Boot Ranch 17

I was sitting in Craig Martin’s office up at Windsong Ranch — if you haven’t seen or experienced the amazing Windsong Ranch in Prosper, then you don’t know  North Texas real estate greatness —  and he was telling me about this amazing ranch in the Hill Country just north of Fredericksburg.

Boot Ranch I asked? I love the place!

Yes, he said. We are buying it!

But I was sworn to secrecy until the deal was closed. Closed, signed and sealed it is: Terra Verder Group LLC, the devloper of Windsong Ranch, has indeed purchased the 2,000 acre Boot Ranch north of Fredericksburg. Terra Verde and financial partner Wheelock Street Capital bought the luxury vacation home golf course community from Lehman Brothers.

Boot Ranch, the brainchild of Texas golfing great Hal Sutton, opened in 2006 just in time for the Great Recession. Like so many of its brethren, Boot fell into foreclosure. But during the four years that Lehman Brothers operated it, the community slowly, steadily kept the momentum moving forward. In fact, Boot Ranch may well become a poster child success story for how a vacation home community survives a downturn.

“The previous developer opened the project at the wrong time in the market,” said Terra Verde founder Craig Martin. “Our plan is to complete the development.We like Boot Ranch because of its proximity to Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, Austin and Midland-Odessa – within a 4-hour drive.”

Read more about this amazing acquisition on CandysDirt.com!

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Sometimes we want to get away, but the thought of travel is just too much. Packing up everything, getting the kids ready, and climbing in the car or in a plane for hours is enough to keep us at home, ensconced in air conditioning and watching the latest releases on Netflix.

But what if you could enjoy a lake house that was just 15 minutes from downtown Fort Worth? What if there was a property big enough to host you and your extended family without feeling cramped and uncomfortable? What if you could enjoy all the best things about lake living without the drive?

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We’ve found just the thing! Go check out this hip pocket listing from Williams Trew over on CandysDirt.com, as it is the absolute perfect spot for a low-key family Fourth of July getaway that feels private.

 

Dodd's LandingIt seems like everyone I know is buying a lake home, most of them settling on Long Cove at Cedar Creek Lake.  If you are looking for a waterfront front property closer to Dallas, Those Waterside Cottage Homes over at Long Cove are selling like hotcakes. And as predicted when I was there last summer, the developer is expanding the extraordinary lake-front development. Long Cove is now releasing a limited priority Reservation Program in another pretty cove, Dodd’s Landing. It’s like phase II. Long Cove has begun accepting reservations for more cute cottage homes at Dodd’s, with the debut of two new floor-plans.

Long-Cove-water-view-of-LCThe initial grading for the neighborhood is also well underway. Here’s why you might just want to go on and jump on into the water now: as a reservation holder, you will receive new renderings, floor plans and all details before they are released to the general public. Or even a certain real estate blogger. (Hey!) Not only will you be able to select your new home before others, you will also be among the fortunate few to receive preferred pricing and closing incentives as well. Rumor has it they are going to be fantastic.

Get on the list today! Click Here to learn more. To submit a reservation, call Josh Ellis at 214-220-9992 or email josh@long-cove.com

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You do recall former NBA champ Michael Jordan.  Not only is he known as “the greatest basketball player of all times” but he is gaining a rap as the greatest home builder of all times! Jordan is completing a 28,000 square foot mansion in The Bears’ Club, Palm Beach County, Florida, near where Tiger Woods just completed his grand estate. The builder: Lavelle Builders out of Jupiter, Fla. Of course, Tiger’s estate is surrounded by water on three sides to,  perhaps, keep the paparazzi (among other things) at bay. Jordan’s mega-mansion, which is still under construction, is not even close to the water. But it now goes down as one of the largest, most expensive homes ever built in Florida that is not on the water, says real estate agent Jeff Lichtenstein of Christie’s Great Estates and Illustrated Properties. Lichtenstein knows of what he talks: he sells real estate in the Palm Beach area, which is notoriously filled with high net worth people who like to enjoy a second or third home here because here they have it all: a backyard marina for their yachts, sea, beach, and plenty of gorgeous Florida sunshine.

Oh yes, and I almost forgot: golf.

Though waning with the general population, the wealthy still love to tinker on the greens. Jeff’s father, Cary Lichenstein, was a golf rater for GolfWeek Magazine and has been playing since he could walk. In fact, he lives so close to Jordan — in Admiral’s Cove – the elder Lichenstein could lend a hammer or nail to the twenty million dollar project.

The Jordan home will have 11 bedrooms, sits on a three-parcel site right in the backyard of the uber exclusive (and hard to get into) Bear’s Club. Let me put it to you this way: it costs $350,000 just to call yourself a member of the club. The area is loaded with courses designed by Jack Nicklaus, but he personally plays at Bears Club — so basically this area is golf nirvana and the membership list is a regular Who’s Who…  stars, Fortune 400 execs, and the Nicklaus family.There are 55 residences ranging from $4 million on up to, well, probably Jordan’s home. When complete, Jordan’s mansion will be a contemporary with Spanish-style roof — this I have to see. It will have four separate structures: A main house, a guardhouse, a guesthouse and a poolhouse for the mammoth swimming pool. In other words, the largest spread in the ‘hood.

