Courthouse Offerings

By Dave Fratello | May 22nd, 2009
Don't let that Memorial Day vacation run too long if you're looking for bargains in MB.

Trustee's sales on 2 intriguing properties are slated for Wednesday next week (5/27), 10:30am, on the steps of the LA County courthouse in Norwalk.

The first is 939 Duncan, a 4br/5ba, 3950 sq. ft. home featured from time to time here at MBC over 9 months in 2007-08. It's a massive remodel/rebuild that we called "A 2-Year Flip on Duncan" in a story in Oct. 2007.

In December 2005, someone had paid $2.53m for this home, then really went to work.

Per the Oct. 2007 listing:
This home has been almost completely redone in 2007. Absolutely like new. No expense spared. The best of all worlds from a wonderful pool and spa to a very serviceable elevator.
Price started at $3.895m (+$1.545m and +54%). It dropped only a token $200k over the listing's 9 months on market.

Now the loans have gone very bad, and the opening bid would have to be $2.762m to take the property off the bank's hands right there in Norwalk.

Notice that's not too much of a markup over the pre-remodel price from late 2005. And remember "no expense [was] spared" in the remodel.

That's intriguing.

Of course, the reason banks wind up owning properties in situations like this is that few people are sitting on nearly $3m in cash, ready to pounce on the courthouse steps to grab a deal rather than take the time to investigate their options – which are numerous in MB's Hill Section these days.

We'd bet on seeing this one as an REO later this year, though anything could happen.

Same bank, different situation at 544 3rd, a South End wreck that has to be viewed as a lot sale.

Here the dollars aren't so tough: loans worth $1.1m have gone bad, so if you can make the bank whole, you've got some nice dirt.

The location, a few doors off of Valley, isn't perfect, but 3rd is a quiet street.

If 544 3rd goes for near $1.1m, it will be a giant slap in the face to 505 3rd, a messy, and perhaps scrapable, 4br/3ba, 2600 sq. ft. house up the block. (See "Another Flopped Flip.")

505 3rd remains at $1.599m, flat with the Sept. 2005 acquisition price.

A sale at 544 could discount the dirt substantially. But it depends who's paying attention.

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