Amazon has made its choice for its new headquarters, HQ2.

Although Dallas was among the finalists, and was even one of a handful of cities to receive a second visit, it did not make the final cut.

The Dallas Morning News reports that Amazon selected “the East Coast power corridor of New York and Washington, D.C., for its new headquarters.”

Amazon will spend around $5 billion in total, but it will divide that between the two cities, employing as many as 25,000 people in each with an average salary of $150,000.

Amazon said its reason for the choice is because “it can recruit more top talent” in those cities, the DMN reports.

For more, read the full story here.

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Is a new home on your Christmas list? What about a remodel? If you’re interested in purchasing a home or refinancing your present home or rental property, we have the loan that will fit your specific needs.

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Hawkins Mortgage Group is supported by First United’s in-house processing, underwriting and closing, all backed by secondary markets and a management team that is second to none. Contact Michael Hawkins to let him help you with your loan needs.

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Did you know we have 138 coffee shops in Dallas? Well, we do. And we also love Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Those two things together put us on Redfin’s list of “10 Best Cities for Pumpkin Spice Lattes.” We are 10th on the list, which we earned by having a high number of coffee shops and a high number of pumpkin spice related searches and hashtags.

Just a few months ago we made a similar list by Redfin, the “15 Best Cities for Ice Cream Lovers.” Our number of ice cream shops is only slightly less impressive at 98, which by the way is actually way more than almost any of the other cities on the list, but unfortunately quantity isn’t the only qualifier. Dallas is 12th on the list of 15, which Redfin whittled down from 100 by factoring in the average Yelp ratings of said ice cream shops.

You can learn more by going to the full surveys, or click to learn more about Redfin McKinney.

A lot of homeowners can appreciate the “reclaimed” trend that has been picking up steam, but the Wall Street Journal recently featured several couples who took their obsession with salvaging old materials to a whole new level.

You might think restoring leftover pieces from condemned buildings or junkyards is a thrifty way for homeowners to save money, but you’d be wrong. Building new homes that incorporate antique pieces, which tend to be heavy and bulky, not to mention often in need of repair, takes a unique skill set — and of course the cost of that labor is passed along to the buyer.

The feature includes Todd and Debbie Martin, who bought seven stained glass windows, salvaged from an 1870s church in rural Pennsylvania. Although the windows only cost them about $4,000, installing them into their new home was a year-long project that cost them around $15,000. And that was only the beginning. In all the Martins spent around $800,000 retrofitting various items in their house, which is twice as much as they spent on the house itself.

Read the full story to see the slideshow and learn about a couple in Sundance, Utah who spent more than $4 million in making their house “resemble an ancient structure.” (If the WSJ story is behind the paywall, you can also find the full story on Realtor.com.)

Hawkins Mortgage Group at First United Bank has two construction loan options to choose from: the one-time close construction to permanent loan program, and the two-time close construction to permanent loan program.

With the one-time close program, borrowers close once at the beginning of the loan process. It was designed to provide homebuyers with the financing upfront, which gives you the peace of mind of knowing that your financing needs are already in place throughout the construction process. The perk of this loan option is that you only have to close once – that means one application, one qualification, one underwriting, one approval – so you only have to pay for closing costs once. You can also lock in your rate before you start and then only pay interest on the loan during construction.

The two-time close program involves two separate loans. One covers construction and the other covers long-term financing. Once the first loan agreement is signed at closing, the lender releases funds to an account and begins paying draws to the builder upon your approval. The homebuyer pays interest only during the construction period, and then once the house is complete you re-qualify for a permanent mortgage. The perks of this loan are lower mortgage rates and more flexibility.

Do you have questions? Learn more at hawkinsmortgagegroup.com, or give Michael Hawkins a call at 972-369-6913 or email at mhawkins@firstunitedbank.com.

Houses made out of shipping containers. It’s been a bit of a trend in the last few years, although primarily overseas and in the northwest. Did you know we have our very own shipping container house here in Dallas?

Screenshot 4
Photos by Wade Griffith from archdaily.com

You might have already heard of PV14. It received a lot of attention both locally and nationally back when it was built in 2014. But if you haven’t, you’re in for a treat.

