Update, 10:56 pm: Police have found some possible connections – the stepfather of the man who died in the package explosion knew the grandfather of another bombing victim, police say.

My daughter and I were enjoying Austin ‘s SXSW over the weekend, and motoring towards Dallas Monday when news of yet another package bombing came. We left just in time, I said. Police continue to investigate three parcel bomb explosions over the last 11 days in quiet, hip Austin, Texas, as possible serial hate crimes or retaliation for gentrification in one of the neighborhoods.

And now they are warning Realtors to take extra cautions.

First there was the deadly explosion in early March that killed a 39-year-old man. The next one happened  Monday, killing a teenage boy opening a package, injuring a woman who was living at the same address. Then another bomb package left an elderly woman, who picked up a package found in front of her home, in critical condition.

The explosions have all taken place in the East Austin area, about five to 12 miles apart. The fact they occurred now during the annual film, media and music festival South by Southwest, has police and leaders even more upset. 

Which is why Austin police tell Real Estate agents to be on guard and extra cautious about packages, if they are out and about checking on any properties. (more…)

Is Dallas likely to get Amazon’s HQ2?

Right when you think that we’ve talked it absolutely to death, the Wall Street Journal had to go and breathe life into the corpse of the Amazon HQ2 story. But wait! Do all of these fancy pie charts mean what we think they mean? Is Dallas proper about to get the crown after finding ourselves at first runner up too many times?

According to the numbers (I’m not great at math, so I’m going to trust them a bit here), the big draw for Big D is all business — available labor, low taxes, and relatively affordable cost of living (for now, at least). Big points for meeting Amazon half way with college population and cultural fit (Dallas County is blue, y’all). But when it comes to fiscal health, we got low marks.

(more…)

Where do you find a 1972 Palm Springs modern, erected by original owner and international opera singer Willa Stewart, that is both relevant and alluring in 2017 with an “Elvis meets Kuwait” styling and hosted the likes of American musical and cultural icon Frank Zappa? Only in Austin.

Find out the full story about this exciting listing in Westlake Highlands on SecondShelters.com now.

What would it take to get Amazon to locate it’s HQ2 here in Dallas? Jon Anderson says you don’t want to know, and we shouldn’t be so sure we want the e-retailer here anyway.

And according to new stats from ApartmentList, if Seattle’s fallout from HQ1 is any indication, Dallas and Austin renters should expect a bump in cost of living should Amazon HQ2 land in these major Texas metro areas.

(more…)

Most expensive homes listed in U.S.

Photos courtesy of Kuper Sotheby’s International Realty

A Texas ranch was included in Curbed.com’s roundup of the most expensive homes for sale in the U.S. earlier this week. Perhaps the Hill Country town of Lampasas should rebrand itself Lampa$a$, given the $81 million price tag on the Hill Country property, which ranks among the 25 most expensive homes currently listed for sale in the nation. It ranks 21st in the lineup that ranges from $250 million to $78 million, with most in what seems to be a sweet spot for top-tier housing prices — the low to mid-80s.

See the full story on SecondShelters.com.

Millennial Homebuyers

Millennial Homebuyers are missing from the market, but Austin and Dallas may be better values first-time homebuyers in this generation over San Antonio and Houston.

Where are all the first-time homebuyers? In their cozy rentals, that’s where!

With a market almost completely devoid of newby buyers, and the rental market being as competitive as it is (just ask my friend looking for a single-family home in East Dallas!), and prices going up across all segments, it’s just hard to find a place to put your leather couch and Le Creuset stock pot. Millennials hold a lot of potential when it comes to real estate purchases, but where can the find the best value? Is it San Antonio and Houston?

(more…)

Casa Santuraio ext frontYears ago, I sold my home on Park Lane after living there for more than ten years. We agreed on a sales price and yes, like most home sellers, it was less than what I wanted, less than what I thought my home was worth. But I agreed to the sales price and the terms and signed the contract.

Then, one night as I wandered my home, taking inventory of all I had to pack up — some closets could not even be opened because they were jammed with toys, Legos, Hoovercrafts, Fuze Ball tables, dolls, games, you name it, — I called my agent and said the most chilling words an agent can hear:

“Can you get me out of this contract?”

