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Exclusive: Craig Hall developing millennial magnet in Richardson

Longtime Dallas developer Craig Hall has been working on plans to build a new gateway to Richardson on the northern edge of the city along President George Bush Turnpike, which he hopes will be a beacon to young professionals.

The nearly 30-acre mixed-use development, known as Hall Park at Richardson, could transform the tract of undeveloped land at the southwest corner of Custer Parkway and the President George Bush Turnpike near the Plano border.

“This project will be important to the city and will serve as a gateway with significant height,” Hall, chairman of Dallas-based Hall Group, told the Dallas Business Journal, in an exclusive.

“This will sit at the gateway of the city — just like we have in Frisco — with a very large piece that will make a nice statement and be a wayfinding element,” he added.

Unlike Frisco, Hall Park at Richardson will have more mixed-use real estate compared with the Frisco park “at this point,” meant to attract young professionals — even though Hall plans to integrate more retail and residential in the future at the Frisco development.

Plans include two five-story, 180,000-square-foot office buildings for a total of 360,000 square feet of office space, with a smaller office and retail building at the corner of Custer Parkway and the President George Bush Turnpike with 35,000 square feet of office space and 25,000 squad feet of retail space.

In all, Hall and his development team plan to build 417 upscale apartments, with most of them being one-bedroom units to cater to young professionals that work at some of the nearby employers, including State Farm Insurance.

“The community is very interested in bringing in young working people rather than families,” said Hall, adding the apartments will be market-rate homes. “There’s a demand from young professionals to have their housing closer to where they work and we think, over the years, this will help develop a community.”

Hall Group is developing Hall Park at Richardson in a partnership with Dallas-based Leon Capital Group. The team has been working on this project for years, with serious plans evolving in the last year.

“Richardson is a great growth market and it’s also got excellent governance over the years we’ve been working with them,” Hall told me. “The city council, mayor and city staff have been encouraging to work with from our perspective and it warms our heart.”

Tennessee-based artist John Henry has sculpted the artistic pieces used at Hall Park at Frisco and in Hall Arts in downtown Dallas. Hall doesn’t have an exclusive with Henry, but his art could be a possible anchor the new development.

Hall Park at Richardson will have an extensive park-scape with about 8 acres of green space, including a dog park and a central park. Austin-based TBG Partnersis the landscape architect for the project.

Hall has yet to officially hire an architect and general contractor, but Dallas-based HKS Inc. and Austin Commercial, respectively, are the incumbent for the developer’s projects.

Engineering firm Kimley-Horn has historically landed worked with Hall Group.

Hall has met personally with the neighbors of Hall Park at Richardson and said he has adapted his development plans based on their ideas and concerns.

The longtime Dallas developer has yet to finalize the built-out costs of the mixed-use project.

“There aren’t any unique challenges to the project, but there is always challenges in being a developer and getting financing,” said Hall, who won’t have any problem financing the Richardson project.

Hall, who lends other developers money through Hall Structured Finance, said lending continues to be a problem, especially for younger developers.

“Banks are slow to make construction loans of any size and they are limited by the amount of construction loans they can make without regulatory challenges,” Hall told me. “From our perspective, it gives opportunity to our Structured Finance company, but from the stand point of an entrepreneur — it’s very difficult for smaller developers.

“The Craig Hall of 49 years ago would’ve had a very difficult time getting a loan,” he added.

The earliest Hall and his development team could start construction on Hall Park at Richardson is sometime next year.

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Homebuilders sue Zillow

Homebuilders sue Zillow

Are Zillow’s estimates posing as appraisals? Suburban Chicago builders think so.

Owners of filed a class action lawsuit stating Zillow’s “Zestimates” are misleading and pose as appraisals, according to Crain’s Chicago Business. The lawsuit claims the Zestimates are in violation of Illinois’ legal description of an appraisal.

“Buyers tell us Zillow says a certain number for this house, and that’s the number they’re willing to pay,” co-owner Vip Patel told Crain’s. “In our experience, Zillow is always at least 20 percent lower than the home’s market value, but that’s the number they have planted in the buyer’s head.”

Patel united with his father and mother, also co-owners, in the class action complaint, filed in Cook County Circuit Court.

Seattle-based Zillow (Nasdaq: Z, ZG) issued a response, saying that Zestimates are simply estimates and consumers should not view them as third-party appraisals.

“We always say that the Zestimate isn’t an appraisal,” Emily Heffter, a spokeswoman for Zillow, told Crain’s. “It’s a starting point that people can use when they’re working with a professional appraiser or a professional agent to determine the home’s value.”

“Estimated values of homes are not new,” Heffter said. “It’s something the Cook County Assessor does, and on any home you can find estimates on several sites.”

