6820 Garlinghouse Front

To some buyers, 6820 Garlinghouse looks like too much work. It’s a 1985-built ranch in Far North Dallas that is in original condition, according to Ashli Clements of Minnette Murray Properties, a boutique real estate group under Coldwell banker residential brokerage.

“It has really good bones and the floor plan works well for today’s families,” she said. “It’s totally livable right now. The seller lived in home for four years and didn’t change a thing. The breakfast nook is actually beautiful, with that gorgeous ceiling.”

6820 Garlinghouse Breakfast

But today’s buyers seem to be lacking in vision and inspiration, because at 2,565 square feet, this home is priced just right for the renovation-minded. This four-bedroom, three-bath home inside the Dallas city limits but with Plano ISD schools is being marketed for just $350,000 — a steal! Plus, buyers will receive a $10,000 allowance toward upgrades, making those Pinterest boards you’ve been carefully curating for your dream house even closer to tangible reality.

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Photo courtesy publicdomainpictures.net

Photo courtesy publicdomainpictures.net

I had more than one person message me to ask what I thought of the story about Plano Senior High and the fact that the school does not use the National Honor Society stoles at graduation.  One person in the real estate business even asked me what kind of impact this might have on parents looking for homes – would they want to send their child to a school that seemingly doesn’t recognize hard work and apparently wants things homogenous?

And I’ll admit, after reading this story, I was all ready with my comparisons of Harrison Bergeron.

But then I started poking around. And as with much outrage, there is another part of this story, one that was not mentioned. And since I really would rather be right than first, I actually asked both Plano Senior High and the National Honor Society for some more details.

So here’s the deal. (more…)

Harry!

I met Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere at a beautiful dinner party last Thursday evening, and I am besmitten. Not only do we share the same city route to life in Dallas —  via New York City —  he is one of the most dedicated young politicos I have ever met. The fact that he is The One guiding Plano through its super growth spurt fascinated me. Who is this interesting man running the show in what was once a sleepy farm bedroom community of Dallas, a suburb the Dallas elite very much disdained in the 1990s? Get a load of this quote from a story written about Plano housing in 1998:

Jeff Witt, the long-range planner for the city of Frisco who held the same job in Plano for 2/2 years, fears a manufactured slum. “1 was always concerned with the housing stock in Piano,” he says. “You have people who don*l want to invest in their houses. Ultimately, you have a very expensive deteriorating structure.” Witt says that the irony of the looming problem of shoddy Piano (sic, I think they mean Plano) housing is that it is a direct result of the city’s incredible growth and success. Perhaps the biggest reason the city has been able to attract some of the best companies in America is the affordable housing. Developers who erected hundreds of homes a year and kept unit costs down could sell for cheap and still maintain a solid profit margin, and employees transferred from Los Angeles or Phoenix or Boston were amazed to find 3.000 square feet for $250,000. The waves of migratory rich moved to North Texas, and, in a state where unions have always been weak, the work of laying bricks or installing carpentry-jobs traditionally performed by trained, unionized craftsmen-was done by workers with no specialized training. Although cheap labor almost always equals cheap workmanship, all the elements necessary for an unparalleled building boom were there: an abundance of low-wage immigrant workers, low interest rates, and great schools. The race was on.

Well then, cheap houses and all —

But the halcyon present is every day inching its way toward a precarious future. Jeff Witt, for one, is worried about that. “Plano is perceived as a very affluent town,” he says. “It’s a nice ZIP code to have. But that perception can change very quickly.”

Really? Now Plano is a near world-class city competing for, and snagging, some of the top businesses in the U.S.A. And where the hell is Jeff Witt?

And Plano has Harry! (more…)

richardson real estateFor families looking to live in a northern suburb, today’s Tuesday Two Hundred offers a chance to get a lot of house for under $300K with the opportunity to totally personalize the space.

The Richardson house at 5403 Kingston Dr. is 2,158 square feet with four bedrooms, two full bathrooms, and an open floorplan in the shared rooms. Located near Renner and Murphy roads, east of Central Expressway, this Collin County house is zoned for Plano ISD, and its elementary, Miller, earns a 10 out of 10 rating from GreatSchools.org.

There’s a nice-sized backyard, and the house is just one block from the 417-acre Breckinridge Park, with trails, pavilions, picnic and playground areas, a gazebo, 12 soccer fields, two softball fields, three ponds, and tons of undeveloped green space. It’s also about a 10-minute drive from the CityLine mixed-use development.

