Weekend Opens (2/4-2/5)

Posted by Dave Fratello on Saturday, February 4th, 2012 at 3:11pm.

It's hard to say which is more important this weekend:
  • Yet another smashmouth conflict between Boston and New York;
  • The continuing bloom of MB real estate inventory; or
  • The realization that Matthew Broderick is 60 years old and kinda chubby.



Some things change, some things stay the same.

This just in: Mr. Broderick turns 50 next month. Pheeeww!

There's notably more inventory again this week, but it's a short weekend if you're going out. Most new listings are only open Saturday – they won't try to compete with Giants vs. Pats or your chip-and-dip fest on Sunday.

The highlight of the weekend would have been 1555 8th (5br/4ba, 3600 sq. ft.). It debuted early this week and struck us instantly as the best available home in MB under $2m (priced at $1.899m).

A lot of people agreed, and buyers swooped right in. The home's in escrow now and won't be open – despite what you will see in listings of open houses. Oh well, on to the next thing.

Also worth noting: The home we thought was a must-see last weekend, 116 Morningside Dr., is in escrow now.

There's something unusual about nearly every new Super Bowl weekend open house, underscoring how last week's crop may have really been the first legit opening volley of the Spring.

To plan your weekend tours, try this Redfin map list of open houses – 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 usual, we appreciate it when readers share views on this week's featured properties. Let us know what you like, don't like or must have.


Sand Section

3201 Bayview (3br/3ba, 1825 sq. ft.) offers great ocean views west of Highland, and not much else.

The home sports a 1981 build date, but it feels much older, and suffers both from deferred maintenance outside and from the complete removal of all flooring materials inside. We're going to guess it was a messy wreck, and this was the best way to present it – stripped.

The listing says it frankly: "If you are up for a project, this could be your dream come true." It could be.

The views are really special from this high point. Our tour Friday came amid blue skies, warm weather and the sounds of crashing waves – a sweet combination we try not to take for granted.

Views probably would not be impeded much when/if the neighbor in front builds up. An important factor in that (qualified) risk to the views: The land for both 3201 Bayview and the neighbor in front is jointly owned. Though the buildings are unalike, they are technically condos/THs together. That wrinkle may work in favor of 3201.

3201 Bayview is an estate sale. It launched at $1.750m but quickly corrected to $1.550m. They're claiming they'll look at any reasonable offer, and those views are going to be enough to draw some serious interest. (Bonus reading: Janie Nagy's weekend post has some additional detail and background on this home, including a 2006 scrap over landscaping, FWIW.)

3201 Bayview is open both Sat. & Sun. 2-4pm.

3207 Crest (3br/3ba, 1800 sq. ft.) is a spiffy, updated, different sort of TH with some ocean views and lots of (spiral) stairs. There's little or nothing at this price point ($1.229m) that compares. (See our MB Market Update spreadsheet page on Sand THs.)

As the middle unit of 3 in the building, this one doesn't give you much of an exterior to show off, but it's also shielded from the noise off Highland just below. The location is very walkable to MB's "second downtown" up north.


You enter onto the top floor, home to a cozy, ocean-view living room with a nice built-in wet bar and a little patio just off to the south side.

Descend the first round of spiral stairs to get to the classy, fully modern kitchen, with very high ceilings and lots of light. A second patio is just off the eating area.

This middle floor also hosts what is technically the third bedroom, opening with double doors to the kitchen. If you didn't need it as a bedroom, it would probably serve better as a family room.

Down more spiral stairs to the master and second/third bedroom (depends how you count the midfloor room). Both have attached baths, with the master much more updated. 

Just a few more spiral stairs down to the garage level – yes, that's 4 levels in all, one more than you'd usually get for the money. Is this a hassle? Well, do you want to know how many people live in the LA area without an ocean view? Or even how many live in MB with not so much as a peek? We compromise sometimes to get what we want.

3207 Crest was last purchased in May 2005 in much lesser condition for $1.2m. It starts now at $1.229m and is open Sat. 2-4pm.

417 20th Place (2br/3ba, 2150 sq. ft.) brings us back, just a week later, to a street where we'd never been before.

20th Place is a short cul-de-sac block that ends right above Dorsey Field at Live Oak Park, and is just up off of Highland, putting it notably close to downtown, park and beach.

Alas, this is an alley, and if there's an ocean peek to be had from the very top floor, it's not much. You have to be satisfied with sunsets. (Not such a bad feature.)

