Chops in the Dog Days

Posted by Dave Fratello on Wednesday, August 18th, 2010 at 4:03am.

Face it, August is not a hoppin' month for real estate.

But sellers still want to connect with the buyers that are out there. So one thing they do is chop. Even if these are the dog days, maybe, just maybe, a little glimmer on someone's radar will help pull a deal together.

You gotta try.

Here's a selection of recent chops west of the highway (click any pic to enlarge, or any highlighted address for more pics & details via Redfin):

1144 Elm (5b/5ba, 3300 sq. ft.) is back for yet another try. It debuted in Nov. 2007 as the Tree Section's first new-construction home in years priced below $2m. In April this year it was at $1.599m, took a break, and is now down to $1.499m.

The home's surprisingly nice, but the location is a punisher – very near MBB, not far from Sepulveda, abutting a commercial building. This combination hasn't worked for a buyer yet.


2104 John (5br/5ba, 3980 sq. ft.) is quite nice in a terrifically better location (it's John!) on a bigger-than-average lot (5700 sq. ft.).

The newer (2002) build is familiar if you know recent Tree Section homes, though each room is just a tad larger than expected. MBC previously said the home lacked the "wow factors" to go along with its $2.599m start price, however. It's now down to $2.499m.

2513 Elm (4br/4ba, 3150 sq. ft.) is a late-90s home with a safe Caliterranean look and feel. Inside, the split-level living space with a nice great room and medium-sized yard (for the Trees) has some recent updates, particularly the kitchen. All the bedrooms are upstairs, plus a loft/office area, a nice bonus.

2513 Elm sold in Aug. 2004 for $1.599m, and evidence mostly suggests we're still in 2004 prices in MB. The listing began in late June at $1.730m, with a recent chop to $1.699m.

A previous MBC post pointing to comparably sized, slightly newer 1605 Elm (4br/3ba, 3100 sq. ft.), which closed last month for $1.495m, has drawn some complaints. The argument is that 1605 lingered for 6+ months for some reasons: the home wasn't as nice, featuring a narrower lot that squeezed the living space. A complete analysis should consider those factors. Right now the gap between 1605 (sold) and 2513 (active) is a smidge more than $200k.

301 35th (4br/5ba, 3100 sq. ft.) is on Highland – let's put that out there first.

The early-90s Mediterranean home's big, with views, and steps to El Norte's restaurants. Good for city life with ocean atmosphere, no? It has now taken the sellers 3 months to chop $300k (-13%) from the excessive start price of $2.297m, but at $1.997m today, it's still well above the March 2005 acquisition price of $1.880m.

And here's one east of the highway worth a note:

1642 3rd (3br/2ba, 2300 sq. ft.) features a surprisingly nice 6600 sq. ft. lot, lots of flat back yard, both grassy and hardscape. Location's pretty decent as well.

Did you notice we hadn't yet mentioned much about the home? It's habitable, needing some rehab but, frankly, hard to remodel adequately. The home lacks a true master – one small bedroom up front with its own bath isn't very, er, masterly. A bonus room downstairs is sizable and opens to the yard, maybe not in the official square footage. The home was purchased for $1.290m in Jan. 2006, evidently with plans for a scrape and rebuild, but here it is short today at $950k.

That's a total of 5 recent choppers we're featuring here – let's see if any get to Labor Day with a deal in hand, or Halloween at worst.
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