Help This Poor Agent: Why Won’t This House on Shook Avenue Sell?

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Front ViewHelp us shake it up on Shook. I cannot think of a nicer street than Shook Road, just north-ish of Gaston in White Rock. The houses on the south side of the street have what I call “Austin topography” — cool terrains that stair-step up to the house. (Cannot see it in photo.) It’s such a refreshing change from the usual prairie-flat ranch look that pervades most of Dallas area housing, I would think these houses would be flying off the shelves.

And in most cases, they are.

On this street, at 7128 Shook, is a Barnett West constructed home (2004) that simply will not sell. I have a few ideas why myself, but want to know what y’all think. The agent, Kay McFarlane with Jerry A. Allegro & Associates, has lowered the price to $895,000.

Buyers have said they don’t like the topography of the front yard, because “kids cannot play there.” Got news for you: half the time, kids don’t play in the front yard. The driveway is nice and broad for bikes, however.

The home is about ten years old, a Craftsmen prairie-style with a nice front porch of brick, cedar pillars and tongue in groove wood beadboard ceiling. Impeccable condition, almost brand new. And pretty loaded: there are hardwoods, beamed ceilings, beaded paneling, sunken dining room (WTF?) and nice appliances (Sub Zero etc. etc.) wet bar, media room, wine fridge. Lots of custom trim moldings.

Walk into the house and you have the foyer. To the immediate right is a study that I would/could use as the formal living room. This room has bookcases built in but as designer Sherry Hayslip says, every room needs a few books, some more than others. It also has a wine fridge, a good-sized one. Why they opted to have the wine in the study or what I would use as a living room is a bit baffling, but not terrible. I mean worse case scenario: rip it out! Take it to the bar in the family room!

Straight ahead is the family room, flanked by a really nice, granite-y kitchen. Oh yes, squeezed in-between the living room (or study) is a step-down dining room, with a small Butler’s pantry linking it to the kitchen. I don’t get that, because when you are walking with a plate of food and have to step down, well, you know what might happen. It’s only one step. Solution: just have someone serve the food.

Very nice covered back porch, and I just went ga ga over the back yard. Not only is there room for a pool or spa, but that topography that continues to elevate renders this a very private space.

But the shocker is what is to be found on the left of the front hallway, essentially the left wing of the first floor of this 3468 square foot house!

Front view Welcome!What is it? It’s a room with an elevator. Yes, to put an elevator in this house, these folks gobbled a room — a study or something, and added a whole elevator right to the second floor. Which is wonderful to have of course, but it basically stole a room from the house. Oh there is some space, enough to slip in a desk and file cabinet. Current owner used it as a meditation room. Which is a great idea, since there is a bathroom nearby. FULL bath, as I recall.

The bedrooms are all upstairs in this house, including the master, which is hefty and has a great master bath with jacuzzi tub. Then there is a bonus game/media room above the garage, no bathroom, but a closet and the “main” bath is a quick jog down the hall.

There is a term I have not used in a long time, “main bath”. Why? That’s because most homes nowadays north of $500,000 all have en suite baths, or at the very least, Jack and Jill. As does this home. There are three bedrooms total, and three full baths — including the one downstairs next to the elevator/meditation room. So the media/bonus room is the only one that does not have in-room access to a bath.

So I wonder if that is what has been hindering the sale of this home? Or is it the fact that the media/bonus room has no en suite bath or powder? I think one can be added quite easily. The room is a whopping size, I’m going to guess about 20 by 19 since it is over the garage, which has a finished floor by the way. But how hard is it to get your butt up from the TV and walk down the hall?

Also upstairs, at the end of the hall, is a built-in communal study desk/corrall. The laundry room is upstairs and has full floor protection from overflows. I know that upstairs laundries are big in the Park Cities, are they big in White Rock/Lakewood as well?

Anyhow, I think this is a house with potential. The seller is ready to move on, the agent has lowered the price from –Holy Cow — $1,199,000. ‘Course 117 days on market is not horrible, but I see this house as a good example of how, even when you build, don’t get too specialized? (That sunken dining room is a head scratcher.) That elevator could come out (stay tuned) or I honestly don’t mind that as much as I do the sunken dining room. Maybe we make the dining room the formal living? I don’t know need some help here, dear readers! This house has some amazing bones and content, it just needs — je ne sais quoi — HELP!

