Big Cuts Sell Hard-to-Figure Properties

By Dave Fratello | March 29th, 2019

There are regular homes, and there are unique ones.

There's the mainstream, and then the mavericks.

Kinda easy, and kinda challenging.

You can price a home that's pretty much like a bunch of others within a reasonable range. You can come to market with confidence that it should sell close to that range, if you're careful.

But it's those maverick, unique and even challenging properties that are the hardest to price. They require the market to work its magic.

We'll look at three recently closed sales as examples.

544 1st Street Manhattan Beach CA544 1st (3br/3ba, 1600 sqft.) is something of a landmark home.

If you've ever been at the interesection of 1st/Valley - and we're betting you have been, lots - then you know the corner-lot cottage.

Its unique, nautically inspired woodwork outside is a signature, custom feature, one beaming with pride of ownership.

Even more rare is its ~5400 sqft. corner lot. That's about twice the size of a typical 2700 sqft. Sand Section lot.

Someone could love this home, or view the lot as the attraction, aiming to build something huge and new.

There was a recent land sale just down the block at 504 1st, also a ~5400 sqft. lot, which closed for $2.750M in March 2018. That's now a construction site for a ginormous new home right at the entryway to the Robinson elementary playing fields.

544 1st came out in Nov. 2018 at $2.999M, $250K higher.

It has now closed for $2.500M, or $499K and 17% less than asking price.

Was the initial price radically wrong?

It was hard to figure. A pretty little cottage with all that land... at the outset, it seemed clear that the property belonged in a wide range from perhaps the mid 2's up to $3.0M. So they began at the top, and sold at the other end. It happens.

216 2nd Street Manhattan Beach CA216 2nd (4br/4ba, 2750 sqft.) is a custom-built, '07 modern on a walkstreet corner.

The ocean views are mostly very good, and the sound of the waves is prominent in the living spaces. (Although prominent power lines can be distracting in the view.)

The home's not as large as a full-lot home because of its 1750 sqft. lot size - neither half nor full. A 'tweener.

The style is a warm modern, not for everyone.

So what would happen on the market?

It ran 6 months last year from $5.795M down to $5.495M. No deal.

With a new agent in November, it began at $4.688M.

Closed sale this week: $4.400M, almost $300K off the latest start price, but nearly $1.400M off the April 2018 price.

Based on its pluses, the home might have been a $5M+ house. With its mitigating factors, it was a mid-4's house. It took the market to make that clear.

317 17th Street Manhattan Beach CALast, we look at a completely unique Vegas compound of a house.

If there's just one Manhattan Beach walkstreet home that can be seen from space, it's probably 317 17th.

This ultracustom, giant, 6br/10ba, 11,900 sqft. home sprawls over 3 lots. (One is just a garden.)

There's too much going on at the home to summarize, but it's palatial in ambition and execution.

There's not just a pool; there's a pool with a see-through wall so you can see underwater from a living room.

Home gym, home theater, huge bedrooms, top-floor ocean-view decks... so much going on.

Now, what's a megahome like that in a prime, next-to-downtown location worth?

For a while, the seller was thinking $19.950M.

That was the price for slightly more than a year, from January 2017-February 2018.

Then they started over with the same agent $2.5M lower, and ran 11 more months at $16.995M.

That didn't work, and the listing canceled in January this year.

Or maybe it did work. The exposure must have helped bring along a new buyer.

The sale closed last week for $16.000M. That's $3.950M off the start, fully 20%.

And there was more.

That third lot, now a garden and formerly 313 17th St., had been acquired by the owner of 317 17th for $3.500M back in late 2014. If memory serves, that 3rd lot was not formally included in the prior offerings; it was to be an add-on.

But last week's sale included 313 17th. So you could argue that another $3M in value was added in.

All of these listings had something a little challenging to figure out.

They priced at the peak of what they might have gotten, then waited till buyers came along with a clearer idea of value.

With time, they all got done.

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