4 DIY Fire Pits for Spring Nights

CM DIY Firepits lg

This week’s wonderful spring weather has us looking for any excuse to get outside, and stay there. One of our favorite ways to take advantage of these warm days and cooler nights is to spend time cozied up by a backyard fire pit.


This feature, which comes in all shapes and sizes, has become a very desirable amenity. Plus, there’s something about the allure of a fire that never seems to go out of style. Just look at these fabulous backyards and then check out how you can get a fire pit of your own!

4 DIY Fire Pits for Spring Nights^2947 Belclaire Drive, Frisco

4 DIY Fire Pits for Spring Nights^2933 Shenandoah Drive, Frisco

4 DIY Fire Pits for Spring Nights^7510 Covewood Drive, Garland

4 DIY Fire Pits for Spring Nights^560 Turner Warnell Road, Mansfield


These DIYs range in difficulty, but aren’t they gorgeous? You’ll want to keep pets and children in mind when choosing between an above-ground and an in-ground feature:

4 DIY Fire Pits for Spring Nights^In-ground, circular fire pit

4 DIY Fire Pits for Spring Nights^Above-ground, modern circular fire pit

4 DIY Fire Pits for Spring Nights^Above-ground, modern square fire pit

4 DIY Fire Pits for Spring Nights^Above-ground, square fire pit 

Assessed Value vs. Market Value



Homeowners are often surprised – or even shocked – when they receive their annual statement from the local tax appraiser’s office. Often the assessed value of their home is very different than what they believe the property is worth.


With local property tax assessments arriving as we speak, it’s a great time to take a look at the difference between two common real estate terms: “Assessed Value” and “Market Value.”


The Assessed Value is the dollar value assigned to a property by a public tax assessor for the purposes of measuring applicable taxes. The number is very often a point of contention with homeowners, who may believe it to be too high or too low. The Assessed Value does not offer a shortcut to a home’s Market Value.


The Market Value is the highest estimated price a property will bring in a reasonable amount of time if exposed for sale on the open market. Market Value is influenced by such factors as homes that recently sold in the area, the location of the property, the home’s amenities, and the condition of the property. Of course, Market Value is also influenced by the current economy.


Knowing the difference between Assessed Value and Market Value is great. But even better is knowing what your property is worth in today’s fast-paced North Texas housing market. To get started, contact an Ebby Associate today. To find just the right agent for your real estate needs, visit the award-winning ebby.com.


Ever Dreamed of Owning a B&B?

If so, we can help make your dream a reality! Just listed in Ennis, TX, this landmark home, “The Raphael House,” is available for only the third time in over 100 years. It has been both a bed and breakfast and a private residence, and isn’t it one of the most lovely things you’ve ever set your eyes on?

This Beautiful B&B Could Be Yours

The current owner, respected designer Harriet Adams, has restored and modernized the home since it came into her possession. Located at 500 W Ennis Ave., it’s just a 30 minute drive from the heart of downtown Dallas, but provides the romantic, southern feel that only a white home with columns and a front porch can.


The home has six bedrooms, 6 1/ baths, 3,814 square feet of living space, and sits on a beautifully treed and landscaped lot. If you move quickly, you could have this gorgeous dream home for just $550,000.


This Beautiful B&B Could Be Yours

This Beautiful B&B Could Be Yours

This Beautiful B&B Could Be Yours

This Beautiful B&B Could Be Yours

This Beautiful B&B Could Be Yours

For more information, click here.

This Week in Food & Beverage News

This Week in Food & Beverage News

Restaurants are opening and closing, we’re celebrating the Kentucky Derby, and there are plenty of new dishes and drinks to try this week in D-FW.


Dean Fearing Cookbook Signing: Get your dose of celebrity today, April 29, with Dean Fearing as he discusses and signs his cookbook, The Texas Food Bible: From Legendary Dishes to New Classics. He’ll be at the Barnes & Noble on Northwest Highway, but you better hurry because wristbands started going out at 9 a.m.


Kibble and Cocktails: Head to 3015 at Trinity Groves tonight, April 29, with man’s best friend to sample some of your favorite dishes from the area and support the Voice of Justice Program at DFW Rescue Me. The program educates children on how to take care of animals in order to prevent future abuse and tickets are $100. There will also be music, a live auction and a raffle.


Grill & Chill at NYLO: Every Friday, including this Friday, May 2, celebrate spring weather and grilling season from 5 to 10 p.m. at NYLO. You can sit by the pool as you enjoy sliders, hot dogs, corn on the cob, coleslaw, and a cold drink. Live entertainment begins at 7 and goes until 10 p.m.


