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Commercial Real Estate

How 5 Families Found Their Dream Homes

They managed to beat the North Texas market.


The Homeowners:

The Lautens: Amy, 41, owns interior design firm Southern Contemporary Design; Brian, 40, is an attorney.

Former Pad: A 1920s Tudor in Forest Hills

Scored: A 1922 two-story on Gaston Avenue for $730,000

Square Feet: 3,514, plus a 1,096-square-foot pool house

The Hunt: The Lautens were looking to make a solid investment, and “we wanted to get back to Lakewood where we had been before,” Amy says. The hunt wasn’t easy, however, since Amy specializes in bringing contemporary flair to older houses and had no interest in the new construction popping up around the neighborhood. 

The Deal: The couple went into contract on their house once before but terminated it when the buyers of their Tudor backed out. A few months later, real estate agent Nancy Johnson called to say the Gaston house was still available, and she could sell their Tudor in a cinch. She did. The Lautens have since done a $200,000 revamp of the property, including a pool addition.



The Homeowners: 

The Hiseys: Beth, 39, is a content strategist for a marketing company; Evan, 42, is a copy manager at J.C. Penney Co.

Former Pad: A cookie-cutter condo in Plano

Scored: A 1964 Canyon Creek ranch-style for $228,000

Square Feet: 1,850

The Hunt: The newlyweds based their search on school ratings. The market was hot, and the Hiseys missed out on a few places in and around Lakewood. Eventually, they homed in on Canyon Creek because of schools and a solid community vibe. “If you go to the park on a nice day, it’s packed,” Beth says.

The Deal: The Hiseys credit their timing for snagging the house without any competition. They found the listing online on Christmas Day in 2013, before the market really exploded, and their offer was accepted on New Year’s Day. 



The Homeowners: 

The Corbins: Cheryl, 51, is a writer at IBM; Elmer, 52, is an electrical engineer at IBM.

Former Pad: A new build in a small town 65 miles north of New York City

Found: New construction in McKinney for $568,781

Square Feet: 4,300

The Hunt: After 14 years up north, the Corbins asked their company to move them closer to their Louisiana roots. They started with Plano but had a hard time nailing down brand-new houses. When they came across a Money magazine article naming McKinney as one of the best places to live, they switched up their search.

The Deal: The couple loved a model plan with a huge open kitchen, but it wasn’t offered in their ideal neighborhood. Since the developers owned both areas, they agreed to build the model where the Corbins wanted it and even offered a limited-time incentive—all the upgrades for the same price if they signed within two weeks. The Corbins took it. 



The Homeowners:

The Chisms: Michelle, 35, left her post as director of corporate communications at Chuck E. Cheese’s in March to be a stay-at-home mom; Jeremy, 38, is a finance manager at Texas

Former Pad: A 4,600-square-foot, two-story house in West Plano with five bedrooms, five bathrooms, and a pool

Found: A four-bedroom with 3.5 baths two miles south for $326,000

Square Feet: 3,142

The Hunt: After their second child was born, the Chisms wanted to simplify home ownership. Gone are the pool, the second story, and the extra square footage to clean.

The Deal: They sold the house they bought (for $452,000) in 2012 for $617,000 in just three days. “The house we found had been on the market for $350,000 for 30 days,” Michelle says. “Two contracts fell through, and the owner, who has lived in the house since it was built, in 1981, dropped the price. We had too much house, and we really wanted to cut down our space. We made enough money to get a smaller home and renovate it to our new lifestyle.” 



The Homeowners:

Sachin Patel, 34, works in corporate healthcare consulting;
James Newman, 45, is a teacher.

Former Pad: A 1963 soft contemporary in Richardson

Scored: A modern duplex in Uptown East for $416,000

Square Feet: 2,560

The Hunt: After nine years of updating their Richardson house, the couple knew they could make a good profit off of it, and they wanted to get somewhere closer to the city center. The main goal: “We wanted to find the right house,” Patel says. “It didn’t have to be modern or contemporary, but just not traditional.” 

The Deal: “The market was nuts.” Nine months and three failed offers later, they got lucky. When they got outbid on a modern Uptown townhouse, their agent showed them a similar property next door that had not yet been listed. The two came up with a number, and it was accepted.