Are homes really that big in Texas?A reader of Hidden Legacy
Here are three Texas castles for you. 🙂 These are the “entry level” Texas mansions.
Texas Castle 1 – 8627 Terra Dl, San Antonio, TX 78255
Lot: 1.08 acres. Size: 6,104 sq. ft. Price: $1,475,000.
I can hear Californians screaming from here. 🙂 Honestly the lot is a bit meh for this price point – it’s long and narrow, but the house is amazeballs. It’s classic “rugged” Hill Country luxury: lots of stone, lots of aged wood, earth tones, very solid feel to the house.
Click here to view the listing.
Texas Castle 2 – 233 Blackjack Oak, Shavano Park, TX 78230
Lot: 1.13 acres. Size: 6,331 sq. ft. Price: $1,350,000.
They will likely get that based on square footage, and the grounds are beautiful.
Click here to view the listing.
Texas Castle 3 – 25910 Symphonic Hl, San Antonio, TX 78260
Lot: 0.94 acres. Size: 5,007 sq. ft. Price: $1,250,000.
This one is a bit smaller than the other two. At barely 5,000 sq. ft., it’s a cozy baby mansion.
Click here to see the listing.
I’ll take #1, please, thank you.
On the more personal front we found the house for Kid 2. We had to move out of her preferred area to Buda, the south end of Austin, and we had to offer $65,000 over the appraisal to get it.
::exhales slowly:: Argh.
I am now officially one of those Texans who blames Californians for ruining real estate in Austin. Our relator brought us an industry article that shows that California buyers, who are flooding the market, have on average $200,000 more cash at their disposal than the Texans who are trying to buy in the city.
We offered on Thursday, they accepted it on Friday, we got most of the inspection done on Friday, except that the gas was off. So now the hope is that gas is on today and the inspector can take a look at the cooktop, furnace, and water heater.
On the plus side, it has the size and the floor is all vinyl, which is fantastic because the German Shepherds are hard on floors. There is a reason Kid 2 calls them terrorists.
PS. Thank you for being so kind to us in the comments of the previous post. It made my day.
Moderator R says
I wondered when you posted the house hunting snippet for Ruby if you had been touring mega mansions to get a visual for the scene. I actually bought some graph paper to map the layout of the property. What can I say? I’m just another addicted fan.
Kelly C. says
I totally thought about doing that and still plan on it!
Congratulations on acquiring the house for Kid2!
One stressor off your plate if the gas inspection passes.
I hope you’re gradually able to whittle down the others to make your lives more pleasant.
Maybe another whirlwind trip to the beach for some down time?
A friend and I were really looking forward to a beach trip of our own once I have my second vaccine, but all the states we’d have to pass through are currently spiking cases, so that’s on hold for now. Argh
Also, I so look forward to these blog posts! They’re always a highlight to my day!
Definitely #1, please. But, honestly, I can’t imagine wanting or needing that much square footage! Surprised about the pricing though. I don’t think it would be that much different in my area of SW Virginia.
Glad you found a place for kid 2!
About Texas real estate prices: the Houston-DFW-San Antonio “triangle” is one of the very fastest-growing places in the US. (Tesla is building its new factory about 15-20 minutes from my house, and the housing market is so tight that the company is buying up houses left, right, and center to sell back to employees.) I live in a small town outside of Austin that isn’t yet overdeveloped, and a friend just lost a house that she bid $30,000 over asking price on. And she wasn’t even the second-highest! A Cali-style real estate bubble is developing, and the locals are NOT happy (unless they are long-timers who have been holding onto undeveloped land until prices go up, and there are definitely some families that fit this description).
You have great taste. Castle 1 would be my choice and castle 3 looks like a upscale dentist or doctors office. Just had a cold shudder.
Hope things can settle down for you now that your daughter has a place. And hopefully she doesn’t add any more terrorists to her crew otherwise there won’t be anymore room on the couch
Sara T says
The back of Castle 3 looked like an office building. 🙂
Castle 1 for me too!
I was thinking college campus building but office building fits.
As a 26-year resident of New York City, I can tell you there is a two-bedroom, two-bath, new construction apartment 2 blocks from the projects in Harlem that currently goes for $1.2 million + maintenance. Yes, in NYC you pay your mortgage AND you get to pay to maintain the building. Depending on the amenities, this can run equal to or more than your mortgage payment.
Just the idea of 5K square feet gives me agita. I would just close the doors to most of the rooms and never furnish them. WTF does one do with TWO refrigerators? Who cleans that space? And, most importantly, how can you take a nice hot bath in a giant room where all the warm air dissipates and then you’re cold from the shoulders up?
You need two refrigerators, because one is for drinks in 105 degree weather. 🙂 Also, the tub is likely heated, so you wouldn’t be cold.
Heated tub? What sort of new magic is this? I love baths and had to look up heated soaking tubs. When I win the lottery this will be the tub of my dreams. P.S. I am with you – house #1 style would be my choice.
Glad you found a house!
Heated tubs?As Bug might say, what kind of magic fuckery is that? I agree with Lesley that cold room air in an open stone/tile bathroom can totally ruin a bath. My preference would be a “wet bathroom”. Partially enclosed with a big shower and soaking tub inside. Dreamy ????
Whoa. That is some kind of luxe!
I’m a bit of a small sitcom I guess. When I see houses like that, it’s hard for me to think of anything past how much cleaning is required. We recently bought a 3000sqft house. It’s a good size while being manageable. If it were twice the size, I’m not sure I could do it with two small children. But it’s nice to dream about!
Also, we have a big fridge and a drink fridge, and it’s the very best thing.
Agree about the cleaning! I look at real estate listings and admire, but then say “but I wouldn’t want to dust it!”.
Patricia Schlorke says
If you can afford any of those houses, you would have a housekeeper or maid service.
Also, I agree with Ilona about the drinks in hot summer. However, if you cook, it’s good to have two refrigerators to keep food in stock. Plus, if you entertain a lot and make the food ahead of time, you want two refrigerators. I didn’t see a standing, upright freezer. Those are good for storing a lot of frozen food.
I have two fridges. I hate to shop so the overflow of drinks and veggies goes into the second fridge in my laundry room. And it’s the unofficial wine cellar too. I thought about freezer instead, but having only a small second freezer works out better. I don’t find too many things that have been in there a year anymore. Rofl.
I live in Ohio and we’ve had two refrigerators for years. It began to have one in the dining room for drinks for meals, and from there it became imperative to have two because my husband needs everything under the sun and the one in the kitchen only holds foods I can eat. For the pandemic, we stuffed both freezers. It’s handy having two in case you have leftovers to store or there’s a sale on something you want a bunch of or whatever other reason you need one. When you have only one, you make do. When you have two, you seriously consider where a third could go.
Tasha A. says
I had the same thought about the bath tub!!
Because it doesn’t get particularly cold here. (Except during Snowpocalypse.) I’ve heard that Houston is (or was, at one time) the most heavily air-conditioned city in the world. Entirely possible. We’ve lived in several other states and loved having windows open for the breezes, but once we moved to Texas (first Houston, now outside of Austin) we find that the number of days on which we don’t need either a/c or central heating turned on is shockingly small: maybe a total of 30-45 days per year, depending on whether it’s a La Niña year. (Not unusual in summer for the a/c to be struggling to keep the house below 85 degrees, and we have a new central system!) And we are considered rather strange by our neighbors because we use our a/c or heat a good bit less than they do.
Castle #1 is my favorite BUT that study from #2 makes my heart happy. We are looking to move from the east coast to Texas and we are definitely seeing a huge price fluctuation.
Mary Beth says
I saw that study and all I could think about was the space that was wasted. I mean, the woodwork was pretty, but just imagine floor to ceiling bookcases! ???? I want a room of bookcases. ???? No matter how many you have, there’s never enough. They looked a little stingy with just a couple. ????
Megan S says
I had the exact same thoughts about the study!
Laura M says
Elizabeth Katz says
I totally agree!
My thought when I saw the study was, ‘There’s a ladder! My dream library! but…but… WHERE ARE ALL THE BOOKS?!’ I get that it’s staged for sale, but it’s so sad to see those empty bookcases.
Susan Williams says
Not only are they that big but, on a typical Sunday afternoon anyone can wander through open houses that cost millions and millions of dollars and get a close look at what they can only dream of affording
OMG! The prices on these houses!!!!! So much house for the price! I know this but actually comparing how much more price I can get for a house elsewhere but boggled my mind. I’ve never left this area and lived here all my life so the prices here are firmly set in my mind.
On another note yayyy!!! And wow that was fast with the offer and inspection! Congratulations!
Moderator R says
Very much the same! *cries in London real estate prices*
Donna A says
London!!!! The house prices are insane. My brothers have both moved out of borough, my youngest struggling to save a mortgage deposit for zone 5/6 if he’s very lucky (but he works in zone 1 and his partner in zone 2, both frontline services, no working from home for them). My cousin is trying to come back to our neighbourhood and can rent a bedsit in a shared house from £220 a week, no utilities. Madness when you look at rest of the UK. Though I hear Cornwall has had a big increase since covid.
I just read this and my first thought was £220 a week, not bad. This is what London does to one. Having just had to move out to zone 5 to get a 950 sq ft house I totally sympathise with your son.
