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Old 05-28-2007, 10:51 AM
 
Location: Austin TX
18 posts, read 44,250 times
Reputation: 13

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Been lurking for a few months and finally have something to ask.

Just signed the contract to begin construction on a new Highland home in Stonebridge and I believe we got a really super sweet deal on the price. I'm a "homework junkie" so I've been researching my **** off the past few months doing the planning and scoping of where to live and Stonebridge works well for our family's lifestyle. I grew up in the D/FW area and have lived here for about 35 years (minus the 4 I did in Silicon Valley where I despised life and the high rent...but I digress). So I have a great understanding of the neighborhoods around this area and was here when you could really tell where one city ended and other one began as opposed to the Mega-Dal-Worth that we seem to live in now.

Part of my research for any subdivision consists of the following:

1) Going to collin cad dot org and downloading the property map (plat) using the subdivision name

2) Use the prefix for the subdivision long address name and then do a search for property records with that partial prefix as a wildcard so I can get a complete list of all owners and lots (both developed and empty).

3) Copy the entire lot list into excel and begin crunching numbers. The tax "value" listed for each lot includes both the "improvements" (the house) and the "land" value.

4) Calculate the $/sqft for homes that are similar to the one I am building.

5) Find the ones that are lower than my $/sqft and identify why. What I find is (no surprise) that these are spec homes that are nice houses, but on not-so-great lots (either too small or at the end of a street where the car lights will shine in at night when people are driving around the subdivision).

You can see they are spec homes by the owner names in the detail property record for the lot. Developer sells to Builder. Builder adds property then records the deed number. Months later (usually), Owner buys from builder. It's pretty obvious.

6) Identify the other subdivision around my location and do the same steps again to see what their values are and how I relate to them. My goal is to be below the middle in total price and the lowest in $/sqft (I want to be surrounded by more affluent people, but want the best price when I do... who doesn't).


Ok... so loooooong story short, my questions are the following:

Part of the contract signing yesterday was a paper that said I will not disclose my price to the tax authority. I understand that the tax man has access to MLS, but doesn't know the price and evaluates the "value" based on his limited info that will get clearer as homes are bought/sold in a new subdivision. However, if my actual "price" that I paid is much lower than what he will probably list as the "tax value" then would I want to disclose this to him later? Is there some legal problem with doing that? Granted, it might cause others to have a lower tax value, but this might hurt the overall property values (which would affect the sales price later), but I'm wondering if I am just paranoid.

Other question I have is whether or not this is a really sweet deal or do some think I might have not thought of something. We are getting into Stonebridge with a 3400 sq ft 2story Highland home 4/3.5 game/media option on a lot size 55x141 with north/south direction in the quietest are of the subdivision (not near major roads). Based on a drive of the neighborhood and analysis of similar homes for sale in the subdivision, we see about $95-$105/sqft to be the "norm" and we're getting ours built for 82/sqft. I feel really confident about the deal, but wanted to see if anyone else sees any glaring "red flags" that I might have forgotten to think about.

Thanks again,
Peachy
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Old 05-28-2007, 10:58 AM
 
3,035 posts, read 13,020,476 times
Reputation: 894
Peachy,

Is your 82 per sq/ft before or after upgrades ? Minimal upgrades typically add about 10% more to the final cost. If you go below the minimal upgrades, then you run the risk of having a home that does not 'fit' into an upscale area, and that will hurt resale (i.e. 12 inch tiles in the entrance way wont work in an area with 400k homes).

Also, if you bought in SBR with Highland in that sq/ft range, then you are in my area (Highland is also in Ridgecrest, but that is NOT SBR and gets discounted accordingly). That's pretty good for my area, and if you send me a PM, I have a list of all the comps that have sold in there. I don't think any have closed in the 82 per sq/ft range. That's really low for the tier one builders. But I have heard Highland is laying people off because of financial problems, so they may be pulling out all the stops.

Also, the disclosure you mentioned is probably more to help Highland maintain their rep as a tier 1 builder. If Drees and Darling found out they were averaging 80$ per sq/ft in that type of area, they will quickly dissassociate with them in future endeavors. That price per sq/ft is more that of a mid-range builder.

