Saturday Opens (4/23)

Posted by Dave Fratello on Saturday, April 23rd, 2011 at 5:07pm.

Sellers mostly stay out of the way when the Easter Bunny comes – there are few Sunday opens and even fewer debuts for the weekend.

In fact, west of the highway, only one new listing is open this week – a big Hill Section property with an interesting custom design. Besides our review of that property, we're reprising our writeups on several other listings that will open up Saturday.

To plan out your weekend tours, try this Redfin map list of open houses – you can sort by price or sub-region of MB by clicking the title on a column. Or click here for the more traditional Beach Reporter list of opens.

As always, click on any highlighted address for more pics & details via Redfin. If you tour, tell us what you see, what you like and what you don't like in the comments here.


Hill Section

907 9th (6br/5ba, 5625 sq. ft.) is our only debut this weekend, but an interesting home to grab the spotlight.

The very big, newer (2001) house is set along a downslope, which often leads to different layouts – but here the custom design is truly unique. You enter on a middle level with a formal living room off to one side. Down the bright hallway you find twin, curving staircases going up to each side, up to the bedrooms, while the hallway continues and becomes steps down to the main living spaces. The effect is a bit like walking into a heart-shaped tunnel.

Up front over the garage is a spacious office that draws lots of afternoon sun. Most of the other bedrooms are upstairs, including a voluptuous master suite (of course) with green treetop views. There's a little octagonal-shaped sitting room that might be a nice place to curl up with a novel.

The oversized kitchen/great room downstairs is well-appointed – as you'd expect – and opens out to a stone deck. You might think these 2 floors give you plenty of house, but don't miss the little stairwell by the kitchen (as we almost did), for that's the route to a third, lower floor with a huge family room, extra bed and bath plus a separate theater room. The whole lower level opens out to the sizable, lush yard. (The home's on a 7500 sq. ft. lot.)

At $3.579m to start, the 9th St. home is an intriguing alternative to lower-priced, but roughly similar 923 8th (5br/5ba, 4350 sq. ft.), which has a more conventional layout, better views but somewhat less square footage – that one's currently priced at $3.099m, or $712/PSF, while 9th is at $653/PSF with the much greater interior space.

907 9th starts at $3.579m and is open Sat. 1-4pm.

707 Anderson (5br/4ba, 3800 sq. ft.) is an extra-large custom Spanish home built in 1990. We mentioned it first a couple of weeks ago, when it debuted at $2.199m, but since then the price has been cut substantially to $1.949m (-$250k/-11%) and – as you may have noted – MBC has begun running an ad for the listing. (Click that ad to see a virtual tour.)

Of the home's 5br, there are 4 downstairs in this "upside-down" layout, including one of the 2 master suites. Almost everything feels bigger than expected, and you wouldn't be able to build this much square footage on a similarly sized lot due to changes in city building codes.

There's a big kitchen and living rooms upstairs, including a sunny, southern-exposed deck right off the living area. What you might view as the "main" master suite is tucked in back. A hydraulic lift (not quite an enclosed elevator) is tucked away by the master, hidden back by a large pantry off the kitchen.

The 4940-sq.-ft. lot is more akin to a Tree Section lot, and with the extra interior space, the smallish back yard – dominated by a lap pool – does feel more like Trees than Hills.

There's no getting around the fact that the home needs updates. It's livable as is, but buyers will probably want to make plans to redo the kitchen, baths, and perhaps flooring and other stylistic points here and there. A price near $500/PSF is surely meant to reflect that fact.

Now at $1.949m, 707 Anderson is open Sat. 2-4pm.

222 John (4br/4ba, 3850 sq. ft.) may be worth another look, as it's down $400k (-12%) from its start last year.

The home is a late-90s contemporary that doesn't hit you over the head with "modern" style, it's just a clean, crisp, non-nonsense home custom-built to the lot to maximize the home's main asset: those views from prestigious John Street.