After converting £ to $ I could probably get a 4000 sq ft baby baby mansion in Texas!
Also re: fridges – standing joke at work that all Indians have 2 fridge freezers (second for all the sauces, pickles, chutneys and frozen samosas and herbs)
That sounds 100% worth it to me!!
(That is, the second fridge freezer for all the yummy bits!)
Yep. Blame it on Oracle, Facebook, Google, and or whatever other Silicon Valley giants are moving their HQ to Austin.
Rather than yelling, we’re crying, because for $1,250,000, we can only get a tiny 1200sq ft 2 bed 1 bath home in the Bay Area 🙁
Congratulations on finding a house for Kid 2. It is a good feeling to have her settled. The prices here in Upstate NY have gone up and sell above asking price. Normally, we are not a destination. The Castles are beautiful to look at, but I would need minions to keep it up. And I definitely don’t need minions. The older I get, I discover less is more. #verylazy
I apparently have no taste as well because that kitchen (and bathroom) also looks Ikea to me. I also want to LIVE in that ‘study’ which I mentally screamed “LIBRARY!” when the picture came up.
Can you get a mortgage if you offer that much over appraisal or are you paying cash? Real estate is weird and taxes are even weirder.
Kira, Another Texan says
Amanda, typically you can get a mortgage for appraisal value … you need cash for anything over, plus PMI if there goes your 20% cash down plans, etc … (yikes).
I feel like we are in a new “great human migration” and I’m watching in amazement (and some degree of horror any time I attempt out of neighborhood travel).
Mary Beth says
Congrats on getting Kid 2’s new place.
I’m with you on the first house. Love that one. The last one reminds me too much of a rehab facility.
barbie doll says
I would take #1 or #2. I utterly despise those white kitchens. I have new countertops and they are blue. Glad that one thing is off your list. May it dwindle away to nothing. House hunting these days is really difficult.Hope that you have a good relaxing week
Sara McLane says
Blue!! OMG I need to see pictures of a blue countertop!
#2: “the kitchen is *good size.*” intentional understatement? lol, that kitchen is ginormous.
I’m curious, how much would it cost to heat and cool a home like that? that’s a lot of space
Kiri Salazar says
My entire house would fit in that first bathroom, I think.
My poor humble 1950’s dwelling just can’t compete with Texan architectural grandeur!
Yeah, my Boston-area condo would fit, entirely, in the pool of #1. And cost more than half the list price. That said, I find all the stone and tile to be too… something for my dyed-in-the-wool New England tastes. And the mere idea of more than 2 days at 105 makes me woozy thinking about it.
Congratulations on finding and getting a home for kid 2. One less worry now. The terrorist is cute. I still laugh at the dogs hiding on the couch from the poo-spewing Roomba.
The castles are impressive.
Congrats on the house. I’m from CA and lived in Houston the last 8 years for a PhD. Everyone was like you’d love Austin, why don’t you move to Austin? I told them if I was going to move to Austin I’d rather just move back to CA.
And now it turns out I’m moving back to CA for a postdoc, the project is perfect for my goals and I got the job so that’s where I am going. I’m also happy to be closer to my grandparents who are probably not going to be around much longer. However, the cost of living HURTS after being in Texas. Half the space more than double the cost. Who knows where I’ll end up after the postdoc.
Leigh Ann says
It could be worse! My husband did his postdoc at Dartmouth. We lived behind the Army Cold Weather Research facility.
We’re in SF now, and I don’t care how many fires / earthquakes we have to deal with, at least it’s not New Hampshire.
It really does depend on your perspective. I’m from New England and would move back in a heartbeat. When my brother was stationed at the Navy base in Connecticut, he would volunteer for temporary duty at Winter Harbor, ME before that base closed. His buddies thought he was nuts. I understood, because it was home and we had family nearby. I also have family in the beautiful state of New Hampshire. To each their own.
Glad to hear you’ve found a home for Kid 2!
Looking at those three houses – they’re nice…but sadly lacking in books! I think the first one’s walk in wardrobe has more clothes than I do, but unless it’s a standard thing in the US to clear out all personal items before offering to sell (which I suppose with quick turnarounds as on Kid 2’s might be the normal), there seems to be a lack of… personality to all of them.
Or am I just spoiled by being a reader?
Moderator R says
The houses are all staged before being put on the market. Removal of personal objects from the previous owners is a part of that, as it allows the interested parties to imagine themselves in the space.
Neutrality in furnishings is the aim ????.
Still a distinct lack of bookshelves!
But I take the point, it does make it look bigger. Thanks Mod R.
In Montana we have also had a huge influx from out of state since Covid. I’m waiting for people to find out once they move here that we don’t have High speed internet in a lot of places, or cell phone coverage, and they probably can’t work from home. Also, That nice isolated property with a mile long drive? Who’s plowing you out in the winter?? Or do you have to change your vehicles now that you are here? We are still a very rural state with only 5 large cities and other states would laugh at our city sizes. but we don’t care. 🙂 I also look at how much it would take to clean when i look at these beautiful houses. The study was AMAZING. Study envy!!!
Yes, I love the study. Love both House # 1 and #2.
We are in a condo in Toronto … prices are not as bad as NY …
but I am seriously re-thinking my life choices …
… should have gone to Texas 🙂
Dancing Corgi says
And what about nearby health care in rural areas? How long does it take an ambulance to get to your place? Are the doctors in the nearest town taking patients or are they all on the verge of retiring? Some people moving out to the country have no idea what sump pumps or septic tanks are.
Castle #1 all the way. My issue is that I would want the large living space & kitchen from a castle, but with 2-3 bedrooms. I’m anti social like that ????.
I <3 the pool in listing 2, though wonder if they have to constantly fish leaves out of it.
We're in AZ and "Californians ruin housing prices" is a pretty constant refrain here, too. I work from home, and when we first moved here, it was a source of consternation for our neighbors, as I overheard one morning while working on our back patio. The neighbors behind us are elderly and don't like to wear their hearing aids, which leads to me overhearing conversations like this:
Husband: She's out there again on a laptop!
Husband: I SAID SHE'S OUT THERE AGAIN ON HER LAPTOP!
HUSBAND: SHE MUST BE ONE OF THOSE DAMN CALIFORNIANS DRIVING UP OUR TAXES, WORKING ONE OF THEM EYE-TEE JOBS!
Wife: No, she's not.
Wife: NO, SHE'S NOT. I DROVE BY THEIR HOUSE YESTERDAY TO CHECK THEIR CARS, AND THE LICENSE PLATES ARE FROM MICHIGAN! SHE MUST BE IN SOME OTHER TYPE OF JOB!
Note: I am in IT (like you can only be in IT if you're from California :D).
So yeah, we get your pain. We had to compete against all-cash offers for our house, and I'm still not 100% what swayed the seller to choose us.
Anyways – glad you found something for Kid 2 and the menagerie!
Tasha A says
haha this is amazing! Eye Tee!!
LOL So awesome! Overheard conversations are hilarious. I love the ones where people are walking around talking on their bluetooth, and it looks like they’re talking to themselves.
I talk to myself in the grocery store. I don’t have a bluetooth attached to my phone. I just talk to myself. It clears out the aisle sometimes….
(I prefer to think of it as “verbal post-it notes” or “inner monologue becoming outer monologue”….)
I’ve had people ask if I’m alright upon realizing that no one’s on the other end of the conversation.
I do it because it helps me remember what I’m there for, is more likely to keep me on course, and also because, well, I just like to and always give me the best advice.
The cats never minded and sometimes even seem to enjoy it.
Wow to the castles!!! My 2200 ish square four antique house (c.1780) is not on the market but if it was, we could ask nearly $650 K in our area of Massachusetts! For just a little more I could live in such grandeur.. lol I am so with you on that gorgeous stove with its niche!!
Congrats on the house for your kid and the canine terrorists lol …
One thing that’s been so interesting on these housing posts is how similar it is everywhere as far as houses selling quick for more than asking etc … my grandmother’s house in Connecticut is going so fast, I won’t even have time to see it once more. That part is very sad. But anyway…
I love these kinds of posts on houses… I have an IKEA kitchen that was put in 3 years ago (by the sellers) and I wish I had the resources to redo it!
Maria Z says
Was it put in badly or do you simply hate the look?
There are a lot of businesses that have new door fronts for Ikea cabinets.
It was both put in badly and the lower cabinet doors are peeling apart— that’s a good tip to just replace the doors! Because the uppers are still pretty (they have glass doors). The counter tops are wood block and they did a bad job of it, but it could look great with just the doors replaced…
Patricia Schlorke says
In castle #1: Why would anyone want to separate the stove/oven from the rest of the kitchen? To me it disrupts the flow of the kitchen. This is from someone who loves to cook when I can.
Also, I noticed the oven has a smaller oven than the main one. For some reason Wolf, Kitchenaid, and other brands decided that home cooks didn’t need two big ovens. They decided to make one a smaller oven than the other. Nope, nope, nope. If I ever buy a house that has that type of ovens in the kitchen, I would do what Ina Garten did and create a cooktop/oven configuration to match what I want and put that in.
Castle #3 reminds me of the houses that I go past. All modern architecture which is worth millions. Not my taste in houses.
