Photo: Lisa Long

Photo: Lisa Long

Lisa Long is a single mother and pottery teacher in Richardson ISD who recently decided to sell her three-bedroom Irving house after five years and move closer to work.

Long found herself in a situation emblematic of the fast-and-furious pace of the North Texas real estate market: Her house was on the market for 52 hours and in that time, she got 14 offers, ultimately selling for almost $10,000 above list, plus closing costs.

Great news, right? But Long was thinking the sale would take longer, and give her more time to decide where she and her five-year-old son Luke want to live. Long loves Dallas, but looking at the drive to Richardson, maybe something closer would make more sense. Also, she’s looking at a max budget of $150,000, which somewhat restricts her choices. Finally, properties are selling so fast, she’s got to move quickly if she wants to buy.

“There’s not a lot out there—it’s such a sellers market,” she said. “My dream house would be something small, not more than 1,300 square feet, because I don’t want to have to clean a lot. I’d also like two to three bedrooms, and I need a place to do pottery, like a garage, or studio outside that I could get dirty.”

Also on her wishlist:

  • A yard or community space for Luke
  • Good neighborhood where Luke can play with other children
  • Nearby park

Schools aren’t an issue, since Luke will be able to attend RISD (an awesome perk for teachers there).

We went virtual house hunting with Long and looked at what’s available in her price range that fits her needs and wants. We found four properties that seem to fit the bill.


3620 Ranchero extThis is one for the record books. 3620 Ranchero in Ranchero Estates, Plano, has to be one of the most loaded homes in North Texas. I’m talking rivalling and actually surpassing Champs D’Or as far as interior over-the-top amenities. Champ, which is under contract, by the way, was more like living at the Broadmoor. You would need a staff of thousands and have to be thanking someone every two minutes. Ranchero is a home, a big home, yes, 17,306 square feet, but a homey home, a place that was built with absolutely anything and everything you could think of to make life as comfy as possible for a family and then some. Like, for example, the waterfall in the bridge overlooking the pool. A room just for the dogs that opens to the garage through double doors so you don’t have to bring them into the house from the car. This room has a custom dog bath off of it, all tiled with a drain, so you can wash the dogs right there. This leads to a spacious doggie yard of turf with built-in cleansing sprinklers. Urinals. I know, not a pretty word, but I swear the best Valentines gift you could give a woman would be to install a urinal in every bathroom in the house. That and some diamonds. There are urinals in every bathroom in this house — all nine of them — with the exception of the little girl’s room. Even daddy gets one! That is one example, one wee (sorry) example of the detailed thinking, planning and expense that was poured into this home: price was no object. I have a feeling that when the builder, DFW Fine Homes, said to the owner hey, we can do this but it costs extra the owner said DO FIVE OF THEM. (more…)

1712 Lake Side Curb

There are so many homes in Plano that look just like the last one. Behind their brick exteriors they have two-story foyers, tile floors and beige carpet, dark wood cabinetry and granite counters. Master suites with the same vanities, the same jetted tubs, and the same shower. I could be describing hundreds of homes in West Plano alone.

And then I came across 1712 Lake Side, the very definition of different among tons of homes that look exactly alike. And while I don’t love everything about this 2,523-square-foot one-story Spanish-inspired home, I like how daring it is in a sea of plain Jane builder-grade homes.