How Fast Will Cutie Go?

By Dave Fratello | August 14th, 2008
There's a palpable buzz around 1308 Elm as we speak, so we're going to try a different kind of poll.

The question this time is not about price, but about timing. Namely, how quickly do you think this cute bungalow with some extras might go?

How you answer might indicate how much pent-up demand you think there is, how great this little house is, how well-priced it is, or how challenging you think the market is regardless of those factors.

Please read the story below, vote in the poll, and support your position in the comments here.

The home will be open this weekend (Sat. & Sun., 2-5pm), allowing a chance for readers to review the home in person, so we'll extend the poll from the normal 3 days to 4, closing Sunday night at 8pm.

Now, let's establish what it is that we're voting on here.

In the postwar period in L.A. (we're talking about WWII, by the way), vast swaths of territory were taken by new little bungalows. Way back then, people only needed about 1000-1500 sq. ft. to live. Entire families – often larger than today's families – happily shared the space.

Sure, it sounds crazy now, in an era where at least 1500-2000 sq. ft. more is considered de minimus for a family home in MB. But the people were actually grateful.

1308 Elm (click for pics & details via Redfin) was built in that bygone era. It offers 3br/1ba, officially, and another bath that may or may not be permitted (listing). Square footage almost reaches 1400, though there's some other unofficial space above the garage. (It's an outlaw house!)

If you know MB homes of similar vintage, you'll find the layout familiar. The kitchen is, helpfully, upgraded, though not to high-end standards.

A bonus with the lot – it's a "flag" lot, with garage entry off a little sliver of land that connects to 14th St. That means no garage face. Sweet.

Today's price is $1.199m. That price point has a lot of sidelined buyers these days. No question, Elm will draw interest. Competitors include:
  • 2907 Pacific – same price, greater square footage (+500 sq. ft.), more updated, but lingering now;
  • 2905 Valley$1.239m, +100 sq. ft., far inferior location; and
  • 2105 Walnut$1.175m, +225 sq. ft., much more of a challenge.
To be fair, the Elm location is not exactly a dream. That cross-street, 14th, is fairly busy, a cut-through off Sepulveda. Elm is only one street removed from Sepulveda itself. True, it's just steps to Target, but that is a phrase we've never seen in a listing before. In reality, you're a pretty big hike from most places you might want to go, other than Pacific School.

The price history on this home is interesting, because it switched hands several times over the last 20 years (see graphic via Redfin). Most recently, it was purchased for $840k in Sept. 2003, which puts the current listing at +$359k/+43% over that time, a bit less than 5 years.

We're guessing (assuming!) that the start price is within 10% of the market value, so we won't ask about price, exactly.

Let's stipulate to the fact that there are buyers who want, at least, the ZIP code and the schools, and can handle the small size and other compromises.

Will they make their move within 10 days, 30 days, 60 days, 100 days, or more?

Again, please vote in the poll and support your position here in the comments.

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