Why do castles 1 and 2, when taking out parts of each one and putting them together, remind me of Linus Duncan’s Texas castle?
Patricia Schlorke says
Congratulations on finding a house for Kid 2!
Because separate stove/oven area confines the mess to that area only. It’s easy to vent, it’s easy to clean, and if I ever build a house, I will replicate the little stove room I have now. I have a window on one side, a door on the other, and I can cook whatever I want without smoking up or smelling up the rest of the house. 🙂
Ilona is so nice. I was going to say that it’s so everyone stays the heck out of my way instead of standing and gabbing in the chef’s path. Maybe that’s just my family though…
You mean you don’t set off the smoke detectors regularly? ???? We don’t have to check ours because I do it cooking. ????
Cabbage or fish…. I don’t mind nice beef stew smells or spaghetti but cabbage and fish just hang around and around and around…
Margot D says
I breathed a sigh or relief for my eyes when the 3rd one came up. This one, no brainer.
Danielle Omo says
The Austin area housing market is a nightmare, for buyers and renters both. It’s just awful.
It’d be neat to see some of the homes with solar and other eco measures like grey water for the landscaping. Those sure do use a lot of resources to keep in nice condition.
Are the neighborhood facilities equally mini-grand? Nice remodeled grocery stores and a good variety of high quality ethnic food options? A co-worker became one of the CA -> TX tech based home buyers and he said the Costcos he visited in Austin were much less crowded than ours.
Hoping that some of the tech company expansion means Kid #1 will have more tech companies to work for if she’s still into coding and higher salary.
Stacy McKnight says
#1 definitely! If I wanted a Texas Cadtle lol. The modern kitchen might read better in person but my first thought while scrolling was Ikea even before I read your comment, Yay on house boo on Californians and their h screwing up the real estate markets.
I was pretty amazed by the photo of the staircase in #1. Very well done. I did like the pool, too and all the stone is sure nice, but….. it would have to have amazing views, unless of course you are giving it to me rofl. I looked at that kitchen and all I could think was I’d get my daily workout walking it. Heh.
I loved the grounds of #2. The house is ok, except the master bath. As for #3, omg that’s ugly. I don’t have anything against modern if it’s well done. That’s just drab looking both inside and out. Ah well. Since I could never afford any of them, I can be be critical instead.
Congrats to kid2 and you on finding a house! Buda is a cute little town and growing fast since so many Austinites are finding Austin too expensive to live in. I bought my house for 90K 25 years ago. It’s small but pleasant and has limestone on three sides and some stonework interior too, since it was built in the 70s. I could not afford to buy it now. My salary sure hasn’t increased 400% in the intervening years.
There is a reason I don’t live in Texas. To each his own, but those all look like way too much work. Glad to hear kid 2 is probably settled. On the upside, when she’s done with school and ready to move on, you should get a good price for the place.
I live in the tristate area of NYC and I am amazed at how “cheap” those castles are. I currently live not too far from my hometown in Westchester County, NY (where the real estate market in the Hudson Valley has been selling like hot potatoes since New Yorkers realized they didn’t want to be cooped up for the entirety of COVID in a tiny apartment for months on end) and I now live in Greenwich, CT just over the border. Houses like the ones you featured in this post in Westchester County and Greenwich would easily sell between $5-$10 million here. Those prices are a steal for the wealthy and no wonder Californians are flooding your real estate market. (Just to be clear I do not live in a ritzy Greenwich mansion and I don’t even live in Greenwhich proper as Greench encompasses several different municipalities).
But since we are talking about castles, every time I read about the castle that Hugh d’Ambray lives in in Kentucky, this is the ACTUAL castle in Kentucky I picture which I went to for a wedding back in 2017: https://www.thekentuckycastle.com/ I don’t know if you’ve heard about this place or the ridiculous story behind its construction. Also the fact that it is located in a town called VERSAILLES of all places (pronounced Versales by the locals and I am French so the pronunciation grates me lol). It’s since been sold since the wedding I attended and looks like extensive renovations were done. But from the outside it still looks like a weird combo of Medieval Times and a mishmash of different European castle architecture that don’t go together. The decor inside was so tacky when I visited I can’t even describe it. But yeah just put “Kentucky Castle Versailles” in Google Images and this is the place I imagine Hugh living in!
Megan RJ says
I live in Phoenix and California buyers are making it almost impossible for anyone on a moderate budget to buy a home here. Even rents are getting ridiculous. I’m very lucky I was able to buy when the market crashed back in 2010, but I don’t think my kids will ever be able to afford their own house here.
Also in PHX & you’re absolutely correct.
We’re being priced right out of the Valley w/nowhere affordable to go & no way to get there. God help my son & niece when they’re apt hunting, never mind house hunting, if they stay here.
RJ Blain says
I looked at my gross income with spouse and I for last year and then at what we can afford in rent, and may have started to cry.
Then I looked at used Porsches because I could afford to window shop.
Property tax bills in Texas are almost as scary as the politicians. And the venomous critters. O.O
I am sorry on behalf of all other Californians.
Aleea Brewer says
#3 is way too much white, making it look like IKEA as you said, however, the elephant is outstanding. #1 has too many stairs for my old hips, so I would take #2. If I could afford the house, I could afford to remove that bathtub. The bath surround, after re-cutting, would be the beginning of a circular shower. Really sorry you had to pay so much extra to get a home for the Kid 2. The joy the house will bring you all should make it easier to bear in the long run.
Every time I see these kind of listings, all I can think is, who the hell cleans these places. Followed by, I could possibly just move in and live in the library.
Castles are all well and good, but that third one really does look like a business office or perhaps a prison. It’s as if they wanted a massive house, but they didn’t want to pay for the things that turn it into a home. The floors are all the same. The counters and cabinets are all boring get-out-my-sight and they do look lower priced than something that should be in a castle. I could never walk the stairs on the first one because they appear to be unconnected to each other and I have an unreasoning terror of slipping between the steps as I did when I was a child in my parents’ home on steps like that. But I had to look more closely to see why I thought I could live there, and it finally dawned on me. The wall above the stove looks pretty grimy to me, and the floor in front of the island seems to need someone with a scrub brush, as does the floor by the stove. That tells me that it’s real stone, and that it’s not suitable for me, the person who does not care to scrub anything that much! LOL! The second house would be SO nice for me, but I’d have to get that light over the kitchen island changed for something a little less … um … wrought iron? I’m sure it’s very “Texas”, but it really kind of ruins the kitchen for me. The trouble is that all the shining wood has to be kept shining, and I’d definitely need a maid or two to keep it that way. Who am I kidding? Any of those houses would take an army of cleaning crews to keep them looking halfway clean! But wow! House 2 actually stopped me for a while, just looking at it. Thank you for the tours!
I’m SO happy that you found a house for your daughter. I hope she is happy there for years to come. I sincerely hope that she has good neighbors. I never considered neighbors when we bought our house, and it was quite a shock to meet a few of them. I finally had to put a fence of sorts. It’s very good for me to see parents who care enough to help find and pay for a house for a child in need. I hope that when the time comes to move, the prices stay high enough for you to not lose on it. But all that is for another day, when she no longer needs to be where she is. For now, in the moment, she can settle in and know she won’t be tossed out when the owner decides to move back into her home. (I’m still miffed that that happened to her!) I’m very happy for you all that things are looking up somewhat for your family.
Dang, I now want to live in a Texas mansion. I’m from CA but in a rural area. We complain about people from LA moving here, paying way too much for houses, driving up the prices and making more traffic because of their daily commute!
I’m sorry you had to offer so much over to get the house. I am glad kid 2 has secured housing. That is stressful for everyone.
The amount of room is glorious. My house literally fits in house number 2 living room. My house is 697 sq ft. I raised six kids in it. One bathroom. Happy kid 2 has a house .
Our housing prices here are insane as well and it’s not due to Californians. It’s due to low inventory and low interest rates. A fixer upper that requires about $100k upgrades is going for $200k+ which is high for our area. I’d rather rent.
Sorry, all three so called castles looked very pretentious. Does anyone really need a house with 2000 square feet per resident?
I’ll stick with my little 1926 bungalow in, dare I say it, California.
This Texas mansion just came up after your post so I had to share it
I saw a drawbridge, but they forgot the moat. ????????
That is an absolute nightmare of architectural excess. The house tour pictures look like a sad hotel that never caught on as a “chic retreat”.
(That being said, everyone gets to have their own version of “dream house”.)
Well, it doesn’t look like Ikea.
Wilbur Ringo says
“It doesn’t look like IKEA” – very funny!
I refuse to believe Hugh would live in anything soooo tacky.
Over $6 million and no covered parking? Under parking it said open. Nothing like baking your car every day.
Wow! Someone bought and moved the leaning tower of Pizza, then shored it up!
Bless their little pea-picker hearts!
Sarah P says
Thanks for sharing 🙂 I enjoy looking at zillow in other areas but haven’t poked around TX. Congrats on the house find!