The 1981 TH definitely has a lot of original flavor. (They call it "retro contemporary" in the description; just remember 1981 was, in a way, the late 1970s.) But it's very clean, with bright wood flooring upstairs and tons of light. As layouts go, it's certainly more standard than the neighbor at 421 20th Pl. (2br/3ba, 1750 sq. ft.), which we reviewed last week, which is up at $1.199m.

417 20th Place starts lower for greater square footage, but with a greater need for updates to kitchen and baths. It's at $1.059m, and is open Sat. 2-4pm.

621 Valley (3br/2ba, 1035 sq. ft.) might quickly excite you if you just read "walkstreet" and $1.050m before looking further into matters. In fact it's much more a Valley house than a walkstreet house – high bushes shield the little patio from the walkstreet, oddly enough.

This is an adequate rental, perchance a mini-duplex, not very much improved from its mid-1950s original condition, but it's clean and has newer appliances. One of its unusual features is the 3rd bedroom/separate studio unit, which is alone on the first floor with its own entrance. Stairs to the main living spaces are outdoors.

This one was tired and crusty in May 2005 when it sold for $1.0m; it's somewhat better now. The owners tried for 6 months in 2009-10 to resell, asking as much as $1.199m and quitting at $1.099m.

621 Valley is open only this weekend, while it is between tenants. New ones are coming in very soon and will have a lease through September.

621 Valley starts at $1.050m and is open Sat. 1-4pm, Sun. 11am-5pm.


Tree Section

738 33rd (3br/2ba, 2050 sq. ft.) is a mid-century home for which almost all of those 60 years show. It's quirky and mostly very dated, save for the kitchen, which was remodeled some in recent years.

More to the point, it's a very unusual layout and offers little yard space, just a paved patio on the south side off of the fairly large living room. These factors make it somewhat harder to consider a revamping or updating of the current home.

Is it worth going to the effort to add on/remodel the existing home, running with the mid-century vibe but updating it? Or do you simplify, simplify and scrape the house and start over? There are probably better ways to maximize the 5025 sq. ft. lot. The flat corner lot is near one of the nice blocks of 33rd St.; that will have some appeal.

At $1.329m, this one is not priced as a lot sale yet. They want you to pay for a structure that needs almost everything redone and probably an addition. But we never bet completely against these older homes – there are folks with vision who can surprise you.

738 33rd is open Sat. 1-4pm.


East MB

If you were willing to cross Aviation just a little bit and buy in North Redondo, you could get a brand-new, 5br, 3200 sq. ft. Caliterranean for $1.250m. (That's 1915 Graham, by the way.)

But since you're reading MBC, you're probably not willing to cross that particular highway.

So by staying on this side of Aviation, by just a bit, you might consider 1741 Curtis (4br/3ba, 3300 sq. ft.), a very traditional, east-coast sort of home, which started at $1.495m on Monday and had an accepted offer by Wednesday. (They're still looking for "backup" offers and the home will be open, but only this Saturday.)

This is a 1990 custom build with a somewhat updated kitchen and a big, bright great room in back opening to a sizable yard. Lots of windows all over this home make the rooms notably bright; the great room nearly feels merged with the yard.

Upstairs, the master suite appears to take up almost half the space, without quite seeming extravagant. The other 3br are all good size, but, in a layout quirk, they share a bath several steps down the hallway near the master. One ancillary bedroom has a fireplace, for whatever reason. (Janie Nagy says the home "has a bit of a DIY feel.")

There's plenty of outdoor space, even with the driveway rolling to the back to meet the separate garage. Upstairs, they began a project to convert the area over the garage into a usable living space with its own bath, but the project seems to have been abandoned midstream, with some framing complete and a sink and toilet delivered up to the would-be bath. Can you finish that project?

Overall it's a big and charming home in a challenged location, waiting for updates here and there.

1741 Curtis started at $1.495m, drew a quick (accepted) offer, but will take backups. It's open Saturday only, 2-4pm.

Sometimes we say a home is in "original condition," and this might just be a casual way of saying it could use some updates. In the case of 1605 Harkness (3br/1ba, 1075 sq. ft.), "original" could not be more accurate. We doubt anything was upgraded or changed from 1950 till today. Call it a Liberty Village time capsule.

Now the home is fairly begging for someone to come in with a team, a plan and a budget to create a charming little cottage out of this raw material. Be sure to include a landscaping budget, as the back yard seems to have been halfway dug out by large dogs. Oh, and you might want to add a second bath, or more living space, by pushing back – whoa, now the dollars are piling up.

Take a cue from the next-door neighbors, who seem to be engaged in their own gut-and-expand project currently.

1605 Harkness starts at $759k, and is a probate sale without need for court confirmation. It is open Saturday 1-4pm.
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