By Christian Johnson, Branch Manager, Caliber Home Loans

At some point all homeowners face this conundrum: You love your location. You love your neighbors and neighborhood. But your home is old or too small or both. What to do?

Let’s start with: Are you willing to endure the trials and tribulations of a renovation project? Depending
on the scope of your project, you and your family may be displaced for months at considerable expense.
A renovation is a stressful process that requires a lot of your time and energy. Beyond interviewing
contractors, architects, and the bidding process, you will be making daily decisions about where the
project is headed and how to overcome problems. On the flip side, selling your current home, finding
another, and then moving is also a stressful process. Which one seems less stressful to you?

Next, explore your financial options: Seek the advice of your loan officer. How much home can you
afford and what payment are you comfortable with? Do you have the extra cash to deal with unforeseen
complications? Renovation mortgages are different and more complicated than regular mortgages. Does
your loan officer have the skills, expertise, and experience required to see the project through or can
they refer you to an expert in the field?

Once you have a budget, talk to your trusted Realtor: What price do renovated homes fetch in your
neighborhood? Is it worth the headache of renovating or would it be smarter to buy an already
renovated home in your neighborhood? Will your renovated home be the most expensive in the
neighborhood? If so, are you going to live there long enough for the rest of the neighborhood to catch

These are not easy questions to answer. Both renovating and moving are some of the most stressful
events in anyone’s life. But the improvement in your quality of life is worth the stress. Whichever
direction you choose, surround yourself with professionals. The right choices will make the process a
little easier.

About Christian Johnson

Christian Johnson is the Park Cities-Kessler Park Branch Manager for Caliber Home Loans.  He has more than a decade of mortgage experience in listening to customers’ needs and determining the right path for present and future financial success.

Christian is widely considered the “go to guy” in the mortgage industry.  His attention to detail and tenacity in today’s financing world to provide a hassle-free loan acquisition and closure reveal why he has been chosen as one of the Best Mortgage Professionals in Dallas year over year.

You can contact Christian by email at or by phone at 214.763.8767.



$825,000 4 BEDS 3.1 BATHS 3,236 SQFT

Lakewood home with beautiful updates. Main living areas are surrounded by a wall of windows allowing the light in. Kitchen opens to a cozy living area which opens to the outside with multiple windows and atrium doors. Spacious entry opens to the dining area, kitchen which opens to family area and downstairs study. The kitchen is complete with granite, island, stainless appliances, and a breakfast bar. Great floor plan in Lakewood Elementary.

LISTING AGENT: Susan Blackburn

BROKER: Allie Beth Allman & Assoc.


$819,000  4 BEDS, 3 BATHS, 3,040 SQFT

Major renovation in 2014 with recent freshening make this beautiful one-story, 4-bedroom, 3-bath home perfectly move-in ready. Open floor plan with bright white open kitchen. Wonderful F. Bertazzoni gas cooktop and convection oven. Second living area-playroom just off breakfast room. Separate guest suite behind the kitchen. The 2014 renovation added an enormous master bathroom and closet featuring statuary marble and Marmara marble. The master bedroom opens onto the covered patio which is well-protected from the Texas summer heat. A rolling gate across the rear driveway greatly expands the usable backyard space. Sought after Lakewood Elementary with its new expansion space is just around the corner.



$799,000 4 BEDS 3 BATHS 2,551 SQFT

Wonderful ranch cottage, with 4 bedrooms, 3 baths and 3 Living Area’s, deep in the heart of Lakewood, on one of the area’s most sought after streets and blocks. This updated home boasts 2 bedrooms up with delightful play area and 2 bedrooms down, including the master suite and fabulous bath! Complete with formal living and dining and sought after open kitchen family room, this home has it all. Additional amenities include pristine hardwood flooring throughout, crown moldings, built-ins, landscaped grounds and board on board privacy fenced-in backyard, as well as a two car attached garage with side entry, Lakewood elementary, and all of this in one of Dallas’s premier urban neighborhoods!