Yinz should have a “love note” option on your “contact info” page (though as a blog reader I get why not). Since this is my best option I just want to say: Kate Daniels got me through college and the economic slump that was 2009 when I graduated, I read the Kinsmen shift stories/The Edge, and end of Kate during my years of CNA/dementia patient work in long term care. Hidden Legacies was my escape during nursing school and as an ICU RN during this pandemic. Just a sincere “thank you” to my favorite author team! I beyond understand burnout (I’m so fried that if you poke me, I’ll crumble into burnt toast bits), so I hope you take care of yourselves and family and plan a good vacay somewhere peaceful. Love and appreciation!
Moderator R says
Hope the same for you, Min! Wish you nothing but relaxation and sunshine days.
Leigh Ann says
Did you say, “Yinz?!?” You must be from my home state. I only know one place that says yinz.
donna stegman says
I live between Reno NV and Lake Tahoe and let me tell you, the mass of California residents moving here has exploded. Our property value has more than doubled in the past year. They’re driving the prices of homes through the roof in Nevada, at least once a week we have a card on our door from a real estate company wanting our listing. I’d sell our adorable country house with over an acre, but I wouldn’t be able to buy another home here, we’d need to move to Texas.
Congrats on finding the house. Here’s sending good thoughts on the gas inspection. Californians are moving everywhere with their money. Bozeman Montana has seen a huge spike in housing costs.
I like Castle one the best. I’m just glad I don’t have to clean it. 🙂
I thought my house was way too big for just me and the killer toy poodle but since I have been work from home, I am glad I have the luxury of a dedicated space for the office. This place has been intended as an investment and not a lifetime home, so it’s been fortunate that I found it
Some castles hidong in Texas I see. I wiöö remember this when rereadong HL – just upsize my imagination by 10.
As someone who has spend a lot of time at ikea…the kitchen has that feel 😀 it is not just you
Tasha A. says
omg I LOVE the 1st one. but the price had my jaw dropping. I live in Boston and there are 1,000 square foot condos that are that price around here!
Thanks for including the links to the houses! I think #1 is the best too. Though the library in #2 is pretty neat. Glad to hear housing for Kid 2 has been mostly (fingers crossed) secured. May the rest of the process go smoothly and quickly with no sudden surprises. And the rest of the major stressors ease their way off your plate as well.
Donna A says
I thought it was going to be actual castles for some reason. In which case I’d be all for it, so long as it’s not too modernised. But I’m not a big fan of modern buildings so I’d probably skip all three and get this https://www.jackson-stops.co.uk/properties/12984110/sales/alderleyedge because turrets and moat beat everything ????
That’s definitely footballer territory, I wonder which one owned it?
ooo Do you watch Escape to the Chateau DIY? Turrets galore!
Congratulations on finding a house for your kiddo!
We live in Texas now, NOT in a castle. We moved here to retire and to be closer to our daughter two years ago. When asked where we are from, we sort of mumble “California”. People being mad at Californians moving here and driving up prices is really a thing y’all!! ???? We love it hear. Crazy weather and all.
Torok Amalia says
I call my kids terrorists ???? so….
In my defense I have 3 boys age 3, 5 and 8 and are very active, loud, wild and stubborn boys ????.
Love first castle, but the second castle’s study is to almost perfect.
Congrats on the new house.
Karen Stewart says
https://castlefalkensteintx.com/ Near Inks lake
Janet Scurlock says
We call our Sheppy German Shredder because he loves to shreds big cardboard boxes to death!! He is almost 9 and still acts like a puppy when Amazon delivers something in a big box!! They are definitely a very quirky breed.
I am so glad you found something for Kid 2. I don’t remember reading about these types of challenges in all those child rearing books I read. My father always said he wanted the manual for each kid, not the general one 😉
Barbara Kay Swanson says
I freaking love your taste. Kitchen #3 does look like IKEA.
And That Slab. And the wood on the island. #1. Yummy.
Crystal Smith says
All I can think of is. I’d never stop cleaning!!!
I love the look of #1 though. I live in lynchburg TN Jack daniels home and people think their land is made of Gold. I’d love to move out but it’s hubby ancestral home.
Mary Peed says
I live in the boonies. Literally on an island/peninsula in Lake Superior. I have a 2200 sq ft house built in 1885. I get one call a week asking me if I’m thinking about selling. This is one of those places that a lot of technical people “would like to live” if only they had a job here. I think more and more people are looking at working from home and think they can afford to live very well here where they can get a big house for $160k. If the price is good enough, we’d be happy to sell, btw. Has to be enough to build on our farm property.
Patricia Schlorke says
And then the winter hits. If people who want to live there are not familiar with northern winters and lake effect snow…heaven help them. ????
I’ve been getting these “Pricey Pads” ads on fb. My Mom and I have fun discussing what we like and hate about them. These are on the small side for them. Many are over 10k up to over 30k sq ft. with some actual castles. Mostly U.S. but some international ones. There is more bad wallpaper in the world than I ever imagined. ????
Susie Q. says
I’m in the minority. I like house 3. It’s light and airy. The pool area is great, especially the hanging chairs. I wanted to see the master, so I checked out the listing. There are a lot of wood accents in the rest of the house which are needed in the open plan kitchen living area. The covered outdoor patio has a wood ceiling and nice outdoor kitchen and dining area. I particularly like the reclaimed wood wall in the master bedroom. Paint some of the walls, throw some wood accents, add color and it would be a bright and cheerful place to live. My favorite style is Craftsman houses. They have the clean lines I love, plus the gorgeous wood trim.
Wilbur Ringo says
I also loved that pool. Especially the ledge in the pool where the two lounge chairs are. I could see myself hanging out there with the dogs.
Wilbur Ringo says
Am I the only one who thought all three houses lacked charm? I will say the pools were beautiful.
Polina Makeeva says
Take revenge on Californians in your next book!
Seriously? Castle #2 has a rolling ladder for the office but it only has two narrow bookcases for it? Pretentious, much? And the fireplace is behind the chair. What’s the point of a fireplace if you can’t gaze into it blankly? I mean, thoughtfully?
Besides the Austin prices being astronomical with all the heavy wallet brigade Californians moving to the area, the biggest complaint I hear is that the new folks want to remake Texas into California with its attendant rules and regulations negating some of the reasons they came to Texas in the first place. Two of my favorite bumper stickers: Keep Austin Weird, Keep San Antonio Lame.
I want #2’s study!
Terrie Cunningham says
That bathroom on the first one, wow. That is bigger than my living room, dining room and kitchen, combined.
Joe K. says
Remember when everyone thought you were moving to Maryland? Yeah don’t move to Maryland. Your current house here would probably be 1.25million and I don’t even know the dimensions of your property. All three of those homes would, at least the, be double here.
Never thought I’d want to move to Texas…
I never was going to move to Maryland. Jeaniene Frost is. 🙂
Joe K. says
Oh I know you weren’t. Got a little excited when I thought you were. But anyway, tell her to bring money. We’re expensive lol.
Please DO blame Californians. I don’t know where they’re getting the cash, but housing prices out here are ridiculous. In-state shaming hasn’t worked, so maybe if we can get the whole country to shame our real estate prices, something will happen.
I don’t think moving Californians are happy about TX/AZ/OR/WA/ID prices going up either but finite immediate supply and higher demand with more companies moving in means prices will go up and they have a higher income bracket & credit potential to borrow against for mortgage and/or more cash savings (as trying to live off 6 months TX cost of living emergency fund would probably get eaten quickly by Silicon Valley/SF very high cost of living including state income tax which can be higher than some of the property taxes for the mini castles).
Total compensation packages for tech workers usually include base salary and restricted stock units. If they work for a company before IPO, that can also spur lifestyle creep if there’s a good IPO but usually not one of those crazy rich stories unless they were one of the original founders. If they already have a home in CA, that’s also increased in price and selling allows people to afford more outside of CA. You can check compensation packages for different roles and levels online if you are curious.
Lack of time, different socializing, and a pandemic where some people have very little also means they aren’t splashing out in the same ways as before. It might not be a Peloton, French Laundry, or Teslas but moving to a bang-for-buck mega mansion/high cost of living dream location for remote work or a nice vacation home.
I’m not sure what exactly the shame should be if local culture highly values capitalism and bootstrap mentality. Is this a false stereotype of Texans? I honestly don’t know many Texans or follow Texas news so maybe I have the wrong impression?
One way making it better for long term Texans would mean programs, some by local governments and others via corporations, to help keep housing real estate prices stable and affordable for people being priced out. That could be encouraging more new supply, regulating sales, or incentivizing moving to other lower cost parts of Texas.
Some countries offer government related housing and purchase via lottery or a lot of corporate incentive, including tax cuts, to build in certain areas. I thought that was some of the gov’t overhead more conservative or fiscally conservative people try to avoid? The local governments seem to be courting and publicizing new-to-them tech companies as wins which are spurring jobs and improving the local economy. It might be wise for long time locals to look into what incentives are being offered, the potential local impacts will be, and advocate for their own interests.
