Bright Spot: South End 'Chateau' Sells

By Dave Fratello | March 29th, 2020

These days we're kinda looking for good news where we can find it. Looking to the South End, we've found some.

441 1st Street Manhattan Beach CAWe've finally seen the sale of 441 1st, more than 4 years after it first came to market.

The surprisingly sizable Sand Section home (5br/4ba, 4675 sqft.) sports a 2004 build date and was sold new in 2006 for $3.070M.

The home's style is different from the beach bungalows, Cape Cods, Mediterraneans and Coastal Plantation homes that dominate the beach cities. The style has been variously referred to as:

• European Villa,

• French Normandy Chateau, and, most recently, simply,

• French chateau.

One past listing also labeled it "storybook," which somehow stuck with us over the years.

The first attempt to sell began in late 2015, when the market was roaring. The owners began their first multi-month attempt to cash out asking $4.992M (+63% over acquisition).

That didn't work, so in early 2017, they tried with a new agent a little lower at $4.899M, gradually working down to $4.495M over a failed 5-month listing. That was followed quickly by another failed 3-month listing at $4.495M.

From late 2017 through Summer 2018, a fourth failed listing ran at lower prices, first $4.198M and, for a stretch of 2018, $3.995M. The appearance of a 3 in front was a first, and now the markup over acquisition was halved from the first sale attempt, to just 30%.

Although the rule seems to be that the third agent is often the one to get lucky with a challenged listing and get it sold, in this case, neither the third, fourth, fifth or sixth listings worked out.

There was one in 2018 for $3.749M and another in 2019 at $3.699M. Still, nada.

A new, seventh, late 2019 listing began at that same number. That listing cut in January this year to $3.499M. Oh, that was good timing. After steeping a bit at that new number, the listing found a buyer in early March.

What's better, it was a cash buyer who honored the commitment and closed in less than 3 weeks at $3.245M.

Of course, that was nowhere near the original ambitions. Relief.

The final markup of 5.7% over the 2006 price lags far, far behind what you'd expect anywhere in the Sand Section, and the South End in particular.

Maybe it was a special combination of factors that spooked potential buyers. The style, the location (busy street), the history of not selling... despite its charms, the home's history may not have looked promising.

We've seen that movie before, in one case quite recently from a front-row seat on a listing.

Eventually, you find exactly the right buyer who loves the property and settles on a great price for it as well. There's a right price for every home. This one finally got 'er done, in conditions that are otherwise challenging for everyone else.

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