Fixer Sells for Same Price as 'Fixed'

By Dave Fratello | December 6th, 2019

People love those "Roth" homes.

There's a tract in East Manhattan (Heights) where dozens of single-level ranch-style homes were built in the 1960s by a Mr. Roth. (Longer story.)

It seems that upon resale, the "Roth built" homes almost always stay intact, and just get refreshed/remodeled. This is in contrast to other parts of Manhattan Beach, where you'd expect an older, undersized home to be obsolete and to get knocked down in favor of a new build.

The prices on fixer/upgradeable Roth homes are always far enough above land value so as to restrict new development in the tract.

1556 23rd Street Manhattan Beach CAAnd so it went with the recent sale of 1556 23rd (3br/2ba, 2065 sqft., 7200 sqft. lot).

This home is a 1967 original, and by original, we mean what that word means.

(You can see all of the photos at this link.)

In prepping this listing for sale, the sellers settled on a strategy of starting at a seemingly "low" price to generate multiple offers.

That "low" start: $1.700M. (They didn't even mess with the old -99 gambit.)

And boy, did that work.

Comps for 1556 23rd included:

1813 Herrin (3br/2ba, 1950 sqft., 7200 sqft. lot) at $1.775M (Jan. 2019)

1506 21st (3br/2ba, 2250 sqft., 7200 sqft. lot) at $1.780M (Sept. 2018)

1547 21st (3br/2ba, 2175 sqft., 7200 sqft. lot) at $1.725M (July 2018)

Of these homes, which share the same basic floorplan, the older, lower-priced sale at 1547 21st was the home in most original condition. In a sense, at $1.725M, it was the best comp for 1556 23rd.

Meantime, 1813 Herrin and 1506 21st, at $1.775M and $1.780M, were notably upgraded.

This was most dramatically the case with 1813 Herrin, which had modern flooring, baths and this kitchen, among other updates.

So, not very long ago, within this calendar year, someone was paying $1.775M for a modernized version of a Roth.

What would 1556 23rd get?

There was one more reference point. The most recent sale in the neighborhood had been 1541 19th (4br/2ba, 2300 sqft.) in late September, just weeks before the new listing would be competing for buyers.

That home has a little different, and larger, single-level floorplan, and modest upgrades that kind of want some modernizing, but it sold for the highest price of all these: $1.825M.

(To see all of the recent Roth comps in detail, including photos, click this link.)

If you read the headline above, you already have an idea how this shook out.

1556 23rd has now closed for $1.780M.

It's a number in line with those homes that had significant upgrades, but this one needs everything.

A slightly better location? Sunny, south-facing backyard? Did factors like that help? Sure.

So did the competition.

And the fact that people love these Roth homes.

We can disclose that we had a client looking seriously at this property. We discussed all the comps above. We advised that we loved it at $1.725M, but also felt sure that it would sell higher. We liked it in the mid-1.7s, too, but we weren't sure that a bid like that would win out.

The client sat out, and the sale closed out pretty much as we all had anticipated, where multiple offers, blind bidding and that "must have" aspect combined to take the price higher than our client wanted to go.

Meantime, there's one less buyer out there who loves the Roth homes and is champing at the bit to get one. 'Cause they got it.

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