Some tech industry cities strike deals with companies to improve local infrastructure for general populace for tax incentives. There’s often significant local concessions to entice new giant office build outs like Amazon’s formerly proposed HQ2 in Brooklyn which was not a good deal for residents (including driving up housing prices further for current residents) https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-amazon/
Google will allocate space for low income housing in their new residential project https://mv-voice.com/news/2021/02/04/google-submits-plans-to-build-7000-homes-in-north-bayshore-the-largest-project-in-citys-history and backs affordable housing initiatives https://www.mercurynews.com/2021/03/04/google-backs-three-bay-area-affordable-housing-projects/. Facebook also backs some affordable housing initiatives. People in Silicon Valley/SF Bay Area are priced out even on tech salaries much less all the other ranges of people who work at corporations, small businesses in town, and good candidates who want to move to CA (or required to) but can’t afford to do so.
Again, perhaps I am not understanding some Texas mentality and values correctly and apologize if that’s the case.
they cost of their properties are insane! so they get more when they sell and move out of state. I remember seeing an article a couple years about the homeless in California were people with well paying jobs, they just couldn’t afford to live there.
Congrats on the house! We joke and call our 75 pound floppy ear German Shepherd either “land shark” because of his teethy grins or “galumphicous” because he likes to galumph and is silly. He likes to wash “his kitten” who is only 7 pounds.
You should hear what Oregonians say about Californians coming north & jacking up our land prices! My son-in-law saw what the prices were in Ohio vs here. Double the price here!
My first thought was, “That’s a lot of floor space to keep clean”. I’ll stick with my log cabin in the sticks. Although, I did love the kitchen in the second house. Yeah, that’s it. Give me my log cabin with that kitchen in it and I’m golden.
Well. $2 Mil buys you a great 2 bed, 2 bath – 1,200 foot condo in Manhattan
Well it’s the same in Santa Monica. Location. Location. Location.
About a month after I bought my 1000 sqft house in San Francisco, a friend of mine bought a 5000 sqft house in rural CA. I just looked at her blankly and said “it’s going to take you forever to make curtains for that.” Looking at these castles I think, how long will it take to make curtains for all that? To clean it? Presumably if you can afford that you can also hire someone to make the curtains and clean, but..even strolling from the master bedroom to the kitchen looks like it would take you forever. I mean I guess that’s a way to get your steps in for the day?
Re: “the kitchen is a nice size” – that kitchen looks like the (original) size of my house, around 1000 sqft. I’d like more counter space in my kitchen, but that one looks like I’d have to strap on rollerblades just to get meals made!
Acquiring real estate is the worst, and actually moving is the second worst. And I live in a fairly low-cost part of the country; I am still determined that I will move at most one more time in my life, because I don’t want to have to shop for property and I don’t want to have to pack up and move all my stuff.
That said, congrats on finding a place and having an accepted offer!
I have said the same thing. I am never moving again. I last moved over 20 years ago and loathed the whole process.
I live in the North of England. I looked at all 3 castles and shuddered. (sorry Ilona). I would not want that much space!!!!
I can’t imagine living anywhere that needs air-conditioning or an outdoor pool. Our weather doesn’t get that hot.
All that being said house prices are crazy, let alone getting on the property ladder.
Glad your daughter will be sorted. That whole waiting for completion is horrible.
The castles are amazing, but my adulting brain is screaming about the heating and a/c bills for those tall ceilings. But that library, though!
Wow! Those are amazing houses – though the electric bill has gotta be huge for the A/C. Congrats on getting that house!!! It’s fun to blame Californians for issues (we do it in the PNW all the time). LOL
That Texas property tax though…
Yes, but no state income tax.
Patricia Schlorke says
Don’t forget the weather. Texas is part of tornado alley. Plus, as one meteorologist puts it, the gates of hell open up in June, July, and August. ????????????
Californians are flooding the market in other states too. Idaho is having a big issue with it.
Twenty years ago when I lived in Seattle this same thing was cried about, but most of the transplants I met were from the Mid-West.
you want to know my upmost thought when I view those “castles” or “mansions” … who the heck cleans them? not the owners I bet! and the amount of work that would be required to keep them that clean?? I mean, I’m not even going into the trees overhanging the pool, I’m talking about the inside! the height of those walls? who’s going to dust them? those shelves? they are not getting a weekly proper dust! all those chandeliers? who the heck is going to go up a ladder to dust them, let alone a monthly wash, I don’t know about in america, but here, they would be covered in dust and cobwebs within the month!
Sheila Jacobson says
If they can afford the house, they can afford help.
Truthfully? A lot of those houses are quietly cleaned by don’t-ask-don’t-tell illegal immigrants. Same with property maintenance and fence repair, and some construction. They’re here, they’re cheaper, many of them work hard and fast and well, and they often have more handy skills. It’s a sad situation. Illegal and often unethical on the part of the homeowner, but I’m glad when people can find work.
Lisa Hampton says
I agree with you about castle #3. No life to it, so bland and that’s what we’re supposed to be into right now?? No thank you. #1 much more personable even if so huge you could lose several people in the same room. 🙂
But, but, but, the library in #2! And the grounds!
I think most of those “Californians” were from other places before they moved to Silicon Valley and now are moving again because their tech companies are looking for cheap real estate and lower taxes.
As a native Californian there is no amount of money that would get me to move to Texas.
Leigh Ann says
Seriously tho. I’ve only lived in CA for 10 years, but under no circumstances am I leaving. Texas? Ann Richards would need to rise from the dead, be reelected as Governor, and then personally invite me to move. Even then, probably not.
I do love San Diego. But your tax rate would kill me.
I live in San Diego, and yeah it’s expensive. But I keep telling my raised-in-North-Carolina husband that our neighborhood is nice, we have great weather, and good public schools and libraries and amenities from our tax money (our district is really good, in north county), so he needs to get over the complaining. I should also mention that I met him here in California—I didn’t make him move here. He is constantly dreaming of selling our house and moving elsewhere and I tell him that people will blame him from coming from California. It’s been more than 20 years and he says he “really isn’t a Californian.” Whatever.
cindy Pace-Loegering says
65k over asking! Oy! We are looking in Austin (our kid 1 and family moved there) and are aghast. Not all California has high real estate. We are in small town in Northern California and are blown away by how crazy Austin market is.
Cindy, try satellite towns like Buda and Kyle in the south. New Braunfels is about 40 minutes from Austin and is a nice town. San Marcos is very collegy, but that’s where we are. In the north, you have Pflugerville, Round Rock, and Cedar Park. If you narrow it down to an area, I can tell you more about it.
Congrats on getting Kid 2 the house!
Side note, based on the houses you showed, it looks like you can get way more for your money out in Texas than where I live :’).
It’s ok, I’ll just wait until I win the lottery to live in my very own McMansion hahaha
Austin did get flooded by buyers with much more cash thanks to Google and others moving into the area and now that everyone can work remotely it’s crazy. I have one son in Pflugerville and another in SA. They haven’t been out of college all that long and, like everyone, would like to live in nice, safe neighborhoods! Best of luck with your new home!
Sheila Jacobson says
I like #2.
Absolutely hated #3. The flooring going in different directions in the kitchen and dining area made me dizzy. And why is the couch and coffee table smooshed up against the fireplace? (Smooshed is a technical term.)
Karen O. says
Congratulations to Kid 2 for her new home! How exciting! Now the least favorite part of new home ownership…..all the work associated with moving day!
Marian Bernstein says
I have always had German Shepherds-yours are gorgeous. I like number 1, also. I will never live in anything that looks like Ikea.
Susan Tuckett says
Basic houses – 3 bedrooms + 1.5 bathrooms, on an average lot of 500 square metres in my area of Sydney cost about the same as those Texas castles. Great that you found a home for Kid 2 and her animals
Of the 3 ‘baby’ mansions, I too prefer the first contender. Now if it could be downsized to something that doesn’t require a ride on vacuum cleaner…..:)
It’s funny with that stove niche. It looks awesome, but due to the layout of my kitchen (not because we have a niche), I have slightly more usable counterspace for cooking than that niche does, and I hate it so much. I prefer to stand next to the stove while I cut up my produce so I can just chuck stuff into the pan when it’s ready or keep an eye on the stuff that’s already simmering. So maybe it helps with kitchen envy to consider that it would be a pain to actually cook there? 🙂 I am guessing that particular stove might not get used all that much in a kitchen like that, though, so maybe it’s a moot point.
Californians are everywhere except California. They are flooding Nashville, Tn as well. Buying up houses everywhere and in some cases turning them into rentals. Between Californians and the Chinese, property goes fast around here.
Glad you were able to find Kid2 a house. Hopefully, when you are ready to sell you can make back the $65,000 you had to pay over appraisal.
Hope you are feeling better. Thanks for all your hard work which is enjoyed by so many!! Looking forward to the next installment of whichever series takes your fancy!!!
Congratulations on kid 2’s home. I lived near Beaumont TX as a child until I turned 18 and I still love to visit Texas. I have family who live in Lufkin. I am going to work remotely for my community college and will be moving to VA this summer to live near my daughter and grandchild. I am in the process of getting my home ready to list and I am so happy to say that I will be renting my daughter and son in law’s basement so I can help with child care when my daughter starts law school in August. Child care in Arlington VA is outrageous. If I had to list the house and look for one to buy at the same time, I would lost my mind. I intend to rent for a few years and then buy one last time. That house will be the one I remain in so I am not in a hurry. When law school is over, I want to travel. Eventually I will tell my daughters and grandkids you want to see me.. come visit!
