Saddle up folks, it’s time for our luxury ranch roundup! This week we found three sweet East Texas ranches that are among the best on the market right now. From a nationally renowned Longhorn cattle operation in Mineola, to a picturesque farm with bass stocked lake in Brenham, to an equestrian ranch with a reputation for breeding world champion paint horses in Winona, we’ve rustled up some winners – all ranging from $1.85 million to $6.75 million.

Take your pick of these East Texas ranches on SecondShelters.com now!

Value and a pretty darn good view — beachfront or mountain — that’s what people generally want when they seek second home real estate. After all, that’s the whole point of buying a second home, getting out of Dodge and enjoying peace, quiet and nature. But one thing has changed since the real estate bubble burst: folks want smaller second homes. (Do you blame them? Give me a one-vacuum-cleaner home on the range.) Two to three bedrooms max, creative living space, multi-function rooms. According to the E360‚Äôs 2nd Home Trend Report,¬† 45% of homeowners believe this year — maybe 2011, also — is the best time to buy a second home. No brain-killer here: timing, cheap interest rates, close-out pre-foreclosure sales; property characteristics, location, and price were the major preferences or influencing factors.

God, I hope they didn’t pay someone to dig up this earth-shattering news. Cut the consultants, just chop the price.Because guess what, the buyers are out there on the fence:

“More impressively, of the remaining 54% who indicated that now would not be a good time to buy 79% indicated that they would be likely or very likely to purchase in the next 2 years. Martin says ‚Äúthis is a strong indication that demand will continue to grow over the next two years and will strengthen the second home market‚Äù.

Why do second home buyers buy homes? 46% for lifestyle and leisure, 41% for investing, 11% for retirement. Maybe it’s only 11% for retirement because so few of us will be able to retire.¬† They really don’t want much space. One trend I saw at a lovely East Texas shared ownership and conservation development called Cross Pines Ranch was the porch dining room — second home buyers love large kitchens with eating areas but skip building a formal dining room. The large, screened-in porch can be a second dining or living area, especially if there is an outdoor fireplace. Screened-in means not air conditioned and heated which means, non-taxable square footage.