Neighbors once included chanteuse Celine Dion, who ran into a few problems with her HOA over her desire to add a commercial recording studio or music room to her property — deeds are so tough in this ‘hood that even if a home burns down, you have to re-build it to look just like the original home. I mean, can you imagine the disaster if a Mediterranean went up right next to — another Mediterranean?

Jordan paid $4.8 million for the land and is spending an estimated $7.6 million for the construction. The Lichtenstein boys estimate that the total booty will top $20 million, and they worry a bit about re-sale value:

“It would be interesting to see what the Jordan home resells for, being that its location, while great for MJ’s privacy, is not ideal for resale to the usual trophy-and-yacht buyer,”says Jeff.

Only his banker knows for sure!

A 14 year old boy — a child — was arrested by Mexican authorities for beheading and cutting the genitalia off several cartel victims on behalf of the drug cartels. And he was heading for the U.S., arrested while boarding a bus for Tijuana, en route to visiting his mother in San Diego.

News like this is what is hurting the heck out of Mexico’s tourism and second home real estate market.

1. Second home trends: Affluent Baby Boomers will retire later and downsize from their large McMansions for which utilities and taxes have become prohibitive, to smaller homes, maybe condos,  in the city and a second home — in the cheaper boonies, or in another city. Just last night a reader emailed me that his biggest dream is to own a second home condo in Quebec! Cripes, even Disney is getting into this market.

2. According to a study by E360 Global Research, 45% of current second home owners think now is a great time to buy a second home. Of those, Mexico has a strong pull for almost half — and this survey was done in August, 2010. The drug cartel crime in Mexico is isolated to certain areas, they believe.

3. Of the 54% who say now is not a good time to buy a second home, most say the next two years will be. E360 (who provided much of this information) expects big growth in the second home markets surrounding highly populated areas.

4. Most people want a second home as a vacation haven to de-stress. Most prefer a lake or ocean view, with a mountain view coming in second. North Carolina, for example, is one of the fastest-growing second home destinations.

5. What kinds of amenities are second home buyers looking for? Good question. To some extent, they want great medical facilities (resuscitate me!) and a spa. Golf and eco-green based living also does not turn them on. I’ve read that many want to re-live their college years, with classes and intellectual stimulation (and pot?) nearby. Boulder, Colorado is home to a lot of intelligent people and gaining a large second home population, for example.

6. Pricing sweet spot: $200,000 to $400,000 and pay cash, if possible. I mean, those 401Ks are doing so well, right?

7. Vacation and lifestyle are the reason 46% want to buy; another 41% want to buy for investment. Only 11% give a rat’s tooshie about retirement.

8. 49% of second home buyers want a single family home, and 60% just want a 2 bedroom, 2 bath floor plan.

9. 49% of second home purchasers will buy domestically, but a growing contingent is eying Mexico and  Central America — Costa Rica, Ecuador, Panama — as a low-cost of living second home and place to retire.

10. The second home won’t be too close to the first: 30% of buyers want to be 100 to 300 miles from their primary home; 40% want to be 500 to 1000 miles from the primary home; 11% are willing to be more than 1000 miles away from the primary home.

The Presidential, bi-partisian committee scrutinizing ways to cut our huge budget deficit brought on by the housing market collapse, Wall Street firms going under, and the biggest government bail out in the history of the world, may end the U.S. home mortgage  deduction. It could certainly end the mortgage interest deduction of second home properties.

Some say there is no way the government will mess with the sacrosanct home mortgage deduction. I say: it’s 2010 and anything is possible.

Currently, you can deduct mortgages up to $1,000,000. So Todd Gilliam got this a bit wrong:

“Tens of thousands of Dallas-area residents use the deduction to trim their tax bills, mostly higher-income homeowners and those with relatively big loans, along with roughly one in four taxpayers nationwide.”

The Alternative Minimum Tax also plays a role. And every taxpayer is entitled to deduct their home mortgage, whether they itemize or not.

What is likely to happen: a compromise. And one shot at the mortgage deduction — so get ready to not be able to deduct the mortgage on a second or investment home.

Kind of like an unplanned pregnancy, more folks these days are ending up with  two or more homes on their real estate hands, making a lot more of us second (or multiple!) home owners. Real estate market conditions have practically stranded homeowners in their homes, which is not the end of the world if you keep a job, pay the mortgage down, and enjoy it. But what if you are offered a job in another city and cannot take it because you cannot sell your home? Countless Dallas Realtors tell me of clients who want to move here, but cannot budge because their home won’t sell. Back in the boom days, companies would move employees and even buy up their homes — many turning a profit on the re-sale. But now, companies are no longer wanting to be within ten hundred feet of the real estate biz.

“Nationally, the economy has caused many to reconsider career mobility. An Atlas Corporate Relocation Survey found in 2009 that 56 percent of responding companies reported employees turning down a chance to move, mostly among large and mid-size firms.”

That’s all because of real estate. So what’s a job-seeker to do?

Let’s say you, like Dunwoody, Georgia resident Ziyen Ng, are offered a job promotion but cannot unload your condo. What do you do? Lease the sucker out. That’s right, thanks to a new website called CorporateHousingbyOwner.com, he will get someone to lease his house, a management company will watch over it, and Ng is free to pursue that other job.

Should Ng buy a home in the new community he’d relocating to, we hope he becomes a regular reader of SecondShelters.