02/09/16 5:29pm
Home to Canadian geese

You know you’ve got a great pond on your property when neighbors and Canada geese show up to fish.

I found myself staring at the computer screen. The blinking cursor on the Farm and Ranch Contract drummed a little beat to the tune of “What exactly am I doing here?” There were so many things wrong with this property, it was hard to know where to even begin. In fact, the problems began off the property: The road is, to put it mildly, a mine field. It is paved…. in places. However, in the 80 percent of places that it is not paved, it is mud. The potholes could swallow a Smart Car and no one would even notice.

Unfortunately, this is a fairly common issue with rural property. Lightly populated agricultural areas just do not produce a lot of tax dollars. I surmised that the road would hopefully be re-paved sometime this decade, and proceeded forward. The next and oh-so-important question: What to offer?


01/29/16 5:43pm

austin street center

If you’ve dreamed of vacationing in Taos, New Mexico, Crested Butte, Colo., or Destin, Flor., mark your calendars for a fabulous silent auction offering stays at three luxury vacation homes in those locations.

The No Place Like Home vacation home silent auction event will benefit Austin Street Center, a nonprofit that has provided emergency shelter, food, and clothing to the most vulnerable homeless men and women in Dallas for 30 years.

“By leveraging vacation properties owned by Austin Street Center supporters and friends, we will be able to provide a unique opportunity to both our donors and auction winners,” said Becca Leonard, development director at Austin Street Center. “Donors will generate much-needed funds for Austin Street at little to no cost to themselves, and attendees will have the chance to win a stay at one of many fabulous spots around the country—only their vacation will benefit the homeless here in Dallas.”


01/14/16 10:48pm
72 White Pine Canyon Road | Park City, UT | Luxury Real Estate

72 White Pine Canyon Road | Park City, UT | Luxury Real Estate

It’s ski season!

You know about the real estate auction business, yes? I have tried to educate my readers (and myself) about this growing and phenomenally great way to pick up extreme real estate for a great price. I am told that Dallas pipeline magnate Kelcy Warren LOVES to buy real estate through auctions and in fact, the mega rich do constantly comb auction sites for deals in land, homes, yachts, planes and cars.

72 White Pine Canyon Road | Park City, UT | Luxury Real Estate

Well, tomorrow — yes, tomorrow! — you can bid on the home where the stars love to ski in Utah: 72 White Pine Canyon Road, a stunning 17,000 square foot plus mega ski house built in 2001, designed by one of Park City, Utah’s most famous architects, Jack Thomas, now the Mayor of Park City. Thomas has built some of the most iconic Park City homes, and is best known for creating Main Street’s “Egyptian Theatre”.

72 white pine 2


12/31/15 7:30am
Sunset and champagne on the beach. My topical happy hour!

Sunset and champagne on the beach. My tropical happy hour!

I’m hours away from my flight home to Dallas and figured it was time for a Hawai’ian roundup (and share some odd pictures with no meaning beyond amusement value).  This year I chronicled my real estate travails in Hawaii for SecondShelters.com. It started innocently enough with an interview with the local Berkshire Hathaway Home Services president Tracey Bradley. I wanted to understand what Berkshire brought to the table as the news was still fresh that Allie Beth Allman had recently been acquired by Berkshire.

From there I got a big boost from the state of Hawaii, which has released a report on who’s been buying Hawaiian real estate. The answer surprised with 10.5 percent of mainland US buyers being from Texas accounting for 2.3 percent of all Hawaiian transactions! First up was California, but given the shortness of flights, not shocking.


12/29/15 9:00am

Hughes Map 1 SM copy

Back in May, I wrote about the Kaka’ako area of Honolulu and its meteoric growth into a new urban high-rise jungle. It is an area located between Waikiki and downtown Honolulu that for decades was full of warehouses and small local businesses. It also contains the Ala Moana and Ward shopping centers within its boundaries.

During the run-up to the to the housing crash, General Growth Properties assembled the Ward Centers and Ala Moana into what was to become a housing village. General Growth got caught over extended and was forced to sell major portions of its portfolio including the 60-acres of Ward Centers. Howard Hughes purchased the plot and set out to craft a unique Ward Village that will take 10-20 years to complete.

The 20-year plan in glass.

The 20-year plan in glass.

The time span takes into consideration the vagaries of the global economy. If it continues to surge, I expect completion will be closer to ten years. A widespread falter may push it to twenty.


12/25/15 10:10am

CS Wo 2a SM

The valet parking line stretched down the block for Honolulu-based lux furniture store C.S. Wo’s annual “Home for the Holidays” bash for its top-tier customers and designers. This year’s event marked the 16th anniversary partnership between C.S. Wo and Neiman Marcus.

The event, in conjunction with Neiman’s HeART corporate charitable giving program, featured some 60 exclusive holiday items from the Love to Give Collection. Ten percent of proceeds will be donated to the Honolulu Museum of the Arts.

CS Wo 1 SM

On the surface, this was an event like many others … until you noticed cross-cultural Pacific catering snapped up by attendees that included a pair of roast suckling pigs served Chinese style, a poke (po-kay) bowl of seasoned fresh ahi with kizami and tobico served on warm sushi rice or the pork and vegetable encrusted shrimp served with chili sauce. Rounding out the menu was a red velvet cupcake with cream cheese icing, perhaps a nod to Neiman’s Texas roots?


12/22/15 9:00am
The Gold Coast: Full of Condo Gold

The Gold Coast: Full of Condo Gold

If you can scare up the down payment on any of these condos, you’ve been quite lucky in life or inheritance. The units in this group continue to follow the formula of location, location, and size set out in the previous two installments (here, here). There are a few options in oceanfront buildings (my ‘hood), but they’ll be smaller units than those further away or with less of a view. But there’s something about being an elevator ride from the beach at sunset that makes less space palatable for many (including me). But enough waxing…


12/18/15 9:00am
"...for a three hour tour, a three hour tour..."

“…for a three hour tour, a three hour tour…”

In part one of this series, I posted how second home shoppers on a budget can realize their Hawaiian dreams for condos in metro Honolulu priced from $200,000 to $400,000. At this price range, sacrifices are needed as buyers balance a property’s geographical location with the individual unit’s location in the building and the size of the unit. In the $200,000-$400,000 range, units were in less desirable (older) buildings with few ocean views and generally sub-600 square feet in size. My favorite was the largest (780 square foot 1-bedroom) for $357,000 with good views and location. It needs a full-renovation, but that’s catnip for me!

This installment, we move upmarket to the $400,000 to $700,000 range. As expected, units will generally be larger with better locations and views.