A Chaotic Start to the Week

By Dave Fratello | September 22nd, 2015

An electrical transformer meltdown and fire in the Hill Section on Sunday night triggered "brownouts" and blackouts in many parts of Manhattan Beach that ran into the morning hours Monday. (Here's our pic of the melted asphalt and lawn where a transformer ceased to be, at 11th/Poinsettia.)

If you were affected (as was MBC HQ), then you know what a rude wake-up call the loss of power can be. No one sleeps or awakens at the right time, odd alarms go off, breakfast is a mess, electronics aren't charged, school bells and street signals are in chaos. And don't even get us started about life without internet.

It's a wonder we ever hold it together.

Somehow, the vibe of the local real estate market as the week kicked off was also weird.

Back to Market

621 19th Street Manhattan Beach CA621 19th (3br/3ba, 2325 sqft.) has been around a while. It is a custom-built (in the late 70s) modern/Spanish with updates in a pretty nice location looming over busy Ardmore.

The listing language waxes about the mystery of why 19th St. in Manhattan Beach is getting a lot of sales activity, speculating that it might be "divine intervention from the expansion of Grow at 19th and Sepulveda. Whatever it is, it is excellent, quite excellent." OK.

Some kind of "intervention" came to pass about 5 weeks into the listing, and they accepted an offer. But less than 10 days later, it came back to market on Monday.

Still asking $2.450M.

1750 1st (4br/3ba, 3130 sqft.) is a 1980s Tudor style home that got just about the most thorough refresher you can imagine without actually being remodeled – new paint, carpet and modernistic staging gave (gives?) the place an air of 21st-century-ness without really dialing back on its quirky 80s original-ness. As we said in a Summer open-house post:

"They've taken a 100% original 1980s house, with its odd Tudor style and blocky pondstones, and made it possible to imagine as fresh and ready to go."

The listing found a buyer in less than 2 weeks back in July, surprising us a bit. But the property lingered in "backup offer" status for almost 2 months after, accruing DOM all along the way. ("Backup" status is considered an "active" status, so the DOM clock keeps ticking.)

1750 1st is back asking $1.975M, as before.

Price Chops

85 Bayview Drive Manhattan Beach CAThey're going to sell 85 Bayview (3br/4ba, 2100 sqft.) one of these days, but at their own pace.

A remodeled, ocean-view townhome in a quiet spot in the South End... Why is it lingering now? It's at 105 DOM officially, but you could factor in a couple of weeks' more worth of time while the listing was "on hold."

Monday they made the second chop of $100K, bringing the TH down to $2.699M.

The way things have gone for townhomes the last couple of years, you wonder, what's the holdup?

Disclosure: Dave has toured the property with clients.

1751 Curtis Avenue Manhattan Beach CA1751 Curtis (5br/4ba, 3750 sqft.) is an 80s house that got a complete, head-to-toe remodel. (In that sense it's different from 1750 1st, referenced above.)

They replaced cabinets, redid kitchen and baths, and so on, making the whole house sparkle. Outside, it's recognizably what it is, but inside, it's 21st-century caliber.

The $2.550M start price had some support, but 5 weeks in, they've decide not to mess around.

It's at $2.399M. Looks like they'd like a deal before Halloween.

What does or doesn't happen here has some ramifications for other listings.

1431 18th Street Manhattan Beach CA1431 18th (5br/6ba, 5275 sqft.) now has its fourth price after taking its third cut.

Where the sellers once dreamed of $4M, they're now looking at something much closer to $3M. The latest cut puts this modern new construction at $3.199M, down $800K from the start.

The record for new construx in East MB was only set in June this year 1632 Voorhees (5br/5ba, 4500 sqft.) at $3.251M. So you might have foreseen that this was coming. But then again, this is a time in our 4-plus-year upcycle when more sellers seem to be reaching for the moon, then just taking their time before correcting. It wasn't just here.

Disclosure: Dave has toured the property with clients.

On or Off Market?

We'd love to know what's really going on with 468 36th Place (3br/4ba, 1900 sqft.). 

At one time, the same agent had two simultaneous listings for the property on the MLS, with different MLS numbers and prices. Odd.

More recently, the spare MLS listing canceled, and then so did the "main" MLS listing cancel, the one carrying the ID # 15919619PS.

But click that link above, dear reader. You'll see 468 36th Place active on the MLS. It's not just some quirk of our website here. It's real.

In our formal MLS system, we as agents can see the same thing: One "copy" of listing 15919619PS is canceled, while one is active.

There's a sign at the property, but it's not for sale, the agent assured us.

Looks like this one has fallen into a weird technical limbo.

Reminds us of another odd case from Monday. Another property (we can't reference it here on the blog) canceled off the MLS, but we had clients still interested. We kept chasing the agent for an update, with no contact back. Then the property popped up on Zillow, as if to say, "Yes, it's still for sale, but you can't have it."

Clients were getting tweaked. Is it for sale, or not?

Before we could get too upset, we solved the mystery: New agent taking over! Hence the no-callbacks and the new listing (albeit on Zillow). Ahhhhhh, OK.

Somehow related... a teeny Sand Section house (probable lot sale, 2370 sqft. plot) at 713 N. Valley has changed status from "pending" to "backup offer," which is often a sign that things suddenly look wobbly. No one roots for a deal to fail, but this $1.7M lot might become a new option for buyers if something is happening behind the scenes.

[UPDATE: Oddly, 713 N. Valley posted as SOLD just a couple days after our post here mentioned that unusual switch from "pending" to "backup." So much for reading tea leaves.]

Couldn't Sell; Gonna Sell?

Here's one last case from Monday where we can't reference the property specifically.

But we're tracking a listing that absorbed several months on market recently, with little more than a sniff from buyers.

Some time off, a little work to refresh, and voila!, multiple offers.

That reminded us of a truth – which we've learned more than once. This week's buyers often don't care what last month's or last year's buyers did, or didn't do.

This week's buyers want this week's houses. Save the history lesson for another day.

UPDATE: Another case of the duplicate-listing blues...

If you want to buy the newly re-listed modern Spanish at 541 4th, you have two choices: this first listing with a West LA agent, or this one with a local agent.

Same home, same price ($3.700M), awfully similar descriptions... different MLS #'s. Which to choose?

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