BROKER: David Bush Realtors

What are your family’s summer traditions? Our family and extended family have a long-standing tradition of spending the last week of July in the beautiful, sunny beach town of Seaside, Florida. Seaside is located along historic Highway 30A in the Florida Panhandle. From Dallas, you can easily fly into Ft Walton Beach or Pensacola, or make a road trip of it with the family (we normally take a pit stop in New Orleans along the way!). The most important thing to remember is that once you get to Seaside, you can park your car for the week! The three main forms of transportation are walking, biking, and golf cart riding. It’s so nice to be out of the car and really absorb this quaint little beach town.

“Where bare feet and sandy floors rule,” is posted all over town. White picket fences line the streets filled with everything from stately colonial homes to tiny beach cottages. The town center, “Seaside Square” is a large green field lined with palm trees. Surrounding the square are unique little shops and art galleries that will impress even the most discerning Dallas shopper. The town is only 1.5 square miles and has some of the best food I’ve ever had, between their restaurants and line of silver gleaming Airstream food trucks. Trails for running and bike riding wind around the town, between palm trees and along the water, over bridges and alongside perfectly planned parks and water features.

All of the above and I still haven’t reached the best part…the perfect white sandy beaches and crystal clear water. We’ve talked to people on the beaches while visiting that have traveled the world and remark at the unmatched beauty of the beaches of Seaside.

So…before you plan your visit, here’s a list of some of our favorite hot spots:

  1. Bud and Alley’s  – Hit the upstairs bar for sunset and stunning views of the ocean, stay for the delicious food.
  1. The Great Southern – Beautiful patio, absolutely amazing food. Come hungry!
  1. Perscipacity Beachside Bazzar – Gorgeous outdoor shopping area featuring ocean inspired women’s clothing and accessories.
  2. Duckie’s – A shop of full of fun that brings out the kid in all of us. Toy store, gifts.
  1. Seaside Food Trucks – Grab a Frost Bites Snocone and some BBQ or a delish grilled cheese and hit the beach!

Post author Katy Pritchard, her husband Jay, and their kids Link and Reese live in Lakewood.

Like most of you, we have a LOVE/HATE relationship with our fair city.  We LOVE the 10 months of patio weather, the friendly people, the State Fair and of course the Tex-Mex (especially when it comes with a Mambo Taxi), but we HATE August.  That’s right, August.  It’s the worst month of the year in Dallas.  It’s hot, but not July hot – where you’ve just started to get used to the heat and you still have the energy to sneak in an early round of golf or game of tennis.  No, this is “we haven’t had a day under 100 in over a week and my glasses fog up when I leave the house hot”.  It’s miserable and over the years us Dallasites have become experts in beating the August heat.  Welcome to our new summer blog series on the best places to ESCAPE to this summer (and some of the fab homes you can buy or rent there!).
My personal August escape is Breckenridge, Colorado.  Breck (as those familiar with the town call it) has a true East Dallas vibe; full of excellent independently owned shops and restaurants with a casual vibe…it feels like home…in the mountains!  We LOVE this home at 131 Windwood Circle in Breckenridge, listed by Laurie Huggins.  The Design Aesthetic + View + Location make it the perfect luxury escape in Breckenridge.  Listed at $7,495,00, this incredible home has 6 Bedrooms, 6.4 Baths, 6 Fireplaces and 7,995 square feet on almost half an acre.
Who wouldn’t want to wake up to this view?
A little pool and cards (+ bar of course) is the perfect place to hang out with the extended family on your vacation!
The media room is complete with everything you need to sing Karaoke (including costumes!)…yes, we said COSTUMES!
Not in the market for a luxury property in Colorado, but looking for a fun way to beat the heat anyway?  Me too!  I’ve included my family’s Top 5 list of our favorite things to do in Breck!
5.  Downstairs at Eric’s – great pizza + a ton of video games!  We love to hit this restaurant up on a rainy night.  Order a pizza and a bottle of wine, give the kiddos $10 to play the games and sit back and relax.  Bonus: the pizza’s really good!
4.  Hike – There are so many great hikes in and around Breckenridge!  Whether you want to take the lift to the top of the mountain and explore some of the winter ski trails or climb to see a waterfall, there will be a hike for you.  Start early and keep an eye on the weather!  An afternoon thunderstorm on the mountain can be dangerous!
3.  Peak 8 Summer Fun Park – almost all of the resort towns turn the top of the mountain into a fun park in the summer.  Think Alpine slides, mountain roller coasters, and zip lines!
2.  Horseback Riding at BreckStables!  One of the only places I’ve found that will accommodate the littles, this is a “MUST” for our family.  An hour trail ride through the mountains with a small group is an excellent way to see the local topography and scenery.
1.  White Water Rafting with AVA – again, only of the only places that the littles can be included in the fun, AVA has rides for 3 and up!  Our little guy is already talking about jumping off the cliffs into the river again this year!

