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TALE OF THE SALE BEHIND THE SCENES IN LOCAL REAL ESTATE Out of Africa and In the Money

By Mary Candace Evans |

THE HOUSE: 3000 E. Parker Rd.. Pian

LISTING PRICE: $998,000

SELLING PRICE: $978,000

WHAT COULD BE MORE OF A NIGHTMARE for a real estate agent than having a lawyer and a commercial real estate guru as clients on the same contract? Try negotiating that exact deal on Christmas Day, one day before leaving for a two-week photography expedition in Kenya and Egypt. Judy McCutchin of RE/MAX Preston Road North, with a little help from technology, was not about to let her two problematic clients ruin her R&R in the African bush.

“1 had two bright, anal-retentive parties,” says McCutchin. “’And compulsive. They quibbled over every word on the contract. And on lop of it there was a trade involved.”

Each client had his own idea of how the whopping 26-page contract should be worded, from the trade lease to the long addendum detailing each party’s fiscal responsibilities. The buyer, attorney Rocky Schwartz, had a home in Richardson that the seller. Dave Parent, would be leasing temporarily. The buyer had seen Parent’s 6-acre country estate on McCutchin’s Internet site. He called his agent, Dixie Shaffer, who was thrilled to death: This would be her very first sale.

“She was so scared, she didn’t know a thing,” says McCutchin. “But she sure learned fast. We had two tigers by the tail. Negotiations were like détente.”

The agents worked the deal all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day 1996: McCutchin threw her things in a suitcase with a phone glued to her ear while she tried to settle the deal. The airport limo picked her up at 9 a.m. on Dec. 26. In the driveway, while loading her safari and photography gear into the limo, she got a verbal agreement on the contract. She talked on the phone the entire way to the airport and continued the conversation en route to Kenya. Then she whipped out her laptop and put together the contract somewhere over the Atlantic ocean.

“As soon as we got to Kenya and set up camp, I faxed the contract home to my office,” says McCutchin. “Thank God for telephone lines.”

The 14-day photography expedition took McCutchin to the African bush, then, via a luxury cruise ship, to Egypt. McCutchin kept in touch with her office and clients from each camp. When she got home, they closed on the deal-and she banked her commission.

Parent sold his estate because he wanted to simplify his life: A condo with plastic flowers was all he wanted after maintaining more than 7,200 square feet, a wine cellar, and a 40,000-gaIlon swimming pool. But one year later, he is still leasing Schwartz’s 4,500-square-foot house in Northwood Hills-with real flowers, not plastic.



THE HOUSE: 3304 Wentwood Dr.

LISTING PRICE: $369,500

SELLING PRICE: $369,500

With Dallas residential real estate inventory at an all-time low, agents say many buyers are pre-qualified and ready to go, but they can’t find any homes to go to. So many homes are selling on or even before the first MLS tour day that Realtors often don’t need signs or even graphics to showcase a property on paper.

Take 3304 Wentwood Dr. Listing agent Dave Perry-Miller of Adleta & Poston Realtors knew the homeowner wanted to sell quickly. During the first three weeks of listing, Perry-Miller had the home inspected, spruced, and decorated. Then he spread word via telephone that he had a hot, four-bedroom, 2,600-square-foot home in University Park for less than $400,000. Scheduled for the MLS tour on a Tuesday in February, the house was shown 13 times the day before and had three contracts on it by Monday night, two more on Tuesday.

“The house had a good Moor plan, good space for the price,” says agent Gene Taylor of Wm. Rigg Realtors, who represented buyers Susan and Snowden Leftwich. “We had been looking for almost nine months, and the prices were increasing almost daily as we hunted.”

The Leftwitches didn’t haggle over cost: 3304 Wentwood Dr. sold for the asking price. Soon someone will be promoting the Dallas Real Estate Survival Kit for home shoppers: sleeping bags and state-of-the-art camping gear, plus a battery-powered fax to whip out that contract while you beat your way to the front door. Better get there first.

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