I was what you might call the client from hell. The man had spent THREE YEARS marketing my home, was about to net a commission after pouring thousands of dollars of his own funds into the marketing and so many Open houses I lost count.

Then I ask him to get me out of an executed contract.

Well, that has SORT OF of happened in Austin. Only in this case, the seller just didn’t show at closing.

Recall the auction of the 9700 square foot Tarrytown estate on five acres, Casa Santuario? According to the Austin Business Journal, the seller did not show up for the closing on March 12.

Concierge Auctions founder and co-director Laura Brady told Austin Business Journal staff writer Jan Buchholz that “we’re all very surprised that she did not honor her agreement.”

Brady also said that in all her years of owning and operating Concierge, selling luxury real estate across the globe, nothing like this has ever happened.

So Concierge did what I guess they had to do to protect their company: they filed a lawsuit in New York County Supreme Court on March 13. According to the ABJ story , Concierge claims the owner of the home, Kimberly Granger, broke the contract she signed with the winning bidder at the auction to sell her home at 2600 Kenmore Court for the high bid amount of $7.5 million. The home had been listed for as much as $15 million, and had been on the market for a long time.

“On March 12, 2014, Granger intentionally, willfully, and knowingly refused to close the sale. Because the failure to close was due to intentional actions of Granger and her agents, pursuant to the (Auction Marketing Agreement), Concierge is entitled to be compensated by Granger for it’s services in connection with the auction in an amount not less than $645,000.”

Concierge is also asking for the court to award “punitive damages in an amount no less than $1 million.”

Concierge says they did their part: the five week marketing campaign for the home generated 8,200 website visits from 49 states and 75 foreign countries, 176 open house visits and 84 showings of the property. The buyer, who was not identified, is from Austin.

Here is the full statement from Concierge Auctions:

Concierge Auctions vs. Casa Santuario Owner Kimberly Granger

Casa Santuraio ext frontYears ago, I sold my home on Park Lane after living there for more than ten years. We agreed on a sales price and yes, like most home sellers, it was less than what I wanted, less than what I thought my home was worth. But I agreed to the sales price and the terms and signed the contract.

Then, one night as I wandered my home, taking inventory of all I had to pack up — some closets could not even be opened because they were jammed with toys, Legos, Hoovercrafts, Fuze Ball tables, dolls, games, you name it, — I called my agent and said the most chilling words an agent can hear:

“Can you get me out of this contract?”

I was what you might call the client from hell. The man had spent THREE YEARS marketing my home, was about to net a commission after pouring thousands of dollars of his own funds into the marketing and so many Open houses I lost count.

Then I ask him to get me out of an executed contract.

Well, that has SORT OF of happened in Austin. Only in this case, the seller just didn’t show at closing.

Recall the auction of the 9700 square foot Tarrytown estate on five acres, Casa Santuario? According to the Austin Business Journal, the seller did not show up for the closing on March 12.

Concierge Auctions founder and co-director Laura Brady told Austin Business Journal staff writer Jan Buchholz that “we’re all very surprised that she did not honor her agreement.”

Brady also said that in all her years of owning and operating Concierge, selling luxury real estate across the globe, nothing like this has ever happened.

So Concierge did what I guess they had to do to protect their company: they filed a lawsuit in New York County Supreme Court on March 13. According to the ABJ story , Concierge claims the owner of the home, Kimberly Granger, broke the contract she signed with the winning bidder at the auction to sell her home at 2600 Kenmore Court for the high bid amount of $7.5 million. The home had been listed for as much as $15 million, and had been on the market for a long time.

“On March 12, 2014, Granger intentionally, willfully, and knowingly refused to close the sale. Because the failure to close was due to intentional actions of Granger and her agents, pursuant to the (Auction Marketing Agreement), Concierge is entitled to be compensated by Granger for it’s services in connection with the auction in an amount not less than $645,000.”

Concierge is also asking for the court to award “punitive damages in an amount no less than $1 million.”

Concierge says they did their part: the five week marketing campaign for the home generated 8,200 website visits from 49 states and 75 foreign countries, 176 open house visits and 84 showings of the property. The buyer, who was not identified, is from Austin.

Here is the full statement from Concierge Auctions:

Concierge Auctions vs. Casa Santuario Owner Kimberly Granger