HGTV’s Ultimate House Hunt 2019 is underway. And if you’re like us, you can’t wait to see inside these extraordinary properties and click the ‘VOTE’ button for your favorites. After you vote, be sure to enter the sweepstakes for a chance to win $10,000!
This majestic traditional estate in Lakewood is an outdoor haven. If you want resort living in the city, this is it. The home features sweeping staircases overlooking the grounds, formal dining with French doors that lead to the front patio, and an outdoor terrace facing White Rock Lake.
The outside is polished with a stunning pool, koi pond and plenty of space for entertaining.
Every year, the Park Cities community floods the streets in their best red, white and blue for the neighborhood Fourth of July parade.
To beat the Dallas heat, parade-goers are greeted by Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate agents at the Goar Park finish line with ice-cold lemonade. It’s a tradition almost 40 years in the making.
This year, 20 volunteers from Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate spent the morning handing out 3,000 cups — roughly 220 gallons — of lemonade as thousands gathered for the fun-filled festivities.
For agent Ronda Needham, she still reminisces about the beginnings of the Park Cities lemonade stand, which dates back to 1981.
“I remember when the stand was just a small table with a few of us walking around juggling cups of lemonade on wooden trays, like old-fashioned carhops,” Needham said. “It was manageable with only 400 being served, but now the crowds are thousands.”
Jamie Adler, manager of the Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate Preston Center office, says the lemonade stand is special for agents and families alike.
“Our associates have always been involved in this Park Cities’ summer highlight,” Adler said. “It’s one of our favorite ways to say thank you to our many loyal clients and the neighborhood in general, and to celebrate our common patriotic spirit.”
Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate agents were prepared to get down to work with CitySquare, preparing for the grand opening of the Fannie C. Harris Youth Center on Thursday. The new facility in East Dallas will serve homeless youth with support services.
“It’s awesome to have 25 people come in today and just get ready to hit the ground running. Nobody was waiting. Everyone just jumped in and helped,” Senior Director of CitySquare TRAC Program Madeline Reedy said.
DPMRE agents spent the morning sorting out donations, cleaning and organizing the facility.
Angela McCants (Preston Center Office) says she’s enjoyed volunteering with CitySquare, a local nonprofit fighting poverty in Dallas.
“I love giving back. I’ve been looking forward to this opportunity and seeing a different aspect of what CitySquare is doing for the homeless and for children,” McCants said.
The youth center will have a soft launch on June 3, which will house both a drop-in center and residential services, including access to showers, laundry facilities, employment resources and a safe place.
The family-friendly event packed the heart of Lakewood with artificial snow, children’s activities, photos with Santa and performances by the Lipscomb Elementary School choir and Woodrow Wilson High School’s Variations choir and marching band.
The Lakewood Service League also collected toys for its charity drive. The Ray Johnston Band performed during the evening’s festivities.
There’s nothing that will stop Paul Layne from attending a Southern Methodist University football game short of being sick — and when that happened, he still attended.
Layne’s diehard dedication to his alma mater’s football team was recently honored by the school with his own jersey and commemorative football marking his 500th consecutive attendance before the game against Houston Baptist. It was an accomplishment 46 years in the making.
“They introduced me down on the field, and to my surprise they gave me an SMU jersey, a blue one like they wear in the games. I may frame it and put it in my home office,” said Layne of the Layne-Rothwell Group in the Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate Intown office. “I was also interviewed on the radio at the start of the second half.”
His amazing achievement and dedication are highlighted by the press and SMU during landmark years and games. This year was particularly special and garnered him attention from Fox 4’s Good Day morning show, a selection of radio interviews and a spotlight from ESPN.
Layne’s legendary love of SMU football began when he was a child, his parents toting him along to games starting at 2 years old.
As an SMU student, he was writing about the games as a student reporter but was so excited in the press box that his editor suggested he be a cheerleader instead. That cemented his dedication, and he attended every home and away game, even after he graduated.
When he realized he had a streak going, he doubled down on his efforts, doing his best to attend even when he was sick.
“The one story people like hearing the most is the time I came close to missing a game,” Layne recalled. “I was 41, and I came down with chicken pox. I looked on the schedule and saw, luckily, we had a home game. It happened to be Halloween, so I sat on the upper deck of the Cotton Bowl by myself and dressed as a scarecrow.”
His real estate partner, Trina Rothwell, said his love of SMU football is so infectious that she’s also gone above and beyond to make sure Layne doesn’t miss a game.
About five years ago, both of them were indisposed — Rothwell with a thrown out back and Layne with a bad reaction to antibiotics he was taking for an infected incision from dental surgery. Layne told Rothwell he may have to miss the game.
“There I am with my back not being able to move, and I said, ‘Not on my watch,’ ” Rothwell said. “I drove him to the La Madeleine across from the stadium, and he attended the game.”
“I’m really proud of him, and it’s something he really enjoys,” she added.