Last edited by socketz; 05-28-2007 at 11:15 AM..
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Old 05-28-2007, 11:07 AM
 
Location: Austin TX
18 posts, read 44,250 times
Reputation: 13
Default After upgrades

Socketz,

Glad to hear from you as I greatly enjoy reading your posts.

We will be in the Aspendale phase2 subdivision. They are part of SBR with Frisco schools and taxes so that makes the taxes 2.55%.

The 82 is after upgrades including hand-scraped hardwood floors downstairs and a 4ft garage extension.
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Old 05-28-2007, 12:13 PM
 
Location: Austin TX
18 posts, read 44,250 times
Reputation: 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by socketz View Post
Also, the disclosure you mentioned is probably more to help Highland maintain their rep as a tier 1 builder. If Drees and Darling found out they were averaging 80$ per sq/ft in that type of area, they will quickly dissassociate with them in future endeavors. That price per sq/ft is more that of a mid-range builder.
Hmmm.. Hadn't thought of it from that angle, but it makes more sense based on the logic.

We looked at Heatherwood to the north of you past 380 and could build our mini dream home with a Jacobson plan by Drees, but the cost they wanted for that area with all the extras was about what we're paying now and there is NOTHING out there but lower tier builders and that worried us about it turning out later to be a investor/rental area.

The Highland deal we got was something that just started yesterday. They are going to build 5 new homes in our sub and they normally would be spec, but they opened up the deal for this week to the first 5 buyers. If no buyers, then they'll build specs instead. So we get the spec pricing on a build-job which is ideal.

I also like our location since it is more central between all 4 major roads (the SBR-square as I call it): Tollway, 380, 75 and 121. Plus the taxes being a bit lower is always nice.
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Old 05-28-2007, 01:38 PM
 
Location: WA
5,292 posts, read 20,701,286 times
Reputation: 5622
I have dealt with similar issues with three different Texas tax appraisal boards and the line I hear is consistent... ‘a sale price is a one time transaction and does not necessarily reflect the fair market value of the property’. They will decide what the appraisal is using their own methodology and later will work with you if you decide it is wrong.

Unfortunately they are most insistent on their appraisals in the area they are most experienced with; single family residential less than $600,000. IMO undeveloped property, commercial, and very high value residential often gets low appraisals simply because they do not have the data and experience to evaluate the market.

Plan on an annual trek to the appraiser to try to keep your taxes down. It is not your sales price that matters the most, but those of the surrounding properties and general area.
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Old 05-28-2007, 01:48 PM
 
3,035 posts, read 13,020,476 times
Reputation: 894
Ahhh Aspendale. I forgot Highland was in there as well. With David Weekly I believe.

http://www.davidweekly.com/Images/commphotos/aspendale_big.gif (broken link)

http://www.stonebridgeranch.com/download/StonebridgeMap.pdf (broken link)

I always forget that portions of the area below Eldorado are Stonebridge as well. That area always goes at a bit of a discount from other portions of Stonebridge because:

1. It feels more like part of Craig's Ranch
2. The Frisco Schools (remember on this side of the Metroplex, Plano wants Plano schools, Frisco wants Frisco Schools and Mckinney wants Mckinney schools - just the way people think out here).The only time I've seen this deviate is in the northern parts of Dallas proper, where people desire the Richardson or Plano schools over DISD.
3. Schools are shared with Craig's Ranch
4. There are alot of smaller homes in there, so it compares better to say a Wren Creek.

Nonethless, 82 per sq/ft is smoking. I looked in the MLS there now and David Weekly doesn't have anything listed under 100 per sq/ft. They will implode when they find out Highland is doing this....if you want to check go to www DOT Northdallaproperties DOT net, then enter the criteria.

The tax savings (about $800 per year on 300k) is a bonus as well.

Be careful in Aspendale if you buy lots that back up to open space. I know one street (if you face the model, it's to the right) there will be homes that back up to un-named commercial zoning and a couple of others back up to Craig Ranch communities (not a bad area, but is a tier or two below Stonebridge - lots of starter homes and investors/rentals).

Last edited by socketz; 05-28-2007 at 02:22 PM..
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