Jockeys & Juleps: Sissy’s Southern Kitchen & Bar is hosting it’s third annual derby watching party Saturday, May 3, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dress in your derby attire and sip on mint juleps, grapefruit juleps, and other specialty drinks and then catch the Kentucky Derby on the bar’s big screens. If you’re outfit is impressive enough, you could win the $200 best dressed prize.


Kitchen LTO Voting Party: If you’d like some input on who the third chef and artist at Kitchen LTO will be, you have the chance to make your vote count on Sunday, May 4. From 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., the restaurant will debut the finalists for the new chef and artist positions. You can also vote online after the event on the restaurants website.


Chic Sundays at Lounge 31: If you’re a fan of Bloody Mary’s, get ready to smile. Every Sunday, including this Sunday, May 4, Lounge 31 will have its own DIY Bloody Mary bar. As if this isn’t enough, there will also be a Bloody Mary bar-cart bottle service and half-price bottles of champagne. Don’t forget to put a little something in  your stomach while you’re there, like tempura-friend lobster with a wasabi hollandaise benedict or duck hash and eggs.


The Whistling Pig: Though the soft opening was this past weekend, East Dallas is officially getting a new neighborhood hotspot on May 1. The Whistling Pig, or just The Pig, will offer sublime sandwiches dripping in melted cheese and hot meets, fryer favorites like corn dogs and chicken wings, and a laid back atmosphere.


Cold Beer Company: D-FW’s amazing selection of local breweries will continue to grow with the addition of the Cold Beer Company. It’s coming soon to Deep Ellum/ Expo Park and is expected to open in July. For more info, click here.


The Mecca Closing: After more than 75 years of brilliant breakfasts, The Mecca closed Sunday, April 27. After the move from its Harry Hines location in 2012, the restaurant couldn’t make it work in East Dallas. There are hopes that the closing proceeds a relocation, but it may be a while.


Image from Strauss Marketing & PR

No Mandarin? No Problem!



Through the Ebby Halliday Companies’ affiliation with Luxury Portfolio International, our luxury properties are marketed on the largest and most authoritative source for global property in Chinese, Juwai.com.


Ju Wai, which means “home overseas” in Mandarin Chinese, is the clear market leader in China for international property. The site is visited by thousands of Chinese buyers each day from over 315 cities throughout China, as well as major Chinese communities in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore.


Simply put, Juwai.com is where Chinese find international property. As China’s No. 1 international property portal, Juwai places luxury homes listed with Ebby Halliday Realtors and Dave Perry-Miller & Associates in front of an exclusive audience of high-net-worth Chinese who are actively looking to invest in international property.


To learn more about the distinct advantages our partner in marketing luxury properties offers, visit LuxuryPortfolio.com.

Toyota Headquarters Moving to Plano

Toyota Headquarters Moves to Plano

Toyota confirmed this afternoon that it will move its U.S. headquarters to Plano.


This move will consolidate the company’s three separate North American headquarters for manufacturing, sales and marketing, and corporate operations. Toyota’s finance division will also make the move to North Texas, most likely to Legacy business park.


The relocation will bring about 4,000 jobs from California, Kentucky, and New York to a brand new state-of-the-art campus to be completed in Plano by late 2016 or early 2017. Though the majority of workers will not move until construction is completed, small groups of workers will start moving to the area this summer. Toyota has committed to invest $300 million in the area, and has been granted $40 million by the state of Texas through the Texas Enterprise Fund.


The relocation will be the largest out-of-state move to Plano since J.C. Penney transferred its headquarters in the 1980’s. The state is already home to Toyota’s pickup plant in San Antonio and a General Motors Co. factory in Arlington.


Image via dallasnews.com 

Pending Home Sales Rise Nationwide



Contracts to purchase previously owned U.S. homes climbed in March by the largest percentage in almost three years, according to a report released today from the National Association of Realtors. The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, rose 3.4 percent, the most since May 2011.


Three of four U.S. regions showed an increase from February, with contract signings up 5.7 percent in the West, 5.6 percent in the South and 1.4 percent in the Northeast. Pending sales dropped 0.8 percent in the Midwest.


“Sales activity is expected to steadily pick up as more inventory reaches the market, and from ongoing job creation in the economy,” according to Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist.


During the first quarter, sales at the Ebby Halliday Companies continued to outperform the market with a 9.6 percent increase over the same period in 2013.

DSO Comes to Frisco April 27



Ever dreamed of having a virtuosic orchestra play right in your backyard? On April 27, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra arrives in Frisco “backyards” as part of its popular DSO on the GO concert series.


The Ebby Halliday Companies are proud to sponsor the second full season of the series, which brings the world-renowned Dallas Symphony Orchestra to concert halls and churches across North Texas.