I hope that your stress level will lower and you can recharge! As a teacher, June and July help me to recharge. I will know it is time to retire when August arrives and I dread going back to work!
Housing in Arlington is outrageous too. Can’t believe the size of the house the buyers built onto my grandparents’ little old colonial. It’s like three times the size. And when I lived in a group house in College Park (Maryland, almost halfway around the Beltway from Arlington) one of our housemates was a guy who worked at the Pentagon and couldn’t afford to live in Northern VA. His commute was horrendous.
my brother works for the uniformed secret service and he lives in Martinsburg, WV and has a 70+ mile one way trip to work. Because they can’t afford the prices, they can barely afford what they have.
Loved house number one, but I am an acreage kind of person.
I think my entire mobile home would fit in the master bath of Castle #1. Very much like the study/library of Castle #2!! Castle #3 looks like it belongs on a college campus somewhere, as the “modern” building for the geography and architecture departments.
Glad you found a good place (exorbant price not withstanding!!) for kid #2 and her pups and other critters of whom she is the mom/guardian. Wishing you smooth sailing with the rest of the house closing inspections and paperwork!! ⛵????
I like the first one best, too. I often like modern, but that modern house doesn’t even look like a home in the outside. It looks like a small office building.
Maria Z says
Anyone watch HGTV’s Escape to the Chateau.
Now that is a property I would love to live in.
I LOVE that show. Have you seen the DIY series? Escape to the Chateau DIY? I think that I like that one even better. I watch it via the Peacock Premium(?) streaming.
It shows so many other couples and their chateaux. I wonder how the pandemic has affected the B&B and wedding biz though.
Deane Clendenin says
Good Luck and Congratulations on the new home.
Good that the kid and pets are situated. That should be one load off your mind when it’s finalized.
Woot! You found a house! Hopefully the inspections go smoothly.
I like the look of #1 the best, never thought about the range being in a niche by itself but now I am wondering if that would keep the house cooler and cleaner? I can honestly say I really don’t want a home that big even if all the kids moved back I would rather have a big property and they could have their own homes.
Cecelia Donovan says
Congratulations, nice to have that done.
JoAnne K says
I can’t deal with so much space! Besides cleaning, the cost to keep that much house cool would be heart stopping. We live in a 1,200 sq ft ranch with 5.6 acres and paid under $150,000. House #1 would be my pick if I had to choose. It would provide lots of “me space” for all.
I hope kid #2 isn’t too far away. Dad will be needed for house fixes????. Maybe you need a few massages to help with stress????
Seth Burke says
Everything is bigger in TX. Here is a listing near me in Houston. It is a bit older, but also note that it is under contract… https://www.har.com/mapsearch/?map_tools_polygon=POLYGON((-96.06016583593751+30.169221346932694%2C-94.82969708593751+30.548414247036654%2C-94.70884747656251+29.864812108051122%2C-95.24717755468751+29.176494398887378%2C-96.18101544531251+29.540356763571438%2C-96.06016583593751+30.169221346932694%2C-96.06016583593751+30.169221346932694))&map_tools_nwlat=30.01912438879232&map_tools_nwlng=-95.55914630733965&map_tools_selat=29.983094699494828&map_tools_selng=-95.49613447241224&for_sale=1&square_feet_min=6000#g40247529
Mary-Anne Goss says
Most of my house would fit in the kitchen of house number 2, and my house has 3 bedrooms!
Ellen D says
Glad you found the house for kid2. Have to agree I like house #1 also. I’ve seen a lot of out of state plates here in Georgia lately. California, Texas, New York, Ohio, New Jersey. Pollen season hasn’t started yet here. Just wait till they see the yellow dust blowing across the road like sand at the beach. Their cars turning yellow overnight. Bwahahaaa.
Seeing that across the border in North Florida too!
Lots of New York, Kentucky, Louisiana, Kansas!, Texas.
Have I been blocked? I’ve posted 3 times and nothing shows up.
Except this post? ;P
Moderator R says
Reposting the same comment in quick succession gets picked up as repeat post and means it won’t get through ????. I have 5 comments from you tonight alone, you are not blocked ☺️.
Sara T says
I’ve seen a lot of comments about Californians buying up property everywhere, but it doesn’t feel like anyone is moving from here.
The roads are as crowded as ever – in the Bay Area at least.
Congrats on Kid 2’s house. She must be looking forward to moving in with her menagerie.
I liked both castle #1 and #2 (I like the study in #2). But you’re right #3 looks like it was manufactured by Ikea.
Heated tubs in a bathroom the size of my entire ground floor :D. Ahh.. I have memories of my old apartment where the bathroom was a 3×3 foot cellar room with an open window and a shower head put up on the wall.. Not fun in january, when there was no light and i had to use a candle to light up the room at 5am and shower in 2 degrees celcius. Free ventilation though and you didn’t linger..
I live in Denmark and the square footage on these castles/mansions are just so crazy 🙂 ah well, puts things in perspective sometimes.
Glad you found a house for Kid2. I hope it will be a good place for her.
Obviously the smart castle-buyer looks for a second, indoor heated pool for winter workouts.
Castle nr. 2 for me please. I love the grounds. That would probably go for over 10 mill USD in Norway. I shudder to think what that would cost in the Oslo region.
Congrats to you and Kid 2. We move a lot with a pet in tow. It is stressful to say the least. Hopefully everything else will go your way.
“ On the more personal front we found the house for Kid 2”
LOL. I thought you were going to announce you bought no. 1 for her.
You guys make me want to cry!
I live with mother in a 2 bed 1 bath single story semi-detached bungalow. When I moved in, I had been living in a 2 bed flat (apartment) and we shoehorned my stuff into the already full bungalow. Its about 800sq ft in size. The single garage is full of boxes which haven’t been opened for seven years.
Now I’m working from home almost full time (which will continue once COVID lockdown is lifted) so we’re trying to find a place which will allow us to expand so that Mum is living on the ground (first) floor and I’m upstairs. So we need two baths (1 up, 1 down), 2 living rooms (1 up, 1 down) and 3 beds (1 down and 2 up – the extra for my office).
I’m 62 and Mum’s 86 so a mortgage is out, but trying to find what we want in the Lincolnshire area which is within our price range is extremely difficult – so we’re trying to find “as close as what we need” with regard to amount of rooms, size, positioning etc., so we can convert if necessary.
I love those castles and have decided I need to win the lottery – I could quite happily live in any of them – and so enjoy all that extra space 🙂 !
Going away to dream now – Glad you found a place for Kid2
Moderator R says
Looking at them from England really hurts, doesn’t it ????? I wish you both the best of luck for a decent sized home that meets your needs!
I don’t like any of them but if they put in some wood floors, area rugs, and more colour, maybe I might rent the third one for a while.
I feel like Alessandro:”Teek-ass”
And I am piling on the others here who are wowed by the teeny prices. I’m in Toronto and a pull down garage – yes, garage; no hydro, no water, nuthin’ – just went for $750,000. Sigh.
Congratulations on finding Kid2 a house. Nice to know that Bank of Dad/Mom is universal.
I blamed Californians for prices suddenly skyrocketing and houses flying off the market as we were making a move from middle of nowhere New York (where housing prices are low because taxes are so high) to Idaho Falls.
A pandemic is a perfect time to change jobs and move cross-county. /s
Bill from nj says
Given what you get with those houses that isn’t that expensive. They build tract mansions in my town here in northern NJ that are like 5000 square feet on property that is like 1/4 to 1/3rd acre,which violates zoning laws but town is forced to allow for fear of being sued. And the price tag is in range of the houses you listed.
I think the third one grandma Frieda would love,definitely kind of looks defensible, easy to lock down and put gun ports into it!
Glad your Ds house is coming together. We have put down composite flooring for the same reason,we have two big rescues, like 100 lb each (half siblings who no one believes are related), they do serious damage to wood floors and slip on it.
Jill F says
Well, the bigger it is the more you have to clean? Love the pool comment! #1 is my favorite too. Though whoever is living there probably has some one come in. LOL
Raven Lynn says
My house is 3500 square feet in New England lol… but with lower ceilings and smaller rooms it doesn’t feel big like these houses look. And I already have more than enough to clean lol
That kitchen looks like IKEA to me too!!! My idea of good taste definitely doesn’t match that particular modern vibe!!!
Judy Schultheis says
The whole of that third one looks IKEA to me. Well, okay, I did like the pool.
I agree with you about the separate alcove for the stove in #1. That kitchen had me drooling.
Cheryl M says
Idahoans are also blaming the Californians for the screamingly high prices. My experience is that it’s been mostly investment companies. I hope no one is too badly screwed if there is a bobble in the economy/market. Sigh.
There is an 8 bedroom, 8 full/4half bath mansion ‘in the style of Versailles’ for sale in central Houston. Only $30M!! (Was in Houston Chronicle Sunday 3/21/21 Housing section)
Crystal Johnson says
We understand your real estate market pain; we live in Vermont and the pandemic has brought in a flood of city folk that see properties as a steal and can buy them, tear them down and rebuild them how they want for a cost that is reasonable to them. Great for people who want to sell; not great for people looking for an entry-level/starter home.
Congratulations on a home for Kid2 and the terrorists.
