The Rip or The Flip: Two Merriman Park Homes Offer Choices

Once a buyer has settled on an area, often there’s a problem that the right sort of home isn’t currently on the market. Not so on Wild Valley Drive in the Merriman Park neighborhood, tucked next to the White Rock greenbelt and a short distance to Keller’s Drive-In.

Both are three-bedroom homes. Number 7124 is a very livable fixer-upper while 7435 is a move-in ready flip. The flip is smaller and $104,000 more expensive and has an added half bathroom. The other offers 320 additional square feet and a pool. Both are on similarly-sized lots.

Merriman Park is full of 1950s ranch homes on generous lots with good setbacks and tree-lined streets. It’s handiness to White Rock Lake is a selling point, along with its proximity to Central Expressway. Younger buyers may like that it’s easy to bike to DART’s White Rock station.

7124 Wild Valley Drive

This is an eminently move-in ready home, but you’re probably going to want to do things to it. As I always say, buy the space you need and renovate. It’s far cheaper than buying too small and having to move or add-on. Besides, renovating once you’ve been in a home gives you a better idea of how the space works for you and what really needs to be done.

That said, 7124 Wild Valley is a three-bedroom, two-bath home with 2,252 square feet listed with Tod Franklin of DFWCityhomes for $375,000. The home was originally listed in 2016 for $430,000 before being relisted in June 2018 for $425,000. Its lot is just shy of a quarter-acre that maintains the treed feel of the neighborhood.  Layout-wise, the home is U-shaped with the bottom of the U being the front of the home with a front-to-back living and dining room. The left side houses the bedrooms while the right side contains the kitchen and oversized second living room.

I like the entry of the home. The front door isn’t immediately visible from the street which results in the door being at a right angle to the front of the home. The door opens into a large living and dining room facing the street. The left doorway leads to the kitchen and family room.

As I said, it’s a front-to-back room with a wall of glass leading out to the courtyard and pool beyond. The floors are original and refinished. The doorway leads to the bedroom wing of the home.

And what a family room it is. Measuring 20 feet by 20 feet, it’s the perfect gathering and entertaining space. Unlike so many oversized boulder fireplaces, the painted brick fireplace and mantle are well-suited for today’s family. The double sliders lead out to the pool.

What’s not seen in the Realtor’s photos is the kitchen. I assume there’s a reason. Best guess is that it’s not photogenic. Judging from the rest of the home, it’s either 1956-chic or a 1990’s limestone/Mediterranean mess. The good thing is its location between both living and dining areas. A smart renovation could open two walls and create a massive open area.

The master bedroom has this really cool window that leans outward and fills the space with light. Luckily it’s also recessed at the top making it perfect for a motorized shade. The resulting bench provides storage for winter blankets.

The master bath is why I suspect there’s a 1990s limestone/Mediterranean mess in the kitchen. Clearly this bathroom needs to be reworked instead of slapping limestone on the inefficient original design. On the upside, there’s a window across the good-sized room (seen in the mirror’s reflection).

The other bathroom is a 1956 original tarted up with stylistically questionable wallpaper. If you’re an original tile kind of buyer, here you go. Personally, I’d rearrange the whole thing for a better, less-cramped layout. With over 2,200 square feet, there’s a few feet to steal from another room.

The backyard has plenty of room for children and pets to play. Mature trees shield the home from the neighbors and give the yard an overall lush feeling.

As promised, there’s a large pool off the family room that the trees do a good job of shading (and keeping the water a few degrees cooler in summer). The shed in the distance is yours too.

All in all, I’d remove the front lawn driveway, renovate and open the kitchen, reconfigure and renovate the bathrooms and perhaps add a half bath for guests. Sure, that’s a lot of heavy lifting, but as you’ve seen, it doesn’t all have to be done day one.

But I realize not all of you are renovation-oriented. For you there’s 7435 Wild Valley Drive.

7435 Wild Valley Drive

Situated on a quarter-acre corner lot, 7435 Wild Valley has three bedrooms with two full and one half bathroom encompassing 1,932 square feet. It’s being marketed by Andrea Pittman with Modtown Realty for $479,000. The home is a flip after selling in October 2017, it’s been on the market since June.

Entering the home unveils its open concept. From front door to back kitchen and street to back-yard, this house delivers a large entertaining and living space. Natural (original) wood flooring adds to the brightness.

Looking back towards the front door in the distance shows you how open and light-filled this space is. The large kitchen island is comprised on dark shaker-style cabinets and a farmhouse sink.

The remainder of the kitchen cabinets are white to make the space feel more open. A pair of windows flank the range and offer more light. The left doorway leads to a laundry-mud room.

I won’t bore you with pictures of the unstaged bedrooms, suffice it to say they’re wood-floored with good window space. The master bath is another bright space. While I’d prefer a walk-in shower, I know there are women and families in the world who like a bath.

The half-bath added by the flipper is a nice addition to a home so poised for a group of friends to come over and hang out. I might have taken the paint a shade darker, it’s a minor quibble.

The back of the home has a large concrete patio ready for an outdoor kitchen. With so many trees, it fairly cries out for a party.

Decisions, decisions …

Two homes, blocks apart. One renovated, one not. One with a pool, the other with an extra half bath. One with a giant second living room and pool, the other not. The question is, are the pool, 320 extra square feet coupled with the renovation pain “worth” the $104,000 lower asking price?

For me, yes. But I know most people would rather do just about anything besides renovate a home. For them, the flip is the easy choice.

Remember:  High-rises, HOAs and renovation are my beat. But I also appreciate modern and historical architecture balanced against the YIMBY movement. In 2016, 2017 and 2018, the National Association of Real Estate Editors recognized my writing with three Bronze (2016, 2017, 2018) and two Silver (2016, 2017) awards.  Have a story to tell or a marriage proposal to make?  Shoot me an email sharewithjon@candysdirt.com. Be sure to look for me on Facebook and Twitter. You won’t find me, but you’re welcome to look.