The Patels’ class action lawsuit centers on Zillow’s practice of posting estimates without homeowner consent. It also claims the company violates state statutes that govern appraisals. Illinois law forbids anyone from preparing an appraisal without a state-issued license.

But Zillow points out that Section G of the Illinois licensing statute states the law does not “apply to the procurement of an automated valuation model,” which is how the company generates its estimates. The law defines “automated valuation” as an estimate of value based on public property records.

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5 Tips for Buyers

5 Tips for Buyers

WASHINGTON, May 12, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — When inventory is low, home prices tend to go up. Attempting to purchase a house in this type of market can make the already complex process of buying a home even more overwhelming. To help buyers successfully get through the buying process in a tight inventory market with as little stress and difficulty as possible, the National Association of Realtors® has these five suggestions and an infographic:

  1. Determine and stick to a budget. Before beginning the house hunting process, prospective homebuyers should receive preapproval from one or more lenders to verify the amount of money they are qualified to borrow. Then, after taking into account additional costs of ownership such as taxes, utilities and insurance, buyers should determine a final budget they can comfortably afford. When listings are scarce, bidding wars can drive up prices, so buyers must be prepared to walk away if the asking price surpasses their budget.
  2. Identify desired neighborhoods and home wants versus needs. When housing inventory is tight, buyers may need to compromise on what they believe they want from a home. Certain wants, such as stainless appliances or hardwood floors, can be added later. However, if a buyer wants to be in a specific school district or have a decent sized backyard, those cannot be addressed later and must be taken into account during the house hunting process.
  3. Be ready to make a decision quickly. In a seller’s market, homes rarely stay on the market long, so when a house that is in their budget and checks off all of their needs come along, buyers should not hesitate. Buyers should be ready to submit an offer quickly, or they may risk missing out on the home altogether.
  4. Bid competitively and limit contingencies. It is tempting to submit a low offer as a starting bid, but in a seller’s market buyers need to put forward their highest offer from the very beginning or they are likely to lose out on the home. It is also important to remember that in multiple bidding situations it is not always the highest offer that is most attractive to the seller but the one with the fewest contingencies. Removing restrictions related to the sale of a current home and being flexible with things like the move-in date can make a bid stand out to a seller.
  5. Work with a Realtor®. All real estate is local, so it is important to work with an agent who is familiar with the areas and neighborhoods the homebuyers are considering. Realtors are the most trusted resource for real estate information and have unparalleled knowledge of their communities; they can give buyers the competitive advantage needed in a tight market.

Tips for Buying in a Tight Market

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

National Association of Realtors logo (PRNewsFoto/National Association of Realtors)

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:

SOURCE National Association of Realtors

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If you are in the Dallas area and thinking about buying or selling visit my website for local listings.  Email me with any questions you may have!

Brenda Mancil


Why Zillow’s chief economist thinks you should buy a house in Dallas-Fort Worth

Why Zillow’s chief economist thinks you should buy a house in Dallas-Fort Worth

If Zillow’s chief economist Svenja Gudell was shopping for a home in Dallas-Fort Worth, she said she’d be buying a home shortly — if she could find a home to buy.

“The Dallas-Fort Worth metro is No. 2 among the top 35 metros in home value appreciation with 15.2 percent, which is quite a bit more than you’d see in a normal housing year in Dallas,” Gudell, the chief economist of the Seattle-based housing research firm, told the Dallas Business Journal.

“That’s quite a bit of appreciation and buyers must be feeling it on the ground,” she added.

That jump in home price appreciation is driven by low housing inventory and makes finding a home difficult for even the most determined home buyers with bidding wars driving up home prices. The housing shortage is playing out with builders, who increased home starts 21 percent in the third quarter of 2016.

Even though it’s difficult to find a home in Dallas-Fort Worth, Gudell said she personally doesn’t see a bubble in the housing market and for buyers financially ready to buy a home should hope on the boat.

“In terms of affordability, it’s still quite good,” she said. “Homes are expected to continue to appreciate. There will be a bit of a slowdown in appreciation, but tight inventory will remain for the foreseeable future in Dallas.”

For Dallas-Fort Worth, Zillow’s Home Value Index is $174,400, which is up 15.2 percent over the past year. That is the second highest jump in home values behind Denver.

In the meantime, North Texas’ rental rates increased to nearly $1,500 a month, which is a 5.3 percent increase over the past year, according to the Zillow Rent Index. That is another reason to buy a home, Gudell said.

“Dallas-Fort Worth is a hot market for rentals because the job sector is doing well, which isn’t super surprising, but what’s more surprising is that the rental market is still growing 5.3 percent, which is much more than you’d think it would grow,” she said.

Nationally, home owners are “breaking even” on their investment in two years, she said. In Dallas-Fort Worth, home owners can expect to hit that ratio in 1.2 years, in part because of rapid home appreciation.