Wow. As always, you are expanding my horizons with no pain. I wonder if these houses come with site maps? Very glad to hear about kid #2’s house. Hopefully that will be a pressure release.
I would take that “Texas study” in a heartbeat on the basis of the moveable ladder alone!
Also, I agree on the “Ikea” kitchen. If I wanted a kitchen with no personality at all, I’d buy that. I’ve seen commercial kitchens with more interesting cabinetry.
And I’d take door number 1, as well!
Linda See says
Point taken about Californians running up real estate prices. That is exacerbated by attracting tech businesses away from Silicon Valley so to a certain extent it’s a “be careful what you wish for” kind of thing for state government.
You’re still a bit of a way off California prices though. $1.3 mil in a nice neighborhood gets you a 1500 square foot fifties ranch style fixer upper now.
Thanks for turning me on to “Home Town”. Now that’s fantasy program to a Californian!
As a native Austinit I also blame Californians for the high prices on homes and taxes. I can’t afford to own a home here
Several of my clients work on high-end homes. Please check out the Custom Home portfolio at http://www.jkandsons.com just so I can say you visited one of my websites. You’d be able to hear my “squeeeee!” all the way from Minnesota to Texas!
Congrats to you & Gordon, kid 2 and the terrorists. ????
As a California native, I do not begrudge you for shaking your fist at those that are moving to Austin. My parents own a few properties in the San Francisco Bay Area and when I was looking at the prices of those Texas castles I literally thought to myself, “My parents could sell their 2,000 sq ft house and buy that and still have money left over!”
I’m going to show my parents those castle listings…we are always trying to convince them to move out of state. Cost of living in California is ridiculous. I moved to Wyoming 7 years ago and never regretted it.
I do live in California. If 1.3 buys a castle, I can’t image what you consider a normal home price to be. 1.3 buys a nice 2/3 bedroom in a great neighborhood here. For $800,000 you can buy a home without a roof or foundation. People are buying $800,000 homes without inspections now. I know someone who bought one, found dry rot and mold and $150,000 later had a home. Its nuts!
Congrats on the new home for Kid 2.
I don’t get the no inspection thing at all, unless you have lots of money to burn. Even worse if you are moving to a new area, are termites common, earthquakes, how’s the roof looking? It really boggles the mind.
Same thing with the real estate in Galveston. California people buying beach front property because they can get a lot more for their money here. But, they aren’t the only ones. Small, vintage homes are going for ridiculous amounts.
One question I always have is whether the houses and mansions described in the books (mainly in the hidden legacy) are based on real houses … I found myself trying to find some of them on google earth (shame of shame), the mansion you described in snippet was so absurd that it had to be based on some real or else you have a really scary architectural creativity.
P.S. My English is not very good, I am using the google translator so … if you hear a lot of errors, you already know the reason …
Nancy Pollan says
Californians and Texans are flooding the housing market in Colorado too.
Texas Mansion # 2 is the clear winner for me, personally. 🙂
Guess what? Real estate is crazy everywhere in Oregon, too. Having recently sold and bought, we experienced both sides. Other friends have experienced the same.
Congratulations on Kid 2’s new home. Yes! I agree about the vinyl floors. While I love wood floors, the vinyl is so much more practical for the critters and they, of course, are the most important consideration.
I moved from Texas to Colorado 4 yrs ago and have now moved BACK to Texas to be closer to my family and friends.
Not only have the prices gone up, but the building boom, COVID and snowpocalypse has caused a material shortage and my house is stuck at 90% complete because we can’t get brick or counter tops…=( *sigh* and it was considerably more expensive….so I get it.
Thanks for posting these pictures. I grew up in San Antonio and Austin (+ college in Galveston) and seeing these pictures made me smile. They are so very TEXAS. I’ve enjoyed the inclusion of Houston in the HL series and, now that I am living on the Georgia coast, the occasional trip to Savannah in the KD series. It makes the books feel more real being able to picture the locale.
I like the first one and especially the outside and aspect of number two (always wanted a turret!) but number three looks like a corporate office building and inside is boring.
It would be lovely to have a pool. My uncle and aunt used to have a big bubble cover that went over theirs so it could be used in the cold months.
Thanks for the fun post!
I clearly have no taste either, that kitchen looks like IKEA to me, too. Why with the lilac LED lights? Why? They’re everywhere, and they make everything look tacky, no exceptions.
On another note, all the people from Britain are also screaming. These mansions would go for about three to four times that much literally *anywhere* in the UK – in several major cities you could pay that much for a terraced house (what I think USians would call a townhouse?) if it had a bit of Victorian tiling and a kitchen with an itty bitty skylight…
I completely understand the real estate struggle – the Californians are flooding the Arizona markets as well, and it’s turning into a serious issue with affordable housing in the Phoenix Metro/East Valley area. I have a friend who’s a realtor and he said that they’re coming in sometimes $300K-$400K over the asking price, all cash offers. Glad to hear that you guys found a place for Kid 2!
Your post made me start thinking about the difference between a castle and a palace. It seems that, to be a “castle” the building needs to be fortified against invaders, now or at least historically. So, no question that the Baylors et.al. would buy and live in a castle.
n the other hand, the pictures you posted seem more in the luxury mansion/palace range of dwelling- an opulent home meant to display ostentatious wealth. Hard to say, maybe the fortifications are hidden? Or does the usual level of armed readiness of Texans make any home a castle?
Of course, then there’s local use… if those are “castles” in Texas vernacular, then they’re castles.
I think I’m going to vomit… I live in Denver and housing costs here have shot through the roof in the past few years. I made the mistake of Googling 1.5 million dollar homes in Denver. Turns out, you can get a two-bedroom condo for 2.7 million. Certainly, if you get far enough away from downtown (or the random enclaves of wealthy people), you could probably buy a decent sized house for under a million. Just don’t ask what neighborhood it will be in, what your commute will look like, or the condition of the home.
Nancy Heald says
Cries in Californian *sob*
Makes me sad to think I could sell my house here in Long Beach and basically buy a mansion in San Antonio. To folks in my neck of the woods acreage is an unimaginable luxury. This is why us annoying Californians are driving up your local home prices.
Moderator R says
*hugs* I cried in Londoner too ????. I still am, tbh.
This situation is not kind on anyone “California flips that idea on its head. Instead of attracting residents with a surfeit of new housing options despite low growth, it’s posting job growth above the national average, even beating the economies of many European nations when it comes to growth and performance metrics, yet still pushing away many residents—making it harder for lower- and middle-income residents to stay—as a result of soaring housing prices and continued difficulty building new supply.” https://archive.curbed.com/2020/1/14/21059177/texas-california-real-estate-housing-moving
Angela Knight says
Congratulations on the new house for Kid 2!
I love #2. What I couldn’t do with all those bookcases in the study. I might live in that one room. Also, lots of trees and windows–and, what looked like a guest cottage out back behind the pool. Thanks for the pics. And, watch out for those “terrorists”. One of the things I love most about your blogs is the animal shenanigan’s. They’re fun, and they make me laugh. Peace and blessings to all in House Andrews.
And then we look at what $1.5 gets you in central Austin ????
Congrats on finding a house! And that cash-over-appraisal nonsense is happening all over. It’s insane.
Bruce R says
I don’t understand the study in #2: what good are bookshelves that aren’t overflowing with books?
Those are amazing “houses”. I often wonder if I could be comfortable in something like that because it’s so far away from my experience. It is a lot of fun to look at. I really loved the yard of the second one. I currently live in Arizona. Before the Great Recession the state’s number one import was California retirees. That trend was goin on for years. That was one of the reasons Arizona was so devastated as the housing industry was the number one source of income in the state.
The housing crash had a major partner though that nobody talked about. I remember moving back to my home town away from Tucson in 1997. My parents new a husband and wife team of realtors and they came over to meet me. The wife became giddy in talking about the California trend. She described in detail how fun it was to inflate the asking price over the value of the house. People could sell a middle class home in Los Angeles county move to our little community and buy a virtual mansion or have one built for a fraction of the cash they were holding for housing. I remember asking what happens when they have to sell and no one will pay the inflated price. She shrugged and said Oh well. She said that she wasn’t the only realtor doing it either. Needless to say we never worked together.
tracy johnson says
My favorite Texas place is the historic 4 6’s ranch, which is now on the market for gazillions, but when I hit the lottery it will be my first purchase!
As for big dogs and flooring, I’m with ya, wood look laminate or tile all the way! I do have a trick for toenails and real wood floors though!
As for the baby Texas mansion, apparently I’m tasteless as well, because it also screams iKea to me.
Congrats on finding a house for your daughter!
Thank you for sharing the Texas “Castles”. I will take #2, please – very serene and LOVE the windows, library and master bath!
The price points! Something like that here in Seattle would be over $5MM. You might be able to find something comparable size-wise for the same price point in the suburbs, but the inside wouldn’t be nearly as beautiful.
I must have strange taste – don’t like #1 or #3 at all. Too dark, too much stone in #1 and #3 is boring generic. But #2 is nice and the grounds look wonderful. Of course, I wouldn’t have any of them on a bet as I’m not cleaning all that.
I’m sorry ????THESE are you’re idea of castles ????? Come here to the U.K. & see the REAL ones lol. Admittedly not full of mod cons like a heated tub but then neither would you find one sitting on the corner block of the street????????.
