the possibilities for progressive change through coalition politics; his remarks showed him well versed in LGBT issues. Mentioning having in his family both HIV and a gender-nonconforming brother who’s been beaten up, Jealous talked about the NAACP’s advocacy for black gay student victims of homophobic violence at the hands of African-American attackers in a Coffee County, Georgia college; the school responded by kicking those assaulted out of their dorm.

“It is the NAACP in places like Coffee County, Georgia,” he said, “that is the civil rights institution, not the black civil rights institution, the people of color civil rights institution, the civil rights institution.” The group, he said, let the school “know that nothing like this would ever happen again.”

…Audience members who stepped forward to ask questions voiced appreciation for Jealous’ visit but didn’t hesitate to challenge him on sensitive and politically complicated matters. One questioner was direct in asserting that homophobia is a problem in the African-American community and pressing the NAACP leader to explain how the group proposed to address it.

The moment could well have been a tense one, but Jealous betrayed little defensiveness in his response. He acknowledged the problem was real and serious, but also argued that it was by no means one confined to the black community. He noted that the African-American community is poorer and has stronger religious affiliations than society generally, but said that as with white communities, acceptance of gays is strongest among better off and more secular black Americans, an analysis borne out by a detailed examination of the 2008 voting patterns on the Proposition 8 question in California.

One of the other questions put to Jealous was whether his civil rights organization would support the addition of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression as protected classes in the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Jealous responded by saying he welcomed the conversation, and noted that the NAACP had not previously been asked to support this measure by the the Executive Committee of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, comprised of 30 members, of which the only LGBT representative is the HRC.

Here is video from the event.

Here’s the link for bus tickets from New York to D.C. for One Nation Working Together:

More below the fold.
My two cents

In 2009, the NAACP rolled out the LGBT Equality Task Force, a partnership with the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) to help address homophobia in the black community and the socially conservative religious communities (see Eddie Long’s woes, for example, for one pathology playing itself out).

Earlier this year I had a chance to sit down for an informal chat with Ben Jealous when I attended the NAACP Leadership 500 Summit earlier this year. He is sincere in support for LGBT rights and does understand and is frank, as he was at the above event at the community center, in acknowledging the challenges in his constituency.

To be blunt, the bulk of the NAACP’s membership is “well seasoned,” from the same generation that less likely to understand or support LGBT equality in large numbers. Couple that with a membership that is very wedded to organized religion, and you have a ship that will take a long time to steer in the right direction.

That’s why Jealous has deemed the Leadership 500 Summit the place where younger leaders of the NAACP can network, share ideas and resources because the org has a reputation for being out of step and out of touch with this generation’s black middle class. This is a major step in the right direction. I spoke with quite a few young people who are out there in the community having to fight the “old fogey” image of the NAACP, and are LGBT-supportive. These are the people who will be in leadership in the future.

During that conference I decided to become a lifetime member. Why? I found myself, as an out lesbian who discussed LGBT issues on a panel, quite lonely there. That has to stop and visibility has to be upped. I was not disrespected in any way, mind you – I actually had a nice conversations with a number of people who were supportive of points I made on the panel – but there were simply not many openly gay LGBTs there. None approached and self-identified. That needs to change as well to move the culture forward.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

GOP + Arkansas Dem. senators: Basic right to fight and possibly die for nation < this press release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 21, 2010

CONTACT: J.P. Duffy or Darin Miller, (866) FRC-NEWS or (866)-372-6397

FRC Praises Senate for Stopping Liberal Social Agenda in Defense Authorization Bill

September 21, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Family Research Council President Tony Perkins today praised Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and those senators who voted to stop the Senate Defense Authorization bill by voting against the motion to proceed.

Of the vote Perkins said:

“This is a victory for the men and women who serve our nation in uniform. At least for now they will not be used to advance a radical social agenda. We applaud Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senator John McCain and Senator Jim Inhofe for their successful efforts to stop this legislation which would not only force open homosexuality on the military but also turn our military hospitals into abortion clinics.

“While Democratic leadership took their cues from pop singer Lady Gaga, Republicans and a few Democratic colleagues instead considered the views of all four military service chiefs who have urged Congress to keep the current law.

“Yesterday, Lady Gaga showed contempt for those in the military who support the current policy by saying, ‘Our new law is called, “If you don’t like it, go home”.’ This seems to echo Admiral Mullen’s warning that opponents of repeal should ‘vote with your feet,’ and reported comments by Lt. Gen. Thomas Bostick that such proponents of the current policy must ‘get with the program’ or ‘get out.’

“Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid apparently doesn’t realize that if everyone with traditional values leaves the military, virtually no one will be left to defend our country. Certainly not Lady Gaga. It’s a sad commentary on our Congressional leadership when they pay more attention to an entertainer with a flair for the bizarre than they do to the leaders of all four service branches,” concluded Perkins.

Good As You

—  John Wright

#VVS2010: 19 Kids and one ‘nation that’s on fire’

The Duggars [AFA]

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Good As You

—  John Wright

HRC to Join One Nation Working Together March in D.C.