Looking for the perfect Father’s Day gift?

We have a few local selections that your dad (or hubby) is sure to love!



  1.  Dallas: Urban Fabric – Coffee table book by Dallas photographer, Justin Terveen.  This stunning display of Dallas architecture is sure to please any guy in your life.  From Deep Ellum to Fair Park to White Rock Lake, Terveen captures the essence of this city.  (P.S. – I hear he has a buy one get one 1/2 off special running through the end of the week!  Check him out on Facebook!)


2.  Anything from Bullzerk!  No matter what type of sense of humor your dad has, you are sure to find a t-shirt he will love at this fun Greenville Avenue shop!  T-shirts not your dad’s thing?  This shop offers a ton of other selections from cool coasters to prints to coffee mugs!


3.  Food more your dad’s love language?  You can’t go wrong with anything from Dude, Sweet Chocolate!  We were especially intrigued by the Chocolate “Salami”!  With gift bags starting at only $30, this is an easy and delicious gift!



4.  Or maybe your dad is more of a beer and football kind of guy?  Treat him to a local brew with a growler and gift certificate from Lakewood Growler!  Better yet, schedule a date night and take dad to the store on Mockingbird to pick out his own brew over a pint or two.  Check out their Facebook page for tastings and special events!


5.  Looking for something a bit more tame — or maybe need to give dad something to counteract the 2 am feedings?  Swing by the Northwest Highway location of White Rock Coffee for dad’s favorite blend and pick up a mug to pair with it!



See something on this list you think would be perfect for your dad for Father’s Day?  Come by our wine + beer tasting at our lovely (and available) home at 6227 Anita on Thursday, 6/15 from 4-7 and enter for a chance to win a fabulous gift basket with all of these items and more!  Plus…we’ll have local vendors so you can do a little shopping for the lady in your life too (even if that’s you!).  Fabulous options from Bee Contained, The Closet Hound, Swag Designs, LulaRoe-Jenn Allen and Calligraphy by Elizabeth Bohannan!


As experts in East Dallas real estate, we often serve as a concierge to our clients, connecting them to the BEST painters, roofers, landscapers, restaurants, housekeepers and more!  We’d love to know what you think about our list of the BEST local spots to pick up a Father’s Day gift!  Have another resource we should add to the list?  Let us know!  


All images shamelessly grabbed from each company's website or facebook page!

Stunning custom built home in the Estates at Craig Ranch! Beautifully landscaped 1 acre lot featuring a backyard paradise with pool, spa, outdoor kitchen, large yard, & a beautiful view of the TPC Craig Ranch Golf course. Built in 2015 with superior craftsmanship, all on one level, this home features hardwood floors, beamed ceilings, and a wonderful layout. High-end gourmet kitchen with attached catering kitchen, opens to living area. Luxury Master Suite, with marble floors & countertops. Secondary bedrooms with individual bathrooms in marble & limestone. Children’s work space, media room, large game room, exercise room, & a safe room. Attached mother-in-law suite. 5 Bedrooms, 5.2 Baths, 6,235 Square Feet, 4 car garage. This exceptional home is a rare find!

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