Layne’s spirit and dedication to SMU football have benefitted his real estate career with the Layne-Rothwell Group. Layne helps incoming and outgoing coaches and staff with their home buying needs. Rothwell also agreed to cover for Layne during game days.
“The attendance streak has opened the doors for Trina and I to be their agents. It’s brought in a lot of business,” Layne said. “They know I’m loyal.”
Spend next Thursday evening doing something out of the ordinary with an extraordinary show featuring Rocket Man, the Elton John Tribute Experience, at the Dallas Arboretum.
Rocket Man, performed by Scotsman Rus Anderson, is a journey back in time to the ‘70s portraying Elton John’s unforgettable performances during his “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” tour. The energetic performance will feature Elton John’s time-tested tunes, including “Bennie and the Jets,” “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting,” and “Candle in the Wind.”
The evening, sponsored by Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate, will also include delectable treats from food trucks including BellaTrino, Grub Tub and Bobaddiction.
Rocket Man is part of the Arboretum’s Cool Thursdays fall concert series at the Martin Rutchik Concert Stage & Lawn. Gates open at 6 p.m. Sept. 20, and the show starts at 7 p.m.
Tickets are $30 for non-member adults and $28 for non-member seniors. Member adult tickets are $20 and $18 for member seniors. All children between 2 and 12 years are $10.
The first Christmas in a new home is a special occasion but even more so for CitySquare’s Cottages at Hickory Crossing residents, who might have not had the chance to celebrate the holidays in years past.
“For the majority of our neighbors at the Cottages, this is their first Christmas in their new home. The first Christmas, in a long time or ever, to celebrate with a community and friends,” says Sandra Ostad, CitySquare’s volunteer coordinator.
Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate agents had the opportunity to first help Cottages residents in January, staging 12 of the new homes with furnishings and basics. They were ready to assist once again this holiday season, donating winter accessories, candy, games, underwear and more items to be given to residents today at CitySquare’s Cookies and Milk holiday party.
“Although we all know Christmas is not about items, the gifts donated from Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate agents represent much more,” Ostad says. “It means that someone cared. CitySquare strives to fight the causes and effects of poverty through service, advocacy and friendship. By donating, you are a part of building community, creating friendships and breaking the cycle of poverty.”
CitySquare is truly helping break the cycle of poverty through its Cottages program, which includes 50, 400-square-foot homes. The homes are intended to ease chronic homelessness through the “Housing First” concept, which prioritizes permanent housing before other supportive services (mental health, job training, etc.) are provided.
Ostad says among the first 50 residents at the Cottages, 35 continue to reside there.
“The Cottages has been successful at keeping 70 percent of the original residents currently housed while working with them intensively to increase their non-cash benefits, apply and obtain Social Security income, participate in behavioral health groups, and create unity in the community,” she says. “Mostly all residents at the Cottages program participate in supportive services, even though they are not required to do so.”
If you missed the opportunity to donate for this year’s gifts, Ostad says there is always more to do. Every effort counts, including writing and addressing thank you cards to CitySquare’s benefactors, which Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate agent Valerie Caddell of the Heather Guild Group participated in last week.
Ostad says there may be volunteer opportunities next year in the Cottage’s new community garden and sorting through donations.
When cooler weather prevails, many of us are fortunate enough to snuggle in sweaters and blankets to keep warm. Others are not so blessed, forced to sleep on the streets, their lives more chaotic than the busy traffic passing them by.
For Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate agent Carrie Hill, sleeping on the streets was a reality she experienced one chilly evening earlier this month that she won’t soon forget. Hill was volunteering with Promise House, a nonprofit organization that works to support homeless and runaway youth.
The Amarillo native spent the night with other business and community leaders at the Promise House parking lot in Oak Cliff to raise awareness about homeless and at-risk youth. Campers were provided on-site security, food and beverages, restroom access, sleeping bags and cardboard.
Hill said the experience was only a fraction of what homeless youth have to face, but it made her more thankful for organizations such as Promise House.
So far, Hill has raised over $3,000 of her $5,000 goal for the Promise House Sleep Out. To donate in Hill’s name, visit her fundraising page.
We asked Hill to speak about Promise House’s “Night Under the Stars” and more about her volunteer work.
What was your experience at the Promise House Sleep Out?
I participated as a sleeper, alongside my teammate Crystal Lightbody, a fellow Junior League of Dallas volunteer and Oak Cliff resident. We had the pleasure of hearing a success story from a past resident and now a Promise House board member, trained in groups for streets outreach and then took a field trip to Deep Ellum for a mini street outreach session and ended the night with campfire chats with the resident counselors at Promise House.
Then, we got our cardboard and sleeping bags and bedded down for our night under the stars. It was cold, and I didn’t sleep much. Thinking about a population that endures this night after night — whether it’s out in the elements or couch surfing with no permanent place to call home — breaks my heart.
My job is to help people buy and sell homes, yet there are thousands of vulnerable homeless youth in our city that have nowhere to go. That is why the work Promise House does is so vital.
