Defining Homes • Timing is everything

All signs point to now as the right time to buy

palm-beach-real-estate-sold— Rich Lopez

The ironic bit of this troubled economy is that this is an advantageous time to buy a home. A huge purchase doesn’t seem wise in the air of unemployment, higher prices and an unstable stock market. But by all appearances, housing prices are going down while everything else goes up.

“It’s like our parents used to spend 10 to18 percent and now, rates are now at 4 percent and lower,” Realtor Sandy Maltese says.

Last month, the Primary Mortgage Market Survey set a record low with a 4 percent rate for a 30-year mortgage and 3.28 percent for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages. Maltese urges contemplative buyers to act now.

“Payments can be so much lower right now and rents are rising,” she says.

Maltese and her group, DFW Urban Realty, work with many properties in the Oak Lawn/Uptown area. With many rental properties throughout, renting has been cheaper than buying. Where sellers unintentionally become landlords, rents rise so owners can afford to keep paying on the property.

“People can either downsize to fit into a rental space or can afford to buy,” she says.
Realtor Derrick Dawson agrees.

“Most people don’t realize they qualify to own their own home,” the Texas Pride Realty agent says. “I’d encourage anyone interested in owning a home to seek a lender today and find out if they qualify. It is free to do.”

In the Sept. 29 article “Good Time to Lock in a 30-Year Fixed Home Mortgage Rate?”, the International Business Times advised to evaluate the probability of a rising fixed mortgage rate to its decline probability.

The piece points out that historically, upside risk is higher than downside gain which should encourage buyers for nailing a fixed rate now.

Maltese points out that initiative is what’s needed. Qualifying for financing is crucial , but after that, then comes the nerve to plunge in now to lock in a low rate and have a home sweet home.

“Here in Dallas, I say give it a shot,” she asserts. “If a property, especially a foreclosure, is marked low, there will be  offers for it quick. If you’re paying cash, you jump to the front of the line, but that’s not always the case. At the very least, show up and try.”

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

—  Kevin Thomas

GDMAF fundraiser brings Sweet Savage back to Dallas


David Hearn doesn’t come off like your usual party promoter. He has a little bit of Texas twang mixed with some quiet reserve. You might never believe Hearn is the guy behind the annual Metro Ball and Friday’s Gaga-a-Gogo party at the Brick.

“Well, I hosted what had always been known as the Virgo Party and that started 22 years ago,” he says. “It got too big for my small Plano house so I moved it to Dallas.”

But Hearn isn’t just a guy throwing parties — at least not anymore. Now, both annual events are for a reason and that’s the Greg Dollgener Memorial AIDS Fund, named after his partner, whom he lost to the disease in 1994. Two years later, the fund was created and over time, the fund has helped those with unique needs.

“We step in and help with issues that are a bit different,” he explains. “We helped replace one person’s tires so he could travel to his doctor. We worked to get one man a refrigerator because he had medicine that needed to kept cool. Where agencies can’t quite help, we can.”

But with funding cutbacks and a troubled economy, GDMAF works to keep up through  special events. Friday’s Gaga-A-Gogo party fulfills that, but also brings back the iconic Dallas drag queen Sweet Savage as Lady Gaga, pictured.

“We’re glad she’s coming to do this,”  Hearn says. “I know many of the people will remember her from days before.”

Dressing up in costume was a big part of Hearn’s old parties and with a nod to that, he encourages those to partake in the Gaga “hat and hair” contest. While Savage goes all out with her look, guests can get their own bad romance on with a Gaga-esque hat or ’do.

“We tried to make this event a little smaller, but with plenty of fun things to do,” he says. “We know its hard to continue to give, but we just hope to up the level of donations and continue to help relieve some of the stress people inevitably face.”

— Rich Lopez

The Brick, 2525 Wycliff Ave.
7 p.m. $20.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 9, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas