It's Hard to Be Straight

By Dave Fratello | November 9th, 2007
In the advertising world, the art of pitching schlocky products with high gloss is well advanced.

Home listing language isn't there yet, and probably won't get there. The body copy isn't what sells a house, and realtors are rarely writers.

Still, something's got to fill in the blanks. You've got to accentuate the positive, downplay the negative, and do your best in 100 words to explain what truly awaits the in-person visitor.

It's with this general sense of understanding that MBC today calls attention to a pretty misleading pitch for a new Hill Section listing.

You see, 1019 11th (click for details via Redfin) is not just any Hill Section house. The listing tells us it's:
One of the best Locations in Manhattan Beach west of sepulveda.
Really, now? Because we just looked at the other 80-odd SFR listings west of Sepulveda, and 98.5% are in better locations.

As we can see in the graphic, 1019 11th (in yellow) is awfully close to the intersection of MBB and Sepulveda, two of our town's busiest streets. On 11th, it's right between the Arco and the Jiffy Lube.

As the main listing photo above shows, the back yard abuts a 2-story commercial building. It's a bit imposing.

Are we still sure about this "best location" claim?

The truth is that this home is a clean, small bungalow (3br/2ba, 1425 sq. ft.) with some recent remodeling work to dress it up. At $1.199m, it's the cheapest Hill Section listing other than a wreck in foreclosure at 402 Larsson. It's livable, if that's your budget and you must get into MB soon, and you don't mind making a bunch of compromises.

Well, you can see why MBC is rarely invited to write listing language. (But if you're interested, call for rates!)

Before we go, let's note that other buyers paid about the same price – twice – at the peak, for the same house. The recent sales history is a kick:
  • July 2004: $1.150m
  • July 2005: $1.165m
  • Nov. 2007: (list: $1.199m)
The home is already vacant, it's entering the market at one of the slowest times of year, and the price suggests a net loss from day one. We're thinking this doesn't end well, but don't underestimate the demand for, achem, cheap homes with a Hill Section address.

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