The upside-down layout features those views from living spaces upstairs with floor-wide windows that fully feature the panorama of the Pacific.

The 4 bedrooms downstairs – including one that's now converted into an office – are set in a bit of a maze, but that's just to make sure the master gets the best views. As well the Mr. and Mrs. should.

222 John is now at $2.999m and is open Sat. 2-5pm.


Sand Section

225 16th (4br/4ba, 3975 sq. ft.) is an early-90s walkstreet home that's been freshened up a bit for show, but clearly demands a fuller update to bring it to the 21st century.

Marble tile, glass block, round metal pipe-railings inside and out, laminated kitchen cabinetry – there's work to do.

A clear reference point for 16th is comparably sized 132 20th (there's the second mention today), which closed this week for $3.3m.

This new listing launches a bit higher at $3.750m – exactly the start price on 20th about 9 months ago. One difference: The home at 16th offers a 1br/1ba rental unit in back.

225 16th starts at $3.750m and is open Sun. 2-5pm.


Tree Section

1908 Elm (4br/3ba, 3500 sq. ft.) is a mid-80s Tudor house that flopped on the market last year, but has gotten some recent updates to make it salable this year.

The layout and flow are pretty traditional – the sunken living room is an artifact of the home's time. The master is quite large, with the bath partly updated.

After an effort to sell last year pre-remodel, 1908 Elm restarted this year at $1.595m.

1908 Elm seems determined to get its market exposure – it's one of very few listings posting an Easter Sunday open house in addition to a Saturday viewing.

1908 Elm is open Sat. 1:30-4:30pm and Sun. 1-4:30pm.

2801 Pacific (3br/3ba, 2650 sq. ft.) has a quirky, woodsy, 70s vibe, and a determined architectural style that's hard to define. The listing now calls it "country style with contemporary features," replacing an older reference to Frank Lloyd Wright.

That turret-style front of the house holds a dramatic, 2-story living room/dining room combo. The unique, narrow slits of windows create an impression that the higher parts of the wall and ceiling are floating somehow. A 2nd-floor loft overlooks the space.

The kitchen is on the small side and somewhat dated. It overlooks a sunken, wood-paneled family room. Two smallish bedrooms are downstairs, while the master is upstairs.

The lot here, at 5600 sq. ft., is substantially bigger (about 25%) than a normal Tree Section lot.

The listing calls this one "priced to sell" with a start at $1.349m. It marks a month on market this weekend, but we do believe it will sell.

2801 Pacific is open Sat. 1-4pm.

726 Rosecrans (2br/2ba, 875 sq. ft.) has lingered quite a while now, launching first in late October and that's no huge surprise. It needs a lot of help.

With its start at $820k, MBC said, "it's supposed to be priced to account for all of its issues. They'll likely need to work down from there."

A recent cut to $774k may help, plus, we think the listing agent is trying to tell us all something when they add to the end of the listing "BRING ALL OFFERS. SELLERS EXTREMELY MOTIVATED."

Issues and concerns – start with the small lot (3700 sq. ft.). There are deeper lots along Rosecrans, just not here. The front yard is all the grass you get, but it's set up with a little play area that draws afternoon sun.

The main 2br home has some of the charm of a standard 50s cottage, with a small, makeshift great room, albeit with a post and partial walls breaking up the kitchen/living room space, and the fridge outside the main kitchen area. (A small third bedroom up front was removed to claim the space for the common area, creating the unusual space.)

The one bath in the main house is clean but small, and hardly up to date. Washer/dryer combo is actually outdoors, in a covered back patio area, along with a degraded wood deck in the back yard.

The garage was converted a long time ago to a one-room living space, of sorts, with another bath. (The listing, chaotically, describes the space as "[u]npermitted" and later suggests that buyers should "verify permits and square footage.")

726 Rosecrans is now at $774k and is open Sat. 11am-2pm.
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