Photographer Wade Griffith took a bunch of photos a couple years back, which you can browse through on archdaily.com, and there’s even video available on Vimeo of the construction process.

The house is located at the corner of Peavy Rd. and Buckner Blvd. just north of White Rock Lake and enjoys a stunning view of the lake from its upper deck. Overall the home was finished very tastefully, so you have to look pretty hard to see that it was made out of shipping containers. Lovers of clean lines and ultramodern style will appreciate this unique 3,400-square-feet home.

The house was born out of the collaborative effort of two Dallas architects: Matt Mooney, the homeowner, and Michael Gooden of M Gooden Design.

Screenshot 2The first floor of PV14 features floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking a pool and an entertainment center. The second floor is the part of the house that’s made out of shipping containers, which is where the bedrooms and living spaces are located. Although the walls are covered in sheet rock, they opted to leave the ceilings exposed so guests can see the shipping container above them — otherwise “it would look like a normal house,” Gooden told D Magazine. The third floor of the house is the open-air deck that overlooks White Rock Lake and downtown Dallas.

We’d say Gooden and Mooney accomplished their objective in creating a home that doubles as a work of art.

Creativity hasn’t gone extinct from the real estate industry.

Mansfield real estate agent Casey Lewis took a chance on a gimmick with his recent listing, and it went even better than expected.

At first the listing for the 796-square-foot house in Granbury seems pretty generic. The description calls it a “charming 2 bed 1 bath lake house” and notes that it “comes fully furnished.” But as you click through the 36 images, it doesn’t take long to notice something a little… different.

No you’re not seeing things. That’s definitely someone in a T. rex costume mowing the front lawn, cooking at the stove and lounging on the bed.

T. Rex listing screenshot
Screenshot of Lewis’ Realtor.com listing

Sure it’s a little ridiculous, but it’s also a lot of fun and it helped the property reach No. 1 on Realtor.com, which is a spot generally reserved for famous homes or the homes of celebrities.

“I’ve had this idea for a few years and just needed the right client and the right house to pull it off,” Lewis told the Dallas Morning News. “After I saw the video and the photos I thought it was funny and was hopeful other people would think it was funny too. I expected a lot of people to see it, but never expected this huge of a response.”

To see all the photos, you can find the listing here.

After a surge of foreign home buyers in the U.S. in 2017, that rate is dipping back down in 2018, according to a report from the National Association of REALTORS®.

“International sales in the U.S. totaled $121 billion from April 2017 to March 2018, a 20 percent decline from a year ago,” the report states, which brings rates down to almost what they were in 2016.

NAR claims “ongoing housing shortages and rising home prices” is the reason for this recent pause in activity.

Texas is the third most popular state for foreign buying activity, and that continues to be true even with the decline. The report states that 9 percent of foreign buyers purchase in Texas.

“Foreign buyers usually purchase properties that are pricier than the average existing home,” the report says. The bulk of the buyers (49 percent) come from China, Canada, India, Mexico, and the United Kingdom.

Read the full report from the National Association of REALTORS® for more.

The desire for a home is real.

Zillow reports that 94 percent of the respondents to a nationwide survey said they would own a home “if money were no object.”

“The idyllic, picket-fenced, detached, single-family home in the suburbs remains a mainstream standard of what homeownership should look like,” the report states, and it is quick to point out that “given that the U.S. homeownership rate is currently around 64 percent, money is clearly an object for many would-be homeowners that are currently renting.”

Despite a growing belief that attitudes are changing toward urban versus suburban living, most of the respondents (56 percent) said they’d prefer a house in the suburbs, compared to 26 percent who said they’d prefer a house in the urban core of a city and 18 percent who said they’d prefer to live in a rural area.

Although 82 percent of respondents reported they prefer a single-family home, the report found that young adults are more likely to consider other options. Slightly more young adults (9 percent) said they’d choose an attached single-family home, while only 5 percent and 6 percent of middle-aged and older adults said the same thing.

If you’d like to learn more, read Zillow’s full report.