Drive Your Dream

DFW Drive Your Dream

At 53, I’ve had the chance to own and drive a number of really cool cars–Porsche, Audi, BMW and an assortment of American muscle cars (my 68 Pontiac Firebird was one of them). Sunday afternoon changed all of that! Gina purchased a “Speed Tour” (I have the coolest spouse!) from DFW Drive Your Dream last holiday season. We’ve been so busy that I had not had the time to set up the tour earlier in the year.

We arrived at their location in Haltom City about thirty minutes early and spent the time chatting with some others waiting to Drive Their Dream. It was Sunday afternoon and the city was quiet. The sound of exotic muscle coming up the street got our attention. It’s a sound that just cannot be ignored in this day of high mile-per-gallon and under-powered cars. The cars pulled into the parking lot and while the first set of drivers went into the office to finish up their paperwork, we had a chance to look under the hoods of the four cars we would “pilot” in a few minutes.

Sunday’s line-up included two Ferraris (a 599 and a 430) , a Lamborghini Gallardo, and the Aston Martin Vantage. After signing our lives away on close to $1m in automobiles (have I mentioned I love USAA?) we listened as the tour director gave us a run-down on each vehicle and the safety rules that would be followed during the tour.

Gina and I started the tour in the Lamborghini. As I started the V10 engine and listened to the 512 horsepower engine growling just behind our backs, a kid-like euphoria overcame me. We eased to car onto the street and we were off on an adventure. The 599 and pace car were in front of us as we pulled up onto the Interstate. The next thing I knew they were gone. I pressed down on the gas pedal and the Lambo took off like a rocket. I’d never driven a vehicle that could accelerate that quickly. The next thing we knew we were doing 90 in third gear and catching up with the tour. The Speed Tour takes place on some quiet and twisty back roads outside of Fort Worth. The Gallardo would go effortlessly through the turns at any speed. We both felt the car was way too performance oriented to be a daily driver.

Our second car was the Ferrari 599. The V12 engine produces 612 horsepower and will do zero to sixty in 3.7 seconds! The 599 is a fantastic car. While it is quick, the front-mounted engine makes the back-end light. It tends to drift a little under heavy acceleration and in tight turns. The cockpit is sexy! Supple leather, race-inspired wrap-around seats, and lots of bright yellow accents. This could be a daily driver if I had $365k lying around!

Our third car was the Aston Martin Vantage. We left the top down to enjoy the late Fall afternoon sun. The Vantage was very refined. I referred to it as “gentleman’s sports car.” The V8 produces 379 horsepower and will do zero to sixty in 4.9 seconds. After driving the 599, the Vantage felt lethargic by comparison. It’s cool but not in the same class as the others. James Bond needs to update his ride!

Our final car was the Ferrari 430. The 430 is a formula 1 inspired  design with a rear-mounted V8 engine that produces 483 horsepower, a more utilitarian interior, and some really sexy lines. It’s not nearly as refined as the 599 but on some levels that’s not a bad thing. You can really hear the engine growl at any speed. This car was fun to drive!

After two and a half hours of adrenalin filled driving, we arrived back in Haltom City. Gina and I jumped into our SMART Car and headed back to Dallas for dinner with friends. I felt like I had been rode hard and put up wet. Be prepared for a post experience emotional crash as the adrenalin wears off!

If you really want to experience the thrill of driving some really exotic cars–check out DFW Drive Your Dream. It is a great experience that will not be soon forgotten.

Photo Copyright 2012 Tom Branch

Joe T. Garcia’s – A Fort Worth Landmark

The chorus to George Strait’s hit song titled, “Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind” played on a local station today and got me thinking about Joe T. Garcia’s.

Gina and I had dropped by the restaurant, located just south of the Fort Worth Stockyards, after we listed a property in North Richland Hills and I had taken the photo below on my iPhone as we stood in line waiting for a table to open.

Joe T. Garcia's - A Fort Worth Landmark

Copyright 2010 - Tom Branch

Joe T. Garcia’s, known as “Joe T’s” among locals, was first opened on July 4th, 1935. The original restaurant seated 16 people and people would line up for hours to try out the famous enchiladas and hand-made tortillas.

Joe believed that the best form of advertising was word of mouth and did no traditional advertising. Joe and his family provided great meals and great service so despite no traditional advertising their family business flourished and grew.

Joe passed away in the early 1950’s leaving his wife and family to take over the reins. In the 1970’s a garden patio was added and every year after that saw an expansion of the gardens or the addition of a room. Over the years seating capacity has increased to almost 1000 and you still have to wait in line to get a seat!

The next time you’re in Fort Worth consider dropping by this landmark and give the food and hospitality a try! Don’t be surprised if you have to stand in line…

Tom Branch, Broker, CDPE, SFR

The Finish Line – Another Short Sale Closing – Fort Worth, TX

Short Sale Closing - Fort Worth, TX

Another short sale closed!  The sellers avoided foreclosure, the buyers purchased a nice home at a discount, and the lender did not have the losses involved with a foreclosure.

Many people feel that the nation’s economy rises and falls with the housing market.  While this is often true, we believe the current housing crisis is a direct result of the economic downturn and massive job loss across the nation. 

In the Short Sale community, the vast majority of homeowners did not get a bad loan or buy more house than they could afford; they’re just good, hardworking Americans who fell on bad times.

All indicators point to Short Sales being on the real estate horizon for the foreseeable future, at least through 2012, and maybe longer.  Industry experts see another wave of distressed homeowners surfacing when the once popular Pay Option Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs) begin to adjust in the coming months.

These mortgages allowed the borrower to essentially “pick a payment” that fit their budget in order to get into the house they wanted to purchase.  These loans have the potential to negatively amortize and the rate will adjust upward – it’s just a matter of time.  Pay Option ARMs were widely used in California and will begin adjusting soon.

We encourage homeowners across the United States to get educated on the options available should they become financially distressed.  Short Sales are a great tool, providing relief to all parties. 

Just remember to choose a REALTOR® with a proven Short Sale track record to negotiate on your behalf.  Making the right choice can mean the world of difference to your financial future.

Homes For Sale – Fort Worth, TX – 2749 Purple Sage

Homes For Sale - Fort Worth, TX - 2749 Purple Sage

4 Bedrooms | 3 Baths | 2-Car Garage |  2118 SF

Homes For Sale – Fort Worth, TX. Preforeclosure. Former Merrit model home on 1 acre. Open kitchen with breakfast bar, Corian type counters, and black GE appliances. Comfortable living room with wood-burning fireplace, crown molding, and pre-wired for surround sound. Elegant formal dining. Spacious master suite. Master bath with garden tub, dual vanities, separate shower, and walk-in closet. Separate guest suite with private bath. Remaining two bedrooms and bath split. 

Click here for current status, pricing, details and photos.

Source: NTREIS | Photo Credit – Tom Branch