The 3rd ‘castle’ & I use the word hesitantly looked more like something you’d find on an industrial estate. What was the matter with the surrounding grass? Was it a new build & the grass newly put down ?
But then I guess you’d never pick one up for the amount of money asked for one of theses 3 either.
Well done on getting the house for the kid & the terrorists. If all else fails it’s a good investment ????????
California Daydreamer says
Sigh. My 1200sqft bungalow in LA costs over $2M. Did I mention the lot is 2800sqft? At least the beach is open year round… much better than a pool.
Margaret K says
Local civic promoters: let’s get that company to move here. Think of all the jobs it will bring [subtext: for our locals]
Company [that employs skilled labor in highly-specific fields] moves to town. Company brings a lot of its existing employees with it. Few unemployed locals have the required labor skills. Company hires more employees from out-of-area [California, Massachusetts, New York City metro area, Washington, D.C. metro area, etc.]
Way too little local housing for additional population. First incomers desperate for housing offer a little more than current local prices. [They would prefer to pay less, of course, but they CAN afford at least a little more.] Prices go up. Locals priced out of market. Later incomers must pay more, so they do. Prices skyrocket.
Who is at fault? The people who campaigned for a situation likely to explode the population without considering whether that population explosion was likely and what the effect on local housing would be.
And yeah, if you invite a large number of voting-age adults from blue states to move to your red state, you are definitely going to see pressure for change. Maybe not successful pressure, but it will be there.
So funny the Terrorists! Any one who has German shepherds can lol at that.
I have 4 big dogs, one German Shepherd, three mixes all over 90 pounds, could do without that heavy duty vinyl floor. Glad the kid is settled.
Could not do without vinyl floors . Floor savers
Real Estate in NH is just as bad. People from Mass. are moving north to escape the pandemic. Prices are outrageous and you have to offer way over asking even to be considered. Glad you found something.
Don’t you just hate conspicuous consumption? Your true friends won’t care and everyone else will despise your trying to show you’re better than them.
My friend always says, when looking at those humungous kitchens, “Will the food taste any better?”
They just look incredibly lonely.
When looking for a house, have someone strap you down for four or five seasons on fast-forward of “House hunters” and you start to see the “bones” of a house
are just rectangles of varying sizes with appliances and fixtures and some trim.
I have to admit, not one of these appeal to me. I prefer a ranch style, one level, comfortable, not ostentatious. But that is me. To each their own.
Amanda Martin says
Honestly this makes me sad/frustrated? We live in Toronto, Canada. For this price, I could buy a bungalow in a not so great neighborhood. Sigh.
Maureen Gonzales says
I will never forget how kindly you kept everyone’s spirits up last year through the worst of the pandemic. You deserve kind comments!
Kira, Another Texan says
Drool, I love visiting Maine. Winter Harbor was our second stop after fleeing Bar Harbor. ???? Though, The Blue Hill peninsula stole my heart!
I still wonder, could I hack a Maine winter? Heck, I survived Snowmageddon 2021!
Off topic, I have really enjoyed many of your book recommendations. I have read some books I just would not have picked up on my own and broadened my horizons. I notice the last recommendation on “Books We Like” is from a year ago. Have you read anything good lately?
Also, some of the books I have quite enjoyed on your list are on Amazon Unlimited. I was wondering how authors get paid for their books on AU. You always give such good explaination of the publishing world I thought you might know something about that too.
Moderator R says
If you follow the Friends tag https://ilona-andrews.com/category/news/friends/ you will find a few more recent recommendations: Wicked All Night by Jeaniene Frost, Dragon Unbound by Grace Draven, Anton Strout (Simon Canderous and The Spellmason Chronicles), Jessie Mihalik and her Consortium Rebellion and Rogue Queen series. As usual, mileage may vary, samples go a long way and happy reading :D!
In terms of Kindle Unlimited, Ilona has written about it previously here https://ilona-andrews.com/2019/ku-availability/, including an explanation of KU earnings.
I hope this helps 🙂
Debi Majo says
I am freaking out about the Austin Area housing market. I started the process to build a home in Bastrop on January 7th. I have jumped thru all kinds of hoops, electric choices, design choices, extra costs and am looking at them breaking ground around April 1st. I am very grateful my mortgage is locked in place and grateful I started this process when I did because prices are rising all around me.
Oh come on, these are not real houses, these are just things I would build in the Sims… God, money is scary…
Lynn Thompson says
Thank you, Ilona Andrews, for the post. It’s not just German Shepherds that are hard on floors. My present “terrorist” is a Rhodesian Labrador . There is now a Titan escavation /canal across the front yard and he has started a another. Apparently he gave up on digging thru the Earth to the other side of the world because I kept filling in holes. ????
Great news about house. I hope it passes rest of inspections.
Congratulations on finding a house for Kid 2!
Also, I agree about castle #1 being the best. #3 is just plain ugly. It looks like an industrial complex. A high-end industrial complex, but still.
Why yes, that is what my 1800 sq ft California suburban ranch house on a main thoroughfare would cost today. Not heading to Texas, though—I like our weather, lack of bugs, and proximity to beach and mountains. ????
Sean Trobaugh says
I am a huge fan, and a Texas Realtor/Investor ( I buy homes, renovate them and rent them out). I also buy everything you put out. I lived in Katy right across I-10 from the giant field Arabella transformed in, and am always especially delighted by your HL novels since I know the areas so well.
The Texas real estate Market is one of the hottest in the country. Not just the Austin area, the whole state. Trying to buy in the Rio Grande valley has the same problems as El Paso, Texarkana and Beaumont. It is not just California, it is the large Real Estate Investment Trusts, international money from Europe and China, and all of the local investors as well. Tried to buy a home day one it was on the market, they had 22 cash offers in the first 30 hours it was for sale. Crazy.
Any of the $1m-$6m houses in the Houston Metroplex qualify at “Texas Castles” , some of them are amazing, an entirely different way of living than most people ever get to experience.
Those are pretty awesome homes! We live in a small home 3 bed 1 1/2 bath 1366 square feet and in our neighborhood the houses are going between $500,000 – 800,000 for no reason other than it is California. We joke about moving to Palm Springs, CA to retire, where you can still buy a decent home for a little less, but the summer heat can wear on you. I think I would prefer that than moving somewhere people hate you because of where you are from.
Sarah Richardson says
You are not alone in your ire at Californians driving up the prices of homes in your area. I live in a small city in the Pacific Northwest and our homes are currently selling for sometimes $100,000 over asking. It is crazy! I’m glad that you were able to get kid # 2 settled. Wahoo! Thanks for keeping me sane during the lockdown with all your amazing books.
*cries in Australian*
Definitely house No.1. Loved the kitchen and it was an interesting house. House #2 was okay, but house #3 was dreadful. Put me down as having no taste either. It’s blah, all the way through. And the kitchen did look like IKEA to me too.
I’m so saddened by the price of these houses!! In Canada (especially near where I live, Vancouver BC) houses that are from the 70’s, run down, broken and falling apart with no backyard are selling for $2.3 million.
We wanted to move to a bigger yard and have acreage for our 3 kids, and to buy a house with acreage in the area we want it’ll cost $1-3mil for 2 acres or less. And a shitty, run down house.
I just sold my House in Round Rock to move to Bryan. My kid is at Texas A&M and in the Band. We got $60,000 above asking. The house we bought in Bryan was so much less and on 1/2 Acre. We got way more for the money with moving which is why we left the Austin Area. I feel for you trying to but a house in this market. Kicker is we bought at the bottom of the market so we made a killng on this house. We are not sad to leave behind the tax burden.
K. Lawrence says
I grew up in rural western South Dakota & I built my modular home (1850 square feet) 18 years ago. I can agree with Californians moving in and driving up the prices. Just last month I got a call about selling my house & the 2 acres of land that it sits on. Told the caller to go away and remove me from whatever list he found me on.
I live on Maui. The prices for such huge houses makes me physically ill. And, yes, CA buyers wreak havoc on the housing market.
I should have been more clear: The low pricing for such huge homes is what is sickening. As you can imagine, it’s a little more pricy here.
To a Melbourne based Australian, those castles all seem very cheap, but at the same time, aesthetically vulgar, grandiose and inefficient to live in. Also, all hard surfaces so would become unbearably noisy for a cheerfully loud family like us. (There are plenty of big vulgar houses in Australia also!)
Congratulations on finally getting a house for Kid 2. It’s not just Californians ruining your real estate market. Lots of people in Hawaii are moving out too, because tourism is dead right now and $1.4 is the price of a tiny house in a CPR lot. We’re in the market for a house too, and despite having enough for a down payment, we get outbid by investors who pay cash for multi million dollar houses.
I look at the bathrooms and I think “What a LOT of wasted space.” Are they having a party in there, that they need enough room for a few dozen people to dance?”
Of course, I am from an off-the-farm family in the NorthEast, where heating a bathroom is always a consideration.
As someone who spent more than half a million on a tiny one bedroom apartment in Sydney, can I just say…screaming….
Kristan Paige Hall says
“I know this is a high end kitchen, but it looks like IKEA to me. I have no taste.”
No, I agree about IKEA. It’s soulless.