Texas Ranch Style Homes

Ranch Style Homes in Texas

Updated house numbers on a ranch style home in Austin TX
Updated house numbers (common on ranch style homes in Austin TX)

Ranch homes were popular in central Texas in the post-war era of the 1950s and 1960s. Thousands were built in Austin, Texas and the surrounding communities.

Many of them are in neighborhoods where the ownership doesn’t change hands very frequently, and many are a re-modelers dream when they come on the market.

These neighborhoods usually have something that is in high demand – big trees. In particular, as you look though the images in the galleries in this article, look at the glorious tree cover.

Characteristics of Ranch Style Homes in Texas

Some ranch style homes in central Texas have siding, but many have Texas limestone or brick (red, white, fewer grey) on the exterior. Most have composition roofs (like the one in the photo to the right), but some have seamed-metal roofs (usually silver, but the occasional green one pops up). Some, but not many, have concrete barrel-tile roofs.

Many still have the original aluminum-framed windows which are poor insulators against the blazing Texas sun.

Most are single-story ranch homes – the quintessential ranch – but the 1970s brought some two-level ranches in the split-level style to the area. These are uncommon, but more likely to be found in hilly neighborhoods (Northwest Hills, Westover Hills, University Hills for example). Two-level ranches are often built on sloped lots and it isn’t always obvious from the street that a house has more than one level.

Many ranch style homes in Austin have vaulted ceilings with exposed beams. Many also have Texas limestone fireplaces.

Texas limestone fireplace and an exposed-beam, vaulted ceiling in a 1980s northwest Austin ranch style home.
Texas limestone fireplace and an exposed-beam, vaulted ceiling in a 1980s northwest Austin ranch style home.

One interesting trend we’ve noticed over the last few years is that when homes in Austin are remodeled, they often get a brightly-colored front door (which will soon be another article!), and new numbers. The numbers are of a few particular styles – see if you can pick them out in some of the images of ranch-style homes on this page.

Remodeled Texas Ranch Style Homes

When these old ranch homes are remodeled, anything goes. The typical finishes are often particular to a neighborhood. Many homes are updated with decidedly modern finishes and/or with soothing tones and textures – think spa – and natural materials like slate, travertine and wood.

Modern house numbers on a ranch style home in Austin, TX.
Modern house numbers on a ranch style home in Austin, TX. And, yes, that blue front door!

Occasionally, a ranch style home that has been remodeled perhaps in the 1970s or 1980s might look a bit like this one in Allandale. I pulled over, got out and waited for the traffic to clear just to take this one photo. It takes a lot to make me get out of the car when photographing houses, but the deep turquoise/teal of this one is uncommon for the area – and interesting. The vintage car sealed the deal.

A turquoise/teal ranch style home in Allandale in NW Austin (78757)
A turquoise/teal ranch style home in Allandale in NW Austin (78757)

 Examples of Ranch Style Homes in Austin

I spend a lot of time telling people how much I like their home’s ranch style when I stop to take a photo. Most people are a little confused when they see the big camera pointed at their home, but most break out in a grin when I tell them it’s because their house is “really cool”. Because, these are.  Seriously. Every single one.

Where to Find Ranch Style Homes in Austin

Allandale is a perennial favorite for folks who like to live in NW Austin and favor older homes. For the 12 months ending August 19th, 2014, homes in Allandale sold for a median of $455,000. And that price doesn’t necessarily get you a remodeled ranch style home.

Another area with many 1960’s era ranch-style homes is over off of 51st and Springdale, particularly in the southeast corner of that neighborhood (centered on Gladstone Dr.):

While much of the area north of 51st, and south of 290 has ranch style homes, one particular pocket (centered on Sunny Brook Dr, north of Bartholomew District Park) has quite a few larger ones (larger for this area):

More Photos of Ranch Style Homes in Austin

I dug through over 23,000 photos from my archives to pull out a few more examples of ranch-style homes. I get a kick out of remembering where a photo was taken as many were collected before GPS tagging (geotagging) was as common as is it today.

Oh, and a longhorn. This is Texas, after all.

Texas longhorn.
Texas longhorn.

Wooten: Central Austin Real Estate

Wooten: Central Austin Older Homes

A surprising number of homes have sold in the Wooten neighborhood in Central Austin in the last 12 months, despite the area being fairly small:

Wooten neighborhood in Central Austin
Wooten neighborhood in Central Austin

Wooten Real Estate Sales Data

For the 12 months ending 8/16/14, within the area bounded by Anderson Lane on the south, Burnet Rd on the west and 183 on the north and south:

  • 56 houses sold
  • Median closed price was $274,950 (range: $132,500 to $400,000)
  • None were REOs (bank owned)
  • 12 sold for cash
  • The median size was 1,500 square feet (range: 743 to 2,741 square feet)
  • The median age was 52 years old (range: 0 to 69 years)
Wooten Austin house
A typical house in Wooten in Central Austin (small, with carport).

You can see from that data that homes here are older, and smaller than the typical newer subdivision home in the suburbs. Many are one-owner homes, and not updated when they come on the market. Many still have the original 1950s pink and blue bathroom tile. Many of the smaller homes (concentrated east of the tracks) have just one little bathroom.

The entire perimeter of Wooten has commercial property, and railroad tracks run down the middle of the neighborhood. The southern edge has large school grounds by Wooten Park.  Occasionally small old houses sell, are torn down, and replaced by bigger contemporary homes. This is not yet common though, and certainly not as common as tear-down-build-big in east Austin.

Wooten Austin House
Typical small house in Wooten, in Central Austin, Texas.

Location Appeal of Wooten

This little triangle has excellent proximity to all sorts of goodies.  The southern edge is Anderson Lane, well known for restaurants in Central Austin.  Some of our favorites:

  • Hopdoddy – burgers made from as much locally-sourced meat and produce as possible. Always packed, always delish.
  • Cover 3 – upscale sports bar with great leather booths, great booze and dinner-date quality food. Our favorite is the nachos made with spicy jack cheese and shredded beef.
  • Zen - japanese food fast. Zen offers sushi and tacos (!) as well as an awesome menu of rice+meat+veggie+sauce bowls.

Wooten also has great access to both 183 and Mopac/Loop 1, plus dozens of furniture, decor and tile stores.

Wooten in Central Austin – House Images

In my spare time, I drive around and take pictures of houses that interest me.  Here are a few from Wooten:

Google Map of Wooten

For your exploring pleasure:

 

Lockhart Texas – Houses with Character

Updated August 17th, 2014

A front stoop with character in Lockhart, Texas.
A front stoop with character in Lockhart, Texas.

Lockhart Texas – Houses with Character

We first wrote about Lockhart Texas back in 2011, as part of our “shooting the town” series.

A few weeks later, we wrote about Black’s BBQ. Oh my, that is some tasty tasty meat.

We still go down at least once a month for fun, or more specifically, for the barbecue.

We also head down regularly to perform real estate appraisals – to determine the value of property in Lockhart.

Now we’re going to share some Lockhart Texas houses real estate sales data, plus some photos of houses around town.

Yeah, we look at houses all day long but still go take photos of more in our space time. It’s … relaxing.

Lockhart Texas Real Estate Sales Activity

  • In the 12 months ending 8/16/2014, 116 homes sold in Lockhart, Texas
  • The median closed price was $120,500 (range: $20,000 to $730,000)
  • 38 sold for cash
  • 15 were REOs (bank repossessions)
  • The median age was 31 years (range: 2 to 134 years old)
  • The median size was 1,520 square feet

Lockhart Real Estate Sales Comparison: 2013 to 2014

  • Compared to 1 year prior (8/17/2012 to 8/16/2013) for 106 sales:
  • The median price was $123,000 (range: $16,000 to $299,000)
  • 12 were REOs (bank-owned)
  • 40 sold for cash
  • The median age was 33 years old (range:  2 to 143 years old)
  • Median size was 1,665 square feet (range: 280 to 3,992 square feet)

Lockhart Texas – Images of Houses with Character

Here are some photo we took of houses in Lockhart. These are not the ones that sold (perhaps some are/were) – these are houses we saw and thought were interesting, and wanted to share.

Google Map for Lockhart, Texas

Texas Drought – Images from Camp Pedernales

The Texas Drought Continues

A dry boat dock at Camp Pedernales in Spicewood, Texas
A dry boat dock at Camp Pedernales in Spicewood, Texas

These images were taken at Camp Pedernales on Old Ferry Road in Spicewood, Texas in February of 2013 and January of 2014.

We decided to try out Google’s beta tour builder, which permitted images to be loaded next to an interactive map of the area. The map has historical imagery – photos from years before the drought. Totally worth the time to wait for the player to load:

Take a tour with Google Earth.

These stark images show what the on-going drought in Texas has done to this once-vibrant river, a popular place for boaters to launch.

Texas Drought Map August 12th 2014

The most recent map of Texas from the US Drought Monitor shows the current drought intensity by Texas county:

Texas drought as of August 12th, 2014.
Texas drought as of August 12th, 2014.

So, let’s look at the data in that chart a little more closely:

Texas Drought chart from August 2014
Texas Drought chart from August 2014

82.74% of the state is considered to be “Abnormally Dry”, which is terrible. Fortunately, it is an improvement over three months ago when 91.18% of the state had that rating. The best news in the chart is the drop in area that is in “Exceptional Drought”. That area dropped from 20.73% of the state three months ago to just 2.62% as of August 12th, 2014. It is also an improvement over 1 year ago when 3.84% of the state was experiencing “Exceptional Drought”.

Images of the Dry Pedernales River

If you’re unable to load the tour of Camp Pedernales above, here are the photos of the area:

And here is the area on Google Maps:

Austin Small Houses – Part 1

Interested in Small Houses in Austin?

This is the summer where small houses, and  itty bitty houses – ranging from microhouses, to tiny houses to just merely small houses are all the rage on the Internets.

The tiny house movement has been picking up steam for years. Just recently two tiny house builders’ tiny houses have been shared so many times, it is almost impossible not to run across the articles:

  • MiniMotives – a woman loses her regular home to foreclosure, then builds a tiny home from salvaged parts
  • hOMe – a couple with two children lives in a 207 sf (plus 110 sf loft) tiny house

Fascinated yet?

Well, we sure are.

We’d love to live in a tiny house one day, but for now we’re just going to write about them, starting with merely small houses in Austin and working our way towards tiny.

Small house in east Austin - look at the gorgeous blue!
Small house in east Austin – look at the gorgeous blue!

Where are the Small Houses in Austin?

To answer that question, we turned to the local MLS to look at sales data.  In the past 12 months (so, between 8/14/2013 and 8/13/2014), 112 houses smaller than 800 square feet have sold.  Here is a map of where they were located:

Austin houses under 800 square feet
Austin houses under 800 square feet
  •  The median price for these small houses was $201,500 (range: $59,000 to $540,000).
  • The median size was 720 square feet.
  • The smallest house was a mere 336 sf and sold for $59,000.
  • The most expensive house was 779 square feet (and sold for $540,000) in Bouldin (a very hip, urban area of Austin).
  • The median age of these 112 small Austin houses was 64 years old.
  • You can see from the map that most are clustered east of I-35, east of downtown.
Small house in east Austin, Texas
Small house in east Austin, Texas with a yellow front door

Photographing Small Houses in Austin

Well, clearly it was time to drag out the camera and go take some photos. But where to start?  How about in this neighborhood, south of E 7th Street:

Small houses in Austin east of downtown
Small houses in Austin east of downtown
  • The median price of these 18 homes was $281,325 (range: $160,000 to $340,000).
  • The median size was 720 square feet.
  • The median age was 75 years old.
  • Most sold in average-to-poor condition and half sold for cash.
Small house with a bright blue front door in east Austin, TX
Small house with a bright blue front door in east Austin, TX

I wish I could share which house sold for what, but I can’t – that data is confidential.

I set out to photograph those 18 houses, and soon ran into a snag – the streets in this area are narrow and tend to have cars parked on both sides. Several streets had road construction crews tearing up the asphalt and quite a few houses were undergoing serious rehabilitation, which means dumpsters and lots of work trucks parked out front.

So, I gave up shooting the 18 small houses in this area that sold this year and instead took photos of a whole bunch of little ones – ones that looked to be 800 sf and under, to share here.