Look Who Found Buyers

By Dave Fratello | February 8th, 2013
There's a theme we keep coming back to: What couldn't sell once before, now does sell.

Tight