Foyer Foyer with View of the Living Formal Living Room Family Room with View of the Walk-In Wet Bar Gourmet Kitchen Breakfast Nook with View of the Kitchen Formal DiningFormal Dining Upstairs Gallery with Computer Station Upstairs Gallery with Computer Station Owner's Retreat Owner's Bathroom Covered Brick Patio View of the backyard Covered Brick Patio


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Candy Evans

A real estate muckraker, Candy Evans is one of the nation’s leading real estate reporters. She is also the North Texas real estate editor for, CultureMap Dallas, Modern Luxury Dallas, & the Katy Trail Weekly. Candy has written for Joel Kotkin’s The New Geography, Inman Real Estate News, plus a host of national sites. Constantly breaking celebrity real estate news, she scooped former president George W. Bush's Dallas home in 2008. She is the founder and publisher of her signature, and, devoted to the vacation home market. Her verticals have won many awards, including Best Blog by the venerable National Association of Real Estate Editors, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious journalism associations. Candy holds an active Texas real estate license but does not sell. She is on the Board of Directors of Braemar Hotels & Resorts (BHR).

Reader Interactions


  1. Scott Carlson says

    Candy… This shook property is wonderful but when I toured it the home was vacant and showed rough. I remember when this house was built. One of the first new constructions in Lakewood. It’s over priced and the elevator really did screw up the floor plan… In my professional opinion they need to loose the elevator fix the floor plan… Refresh the carpet and paint and reposition the price!!! Great property located high on a hill by White Rock Lake. I will try my best to sell.

  2. Lydia says

    1. It’s over priced. They’re asking $258 a square foot which is more than any similar home in the area has sold for in the past 6 months. It doesn’t matter where they started with the price – it’s still over priced.
    2. The elevator takes up too much of that valuable square footage.
    3. The style is very taste specific. A unique style is harder to sell and takes longer.
    4. We’re now in the slower fall season when we have fewer potential buyers. They missed the busy spring and summer market by sitting at that high price.
    All that said – properties are still selling well and the market is still strong. Everything will sell at the right price.

  3. Liz Kozlow Marcum says

    Mrs. Evans,

    My husband and I are actively looking in Austin, so here are a few thoughts from my point of view:

    1. The yard is just too small in the back. I don’t see any families buying it with such a small yard, since it’s so limited in what they can do, how kids can play, etc. It might be a better home for older kids, adults whose kids have grown, etc.

    2. It seems very busy. I have told myself not to look at the current owner’s furnishings, etc. when I’m looking at houses, but it’s really hard not to. I would recommend that they take out all of the extra design/aesthetic/artwork, etc., and just keep it simple.

    3. I would recommend that they put a little money in the fireplace. A great fireplace has really really swayed me while we are looking for houses (especially when it’s really cold in Dallas or Austin, and not many people are looking right now). This one seems kind of blah. I would make it look a little more luxurious, maybe some white marble like the kitchen (which I think is incredible), and take down that TV from the top. It makes it look much cheaper.

    Just my two cents 🙂

  4. Bill says

    The biggest turn off to me is the intense grain of the wood; my first thought was “cheap.” From the door to the built-ins, even the partial paneling — it reminds me of the builder-grade cabinets I’d find in a kitchen of some tract home in Garland circa 1993.
    A friend – a realtor – was in a similar situation with a home here in OKC that wouldn’t sell. He sent invites to other realtors with whom he was friends, as well as those of us who live in the neighborhood, to come to an invite-only open house. There was a brief questionnaire that each person would fill out after touring the home. The result was a reduction in price and a sale within a week.

  5. Sarah says

    I, too, have toured this home and feel as though it simply needs to be refreshed. Nothing drastic, just brightened up a bit. First off, I think there are some very beautiful features to this home! Obviously the location is fantastic, I think the floors are beautiful and extremely appropriate to prairie style architecture. The appliances are great, and the ceilings in the master bedroom and dining room are gorgeous!