HOA dues are a very reasonable $90 per quarter, and the house itself was listed Sunday by Kurt Buehler with Keller Williams Realty Dallas Metro North for $250,000 ($116 per square foot).

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Ready to move to Plano for the amazing schools? You should consider this listing from Vivo Realtor Bonnie Ottosen.

Ready to move to Plano for the amazing schools? You should consider this listing at 7209 Fair Valley Way from Vivo Realtor Bonnie Ottosen.

Of course a Collin County town made Movoto’s list of top 10 suburbs for schools. But Plano? I was betting on Frisco, Allen, or McKinney for that, but good ol’ Plano was the only suburb in Collin County — and in Texas, for that matter — in the top 10. The next highest ranking Texas town was Cedar Park at 14, followed by League city at 16 and Round Rock at 17. You can read the full list here.

You’re probably wondering about what makes Plano so great for education. Me, too. Plano was measured against its peer towns by student-teacher ratio, money spent per year per student, high school graduation rate, and GreatSchools.org rating (which is sometimes off-based). Here’s what Movoto said:

If you’re surprised to see Plano, TX on our list, well, you must not live here. Locals know that this Dallas suburb receives high marks pretty much across the board—it’s affluent, safe, and,according to these numbers, an all-star student.

Not only did Plano have one of the lowest student-teacher ratios of 14 to 1, but it also had a high school graduation rate of 94 percent and some of the highest test scores in the nation.

Well, well, well. Congrats, Plano. What do you think of the ranking?

The 10 Best Suburbs For Education By Movoto Real Estate

5935 Deseret Front

More proof that there are some really cool houses up north that are far from your standard, brick-and-stone-clad builder’s special. This 1970s contemporary in West Plano is a wonderful example of how you can find a fabulous, updated home with tons of great details up in Collin County.

Located inside Bent Trail, this lovely home not only has great curb appeal and perfect landscaping, but inside is a transitional transformation that is just perfect for a modern family.

Jump to see inside!

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Richardson Reno Today’s Tuesday Two Hundred takes us to a North Richardson reno with over 2,000 square feet and interior updates that look stellar.

The house at 3307 N. Spring Dr. near Renner and Jupiter roads is a total reimagining of the space: it was built in 1984, but looks modern and enticing. This 3-2 has 2,154 square feet covered in rich-looking hardwoods and new carpeting, with fantastic kitchen and bathroom updates.

It’s located in Plano ISD, a highly ranked district which takes students from Plano, northern portions of Dallas and Richardson, and portions of Allen, Carrollton, Garland, Lucas, Murphy, Parker, and Wylie.Richardson Reno Inside this unassuming brick house, you’ll find a kitchen that looks like this! Who would guess?

There’s also a bonus second living area with wet bar with granite counters, and throughout the house, the angled ceilings and fresh paint in a palette of grays give this place an unusual, memorable look.

This house is newly listed for $276,000 by Brian Shuey with Ebby Halliday Realtors. Let’s take a look at what makes this house shine.

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102 Skyline A

Gone with the Wind was a childhood favorite of mine, with its winding storyline, genteel fashion, and dramatic romances. In one memorable scene, Scarlett’s father, Gerald O’Hara, an Irish peasant immigrant, proclaims in his rough brogue, “The land is the only thing in the world worth working for, worth fighting for, worth dying for, because it’s the only thing that lasts.”

That sort of mentality about the importance of land to heritage, identity, and wealth still exists, and there’s something visceral and deeply gratifying about owning actual land, as opposed to, say, stocks, which seem to exist in the ether.

If you’re an urban homeowner, the amount of land you’re likely to own is quite small, as plantations like Tara don’t exist within city limits. But there are properties in DFW with actual land, and for today’s Tuesday Two Hundred, I found one sitting on almost an acre in Collin County.

The house at 102 Skyline Dr. in Murphy is listed by William Duke of Carrington Real Estate Service for $259,000 and sits on 0.98 acres. It is located near the intersection of Farm-to-Market Road 544 and S. Murphy Road.

Murphy is a fast-growing bedroom community of about 18,000 residents, bordered by Plano, Richardson, Wylie, Sachse, and Parker. It’s about 20 miles from Downtown Dallas, 35 miles from DFW Airport, and 25 miles from Love Field Airport.

This house is a 2,496 square foot fixer-upper with three bedrooms, three full bathrooms, and a pool. At $104 per square foot with all that land, I think it’s got huge potential. Jump to read all about it!

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