The April 27 performance takes place at 6:30 p.m. at Stonebriar Community Church, 4801 Legendary Drive in Frisco. Tickets are $29, or just $9 for students (use Promo code STUDENTTIX at checkout), and are available at DallasSymphony.com or by calling 214-692-0203. Enjoy the show!

First-Quarter Sales Up


Home sales figures for the Ebby Halliday Companies show continuing growth through the first quarter of 2014, with total sales volume exceeding $1.2 billion, up 9.6% over the first quarter of 2013. Adding to the good news, average days on the market declined 18.6% — from 70 days to just 57 days.


During a period many considered to be “cooling off” from the hot D-FW residential real estate market of 2013, the Ebby Halliday Companies once again outperformed the overall market.


“The Ebby Halliday Companies’ first-quarter results reflect our sales associates’ exceptional professionalism and their unsurpassed level of service to our clients,” says Mary Frances Burleson, president and CEO of the Ebby Halliday Companies.


“At the Ebby Halliday Companies, we’re proud of our undisputed role as the dominant real estate firm in North Texas,” Burleson says. “While the first quarter of 2014 was truly outstanding for our company, what remains most important to us is service to our clients, service to our industry and service to our community.”

Fresh Listing Friday: Mediterranean Marvel


Happy Friday, everyone! You may recognize this week’s Fresh Listing Friday from our post earlier this week or from our Facebook page, but we felt you deserved a more in depth look at this marvel. This home, located in Bluffview at 8545 Midway Rd., in Dallas is absolutely stunning.

Fresh Listing Friday: Mediterranean Marvel

Imagine a home with all the space and tranquility of a private estate but located in the heart of the city. It sits on 1.26 acres, has five bedrooms, five baths, two half-baths, a three-car garage, and 9,383 square feet of living space. With a price tag of $5.5 million, you know there is no shortage of amenities and features in this home. Let’s take a look!

Fresh Listing Friday: Mediterranean Marvel

You’re welcomed to the home through a circle driveway that leads you to an opening in a privacy wall. This wall surrounds the front of the home, which offers a gorgeous courtyard with a fountain and highlights the home’s unique iron door that swivels on its middle. A two-story entrance bordered by a curving staircase is the perfect place to take in the formal living room.

Fresh Listing Friday: Mediterranean Marvel

This room has three sets of French doors, gorgeous views of the seemingly-endless backyard, hand scraped hardwood flooring, an the first of the homes five stunning fireplaces. This fireplace, like some of the others in the home, is a two-way fireplace, that provides heat and ambiance to this room and the adjoining formal dining room. Before we go too far, we want to give you a visual of the layout. To the left of the living room is a wet bar, an in-home theater complete with a projector screen and three TV’s, and also the main access to the first floor master suite. To the right, the formal dining room as three more sets of French doors, with the same stunning views and flooring.

listing_27Fresh Listing Friday: Mediterranean Marvel

To the right of the dining room are the home’s kitchen and main living an dining areas. The kitchen is incredible. The island is oversized, perfect for entertaining, and the countertop is made up of square marble samples, making this island one of the most unique we’ve seen. There are two refrigerators, a professional-grade stovetop and oven, a beautiful copper hood, and an entire separate space designated as the “caterer’s kitchen.” Of course, this room is filled with light like the rest of the home and has more of the great backyard views. It is also open to the casual dining room and living area. A wine room, a study, and two baths, and a large laundry/mudroom also make up the first floor.

Fresh Listing Friday: Mediterranean MarvelFresh Listing Friday: Mediterranean Marvel

Back down to the left of the home, we have the private master suite retreat. This room is immaculately done, with it’s own living room, another two-way fireplace, enormous dual closets with soaring ceilings, and a bathroom that would make even the most avid spa-goer jealous. It has a freestanding solid stone tub, a separate rain shower with detailed tile work, dual vanities and sinks, and access to the backyard. The remaining bedrooms and baths are upstairs, along with a spacious game room.

Fresh Listing Friday: Mediterranean MarvelFresh Listing Friday: Mediterranean Marvel

Let’s go outside now to this backyard oasis. There’s a pool with an infinity edge, a large spa, a huge yard, a sport court, covered and open patio space, incredible terraced landscaping, a large garden, and even a chicken coop. Let’s just say that if you’ve ever had a dream about the ideal place to host a backyard summer pool party and grill out, this is it, hands down.


Plain and simple, this home has it all. If you’ve got the finances to make this one yours, we’d suggest you hurry because gems like this don’t come on the market often!


To see all the wonderful new homes that were new to the market this week, click here. Have a wonderful weekend, y’all. We hope everyone has the chance to enjoy the gorgeous weather!