    There are a few quirks as you mentioned – the massive wine fridge in the study could be easily removed, sold on PCOYS and a small alcove for a computer and chair could be built. I agree that the beadboard on every cabinet facade is just too literal and too much. We just remodeled a home with an elevator and had it removed simply because I felt like it wasn’t a safe feature to have in a family home. We had plenty of sq ftg to work with and it was more of a safety concern for me.

    I also feel like the tile throughout dates the entire home. We have had a very quick and extreme transition in the past ten years from the old world/Tuscan style to a very clean, simple and bright aesthetic so the stone look to the tile and even the dark granite weighs it down. There is a lack of color in the furnishings and decor that if lightened would really make the entire house look different and happy! A poppy colored pillow here, some beautiful yellow tulips there, small things make a huge difference.

    I actually like the back yard and the different levels. It makes the home and lot seem a little less tract home as a previous commenter mentioned. I think that adding a contrasting color on the front, either to the siding or the brick molding would give the house a little more depth and for the love of callaways, plant some flowers in the front for color!

  6. Jmac says

    The current price on this home makes sense to me. The home is lovely. It may not be for everyone but certainly that is true for any home. I even like the step down to the dining room. Its not sunken in the sense of a 70s style family room, which was what I would have expected from the written summary. The elevator probably needs to come out, but expect the right buyer will show up soon.

  7. Karen Eubank says

    Great input here. It is a very expensive home but regardless the fact it is dated is the biggest issue. Paint will go a long way in helping here. People are resistant to painting woodwork and I guarantee you nothing updates a house faster than painting old woodwork. Works every time : )
    Without seeing the house in person here’s what I’d suggest just from the photos online.
    1. Get rid of the bushes in front, they look the worse for wear and it will open up the yard and make it appear larger. Replant smaller foundation size greenery.
    2. Restain the fence, that big stain at the bottom is awful.
    3. I’d seriously consider painting a great deal of the woodwork. This sort of stained wood looks cheap and it’s really out of style. Paint will do wonders. Especially WHITE paint!
    4. The wine fridge has to go. It eats up way to much space and very few people want that. They expect a TV in that space. That room in particular screams out for paint.
    5. Remove the screen and the armoire that are flanking the fireplace. The fireplace is the focal point. Take all the knick knacks off it and make sure the interior is clean and has fresh black fireproof paint. It’s hare to tell from the photos but looks like that chair in front of the kitchen could well be blocking a great deal of walk space.
    6. Use a smaller darker wood table in the kitchen breakfast area, preferably round. Get rid of the rug.
    7. Formal dining. This looks cramped from the photos. Store the corner cupboard, put in some updated art. Change the light fixture to a drum shade. Seriously consider rental furniture to update this room. If that is a photo of the family I spy in the hall , it needs to be packed.
    8. Upstairs, get rid of the rug, it’s all I look at and it’ s not for sale : )
    9.Ok NEVER put a rug over wall to wall carpet, especially when you sell . AND NEVER put it half way under the dang bed. EVER. Rugs go completely under the bed, completely and have to be large enough to show on both sides and at the end. Get rid of the bench at the end of the bed. Put artwork over the headboard.. Updated ceiling light fixture would help. Take out the chairs in front of the windows.
    10. Master. Get rid of the 1980s Ralph Lauren towel. We all know how old they are because we all had them. Add white towels when selling, always.
    11. Guest bed. NO recliners, ever. Take it out, store it, store the table by it. Get the skull photo off the wall, YIKES.
    Take the throw off he bed, take the turtle off the wall.
    12. Guest Bedroom 2 Remove the bench at the end of the bed. Remove the clock. Remove all the bookcases and chair. If the bed can move to that wall of empty bookcases, do it so you don’t block the windows.
    13. Garage door needs to be painted and paint the front door to match trim.
    14. I can’t tell anything about the carpet but if those that have seen it say it needs replacing , again best bang for the buck is always paint and carpet and REMOVING stuff ! Good luck!

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