The following is from HRC Associate Director of Diversity Donna Payne:

HRC has recently endorsed the One Nation Working Together March for jobs, equality and justice.  In doing so, we have joined thousands of our progressive allies — NAACP, Leadership Council for Civil Rights, Council of LaRaza, AFL-CIO, Color of Change, National Immigrant Solidarity Network, Young People for Civil Rights, Jewish Funds for Justice, UAW and over 150 organizations across the country!


As LGBT people, we believe that quality health care should be accessible, affordable and culturally competent. We believe that the 12 million undocumented immigrants, including at least half a million LGBT people living in this country, deserve access to a system which allows workers to earn legal status and people from all backgrounds to stay with their families. We believe that these are crosscutting issues and that regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability or immigration status, it’s time to join forces with our allies and demonstrate our collective power.

Our partnership comes upon the heels of the anniversary of the 1963 Civil Rights March on Washington. A few weeks ago, thousands came to Washington, D.C., to commemorate the March and “Reclaim the Dream.”  HRC stood strong that day.  We were on the right side of history in speaking up for justice with our civil rights allies and we will march again October 2nd because our collective fight for equality and justice continues. There have been many advancements over the last four decades, but there is still much more work to be done.

Visit the One Nation Working Together website to learn about this partnership.


One Nation Working Together is about reordering out nation’s priorities to invest in our most valuable resource—our people. We believe that everyone deserves an equal playing field to find and keep a job in a safe work environment with a living wage regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity/expression.

HRC will be taking to the streets on October 2, 2010 with One Nation Working Together.  Come join us!

When: Saturday, October 2, 2010
Time: 12n – 4pm
Where: Lincoln Memorial National Mall- HRC marchers will meet at 11:00 am at the HRC building and join all LGBT organizations at the Mall.

Contact Donna Payne at 202-216-1544 to learn more about joining us for this event.

Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright

Ya Es Hora ¡Ciudadania! Events Across the Nation a Big Success

The following post comes from HRC Diversity Coordinator Hyacinth Alvaran:

Under the ya es hora iCiudadania! civic engagement banner, Human Rights Campaign steering committees and volunteers in Las Vegas, San Antonio, Dallas, New York, Los Angeles, Phoenix and Washington, D.C., partnered with local and national organizations throughout the month of July (July 10th – 24th) to hold workshops providing assistance to the immigrant community in their applications for U.S. citizenship. We thank our leaders and volunteers in these communities for continuing to build bridges with the immigrant community, and enthusiastically commend our diversity co-chairs and other steering committee leaders for their impeccable leadership in this important endeavor. According to the Department of Homeland Security, an estimated 8.2 million legal permanent residents are eligible to become U.S. citizens. Of this total, an estimated 3.8 million, or almost half (46%), are Latino/a.

We are also proud to add Las Vegas, San Antonio and Dallas to the family of steering committees involved in the ya es hora ¡Ciudadania! coalition. Since July 2009 and through the active leadership of its steering committees, HRC has grown its participation in ya es hora to 17 cities. Below are statements from Gayl Newton, our HRC San Antonio steering committee diversity co-chair, and John Leonard, one of our HRC Dallas / Ft. Worth steering committee diversity co-chairs, about their experiences in their local citizenship workshops on July 10th and 17th, respectively, and a picture from the citizenship workshop in New York, courtesy of one of our HRC Greater New York diversity co-chairs, Marilyn Abalos:

“We had eight volunteers. Most of them were first time volunteers. It was a very positive experience for all of us. The Permanent Resident applicants were mostly prepared and eligible to proceed with the processing…” – Gayl Newton

“HRC Dallas / Ft. Worth partnered with fellow ya es hora coalition member Proyecto Inmigrante from Ft. Worth in a citizenship workshop on Saturday, July 17, 2010, in Arlington, TX.  While volunteer turnout was not as high as expected, our presence certainly helped with completion of 95 citizenship forms for Legal Permanent Residents looking to become naturalized citizens of the United States of America.  It was a productive and illuminating day for our volunteers, including myself, Rachel Stonecipher, and Brian Browning.  It is important to the continued work of HRC to be part of these broad coalitions, and we were excited to be part of this event.” – John Leonard

Finally, we heartily congratulate the Las Vegas steering committee for spearheading the coalition-building and planning behind the Las Vegas citizenship workshop, which took months of intentional relationship-building and planning, and the Phoenix steering committee for holding strong in their commitment to and participation in their local citizenship workshops and continued partnerships with immigrant communities despite local tensions caused by SB1070. The Las Vegas workshop attracted over 100 participants with 52 of them completing the whole application process, and the Phoenix workshop attracted approximately 700 participants. The Las Vegas workshop is also one of the largest coalitions in the ya es hora iCiudadania! campaign, representing 18 organizations. Previous Back Story posts about the Las Vegas citizenship workshop can be found here, and on the Phoenix citizenship workshop here.

Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright