Ranch of the Week: This Country Oasis Sits Only 90 Miles Northeast of Dallas


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This gorgeous 14-acre country estate in Emory is anchored by a 4,575-square-foot house that includes four bedrooms, four full bathrooms, one half-bath, three living areas, and a gourmet kitchen with an island and granite countertops. The sun room overlooks a private, 12-acre lake with a boathouse and a ramp. The property also features a saltwater pool, a basketball court, a party barn, an equipment barn, cattle pens, and a fantastic water well. The listing agent is Brian Smith, a.k.a. the Country Connection.

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Brian Smith of the Country Connection Makes Connections in Another Country


Brian Smith and Leslie Rouda Smith
Brian Smith and Leslie Rouda Smith

The global community grew more united last month when the World Cup soccer tournament began in Brazil. But Brian Smith, a Realtor with Dave Perry-Miller & Associates, got a jump on the competition when he visited Argentina.

Smith, who was appointed a President’s Liaison to Argentina by the National Association of Realtors, spent June 3-7 in the capitol city of Buenos Aires, meeting with industry leaders from all 13 of the South American nation’s provinces.

“It went really well; very good rapport, very relaxed,” Smith said. “We invited them to our November NAR meeting in New Orleans to continue our relationship. And I got invited back to go fishing, so it was a success!”

Anyone who knows Smith will recognize the importance of that invitation. He bills himself as the Country Connection, because he specializes in selling ranches and other rural properties. Consequently, Smith was a little out of his element in Buenos Aires.

“It was all concrete and steel. It was killing me,” he said. “I just wanted to get over to Patagonia or Bariloche, but those are three-to-four-hour flights. It’d be like me wanting to go to California because I was going to meetings in Washington, D.C.”

Smith, a Certified International Property Specialist, said the real estate business is much different in Argentina. There’s nothing like the Multiple Listing Service there, so properties are primarily marketed via word of mouth. But the bigger culture shock is that there’s no financing; all purchases are made with cash.

“There are U.S. dollars in the mattresses down there,” Smith said with a laugh.

This was not Smith’s first international business trip of 2014. In May, he and his wife, Leslie Rouda Smith, were part of a 25-person delegation that visited Cuba. The idea, Brian said, was to build relationships in advance of the potential warming of relations between the United States and the Communist island.

“If they lift the embargo,” he said, “there’s a lot of real estate to be developed down there.”

Enjoy Wide, Open Spaces at These Beautiful Ranch Properties


The Dallas-Fort Worth area demonstrates a dichotomy between luxury homes and down-to-earth living. Perhaps no other home genre complements this complexity better than the luxury ranch. From Royse City to Saint Jo, Dave Perry-Miller & Associates presents some of the most beautifully pragmatic working ranches in the state.

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Destination: Italy

Located on a whopping 550 acres approximately 50 minutes south of Dallas in a city called Italy, this working cattle ranch is situated atop rolling hills of prairie grass. This limestone ranch home was built along Chambers Creek and Houston Creek and has anything a cowpoke could want: exercise room, game room, oversized covered porch with living area, and dual infinity pools with a water slide.

Saint Jo

Adventure in Saint Jo

This custom stone home in Saint Jo is situated on 400 acres overlooking the Red River Valley. The home features a gourmet kitchen, game room, master bedroom with walkout arbor, and pool with outdoor kitchen. Additional amenities include five-stall barn, equipment barn, and apartment for guests. The home is surrounded by a lake, ponds, and miles of hiking trails.

 Kaufman

A Little Bit Country in Kaufman

Majestic oak trees and a 10-acre lake surround this custom ranch home located in Kaufman. The house features a gourmet kitchen, open floor plan with 12-foot ceilings, covered porches, and energy-efficient variables. The property features a guest house, as well as two insulated barns and three pastures with loafing sheds.

 Celina 

Custom in Celina

This custom ranch is situated on a hilltop with 20-mile views of Celina. The property totals 22 acres, and the home features antique pine floors, gourmet kitchen, media room, game room, and a safe room. Also on site: a five-stall barn, animal pens, feed barn, and an upstairs two-bedroom apartment.

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 Rural Beauty in Royse City

Forty minutes east of downtown is Royse City, and it’s where you’ll find this equestrian estate. Located on 55-acres, the home was constructed with Austin stone, rustic timbers, metal roof, and western finishes. Amenities include antique pine and travertine floors, gourmet kitchen, and pool with cabana and grill.