Just Hitting the Radar

By Dave Fratello | December 1st, 2008
Here at MBC, we do the sometimes-arduous legwork of independent market tracking because there's often some value to getting beyond the confines of the MLS database. (Though we rely on that, too.)

The tracking process leads to many of the stories here – a price cut here, or a sale there, can make for interesting material.

Other times, tracking is almost as exciting as balancing one's checkbook.

Recently we sought to clear some local RE transactions for which we had not seen sale data from the MLS, and we found a few tidbits.

Below is a selection of listings that we saw live on the MLS this year, which then went into escrow but, for whatever reason, we never saw post as closed sales – or only long after they had closed. We got the closed sale info for most of these from public records searches.

Sand Section
  • We're late in saying so, but The Turkey is sold. (How appropriate for the season.)
They got $825k in July for 462 36th Place, a dreadful 3br/2ba, 1150 sq. ft. home on a lot that's almost a standard half lot (1260 sq. ft. in this case).
MBC pulled no punches in reviewing this one. (See "A Real Turkey" from November 2007.) Visiting this house was simply too traumatic. In short, everything was wrong – location, the lot split that created a home fronting an alley, a bad addition in the 80s and a cheap remodel in 2007.
Plenty of folks predicted a big loss for the flippers here, but they may have dodged a bullet.

The home was acquired for $760k in Aug. 2007, spiffed up and offered anew for $929k last year. As it fell, the home went for $65k more than its purchase price.

Take out remodeling costs, 9 months of carrying costs plus costs of sale, and most – perhaps all – of that margin is eaten up. It still looks like a failed flip, but it coulda been worse. We're frankly amazed that they made a deal.

The out-of-area agent who sold the property only recently posted the sale price from late July on the local MLS, which explains the delay in getting this info up. (Some MLS searches will show this as a November closing.)
  • Shortly after 36th Pl. closed (unbeknownst to many) in July, 3204 Vista was offered up as the cheapest half-lot in the Sand for some time at $799k. (It began Aug. 15.)
Vista was in a better location, relatively – on the 32nd Place alley, amid some of the nicer streets up on the plateau. That price was an immediate draw for the 2br/2ba, 1200 sq. ft. offering, and within 3 days it was gone.
In late September, this one closed higher than the Turkey at $835k, despite the lower start.
We didn't catch that on the MLS, but were wondering what happened to the property. We did find the sale via the County Assessor's website. Meanwhile, PropertyShark.com showed a sale, but no price or public documents.
Might someone not want the price disclosed? Perhaps the new owner: "Very Generic LLC." (We kid not.)
  • 1501 Crest is a 3br/3ba, 2100 sq. ft. home with ocean views that is perhaps too close to downtown – it's right across from City Hall, just one door away from a busy intersection at Highland and 15th.
That doesn't make it bad. The home has found buyers twice in 2 years at inflated prices. In July 2006, it was $1.360m. This year, Crest was offered for $1.549m in May and sold pretty quickly. The price closed at $1.470m in late July, about midway between the 2006 price and the 2008 markup.
That's still an impressive +$100k/+7%, taken quickly in a difficult market. Why not crow about it?
  • We're still watching: 417 28th. This is a luxurious, newer, ocean-view home purchased by an agent in Sept. 2005 for $2.550m. He tried a near-million-dollar markup at $3.495m in April, then gradually cut it down to $2.899m. A deal was struck in mid-August, but we haven't seen a sale close – it's now more than 100 days later.

Tree Section
  • A lot of people would like to know how low lot prices are going in the Tree Section. So it's good to see a closed price on 1400 Oak, which made rapid and substantial adjustments this Spring.
1400 Oak opened at $975k in mid-May, a grudging step down from the cherished $1m threshold. But this is not prime dirt. The dated, 3br/2ba, 1400 sq. ft. home is on the "wrong" side of Oak, backing up on a business and abutting two "cut-through" streets. (Oak is an alternative to Sepulveda and 14th is a bailout street for folks who don't like the light at MBB.)

Turns out, 1400 Oak made a quick 20% adjustment and went for $780k in late July.

This sale has obvious implications for 2500 Oak, a smaller home also on the "wrong" side of Oak and in a more challenging location at Marine/Sepulveda. (See our story on the home.) It's currently up at $824,900.

We're also looking at 1733 Elm, which doesn't have the same location problems, but which is clearly a teardown. (The current owners got that job partway done, hence the green construction fence.) It's a short sale at $850k.
  • 1813 Pine was one of those swanky new homes (5br/4ba, 3400 sq. ft.) that grabs top dollar and confuses the market for run-of-the-mill newbies. This one pre-sold off the MLS this Summer at a posted start price of $2.799m. Actual closed price: $2.7m in mid-August. Now, why isn't everyone getting that for new construction around town?
  • We're still watching: 1410 Ardmore. This is an average, but remodeled, little cottage (3br/2ba, 1600 sq. ft.) on a busy part of Ardmore, near the intersection at 15th. It was listed for $1.5m in July, and seemed to make a deal within a week.
The story behind 1410 Ardmore is not average. MBC offered a glimpse in "A Shorty with a Story," then the lawyers warned us off further coverage of a story that's pretty hot. (Synopsis: the home sold for $1.2m in March 2006, then $2.5m a year later, and suddenly wound up short just one more year later at $1.5m.)

So, did they make a deal at $1.5m? More? Less? We're watching that and the backstory.

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