Promise House moves youth in crisis towards safety and success through a combination of residential and community-based programs. Programs such as the Emergency Youth Shelter, the Transitional Living Program, Wesley Inn (a home for pregnant and teen mothers), the Street Outreach Program, and the Community Counseling Program, are vital to their success and are free of charge to the clients.
How did you get involved with Promise House?
I was raised to serve others and give to those in need, but not being from Dallas, it was difficult for me to get plugged in. In 2012, I joined the Junior League of Dallas, because I was attracted to an organization of women who were philanthropic but also trained in leadership.
Being a Junior League member has been one of my biggest blessings. I have met some of my best friends, met community and nonprofit leaders and grown as a leader myself.
Giving back to the community is something I am passionate about, and it is through the Junior League that I was introduced to Promise House. Last year for Junior League, I was the project chair for Promise House. Because of that, I couldn’t participate in the Sleep Out, because I was helping at the front of the event.
In 2014, I participated in a local build for Habitat in South Dallas, and the following year I traveled to Nicaragua for a build trip there. Both were extreme challenges — It was raining here, and Nicaragua was hot — but both trips were memories I will cherish forever.
I think it’s important to focus locally on housing issues like homelessness, but it was eye-opening and culturally enriching for me to take a global trip. Experiences such as these give me perspective on the world around me and keep pushing me to do more.
How do you think your volunteer work helps you in your day job?
I don’t volunteer hoping that it’s going to bring me business, but it definitely introduces me to people who I want to work with. It puts me in with the right kind of people I want in my life.
What Junior League does for me is it introduces me to the kind of women, like me, who want to help other people and, for the most part, are in the working world. We all want to help other people.
The women in Junior League, those are the kind of people that if they want to buy a house and they use me — it’s such a great thing to have a client like that.
When it comes to real estate, Leslie Rouda Smith knows her stuff. Smith was not only raised in real estate, she became the matriarch of a family of real estate agents, extending her family’s real estate legacy another generation.
She has been a leader of several Realtor associations and has advocated for legislation that has saved Texas homeowners millions in property taxes through homestead exemption.
We asked Smith about her real estate career and what fuels her passion for the business.
What industry organizations are you currently involved with?
I’m most actively involved in the Texas Association of Realtors (TAR), the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and the Collin County Association of Realtors (CCAR).
Other groups that I am actively involved in include Women’s Council of Realtors, Realtor Property Resource board of directors and Realtor University board of regents. I also am the current chairman of the Future of the Realtor Party Presidential Advisory Group for NAR.
What has been the trajectory to get there?
Committee service and committee leadership at CCAR, MetroTex, TAR and NAR. I served as a director for eight years at MetroTex, nine years at CCAR, 12 years at TAR and nine years as a director at NAR, with five years serving on the NAR Executive Committee. I’ve chaired many committees at all three levels, including the National Leadership Academy.
In 2012, I was president of the CCAR, 2013 vice president of the NAR, 2016 chairman of the TAR and 2017 regional vice president of NAR. I’ve also served as a liaison for Charles McMillan (2009 NAR president) and as national fundraising liaison for RPAC (Texas’ TREPAC) in 2011.
How did your upbringing factor into where you are today?
Although my father was the 1991 NAR president, and I grew up in the industry in Ohio, I never thought that real estate was going to be my career.
I’ve used my communications degree in different ways than I thought I would. Observing my dad in his leadership roles inspired me to get involved and to give back to the industry that means so much to me.
These are not paid but rather volunteer positions, yet they are vital to industry members and consumers alike. What would you most like people to know about these roles that are essentially your full-time job?
How passionate I am about and committed to our industry, homeownership and private property rights. I wish all Realtors knew and understood the importance of investing in their business through TREPAC (Texas Real Estate Political Action Committee).
As a frequent speaker, I enjoy updating Realtors and consumers on relevant issues affecting our business and homeownership. What an opportunity to share your knowledge with the people you serve.
How do you balance being an agent with representing agents?
I’m fortunate to work with my husband, Brian, a Farm and Ranch real estate broker, and our two children, Kristin and Austin. We also have Jody Hargus, who specializes in Farm and Ranch, and two assistants, Debbie and Jasmine. It is truly a team.
How has your work impacted the way your fellow agents do their jobs?
Everything we’ve passed or defeated legislatively, it has all benefited agents and, ultimately, homeowners.
For example, when we passed Proposition 1 in November 2015, it gave all homeowners a $10,000 increase in their homestead exemption, from $15,000 to $25,000. To pass this proposition, we secured the largest grant in the history of NAR — $3 million — that was matched by TAR. So ultimately $6 million was spent to get the word out. That took a lot of hard work!
I also want Realtors to know and take advantage of all the membership benefits that are available to them — so many benefits go unclaimed, because they’re not even aware of them. And I want to give them knowledge to use every day, the kind of knowledge that can help swing a listing presentation in their favor. Me and every other Realtor serving in this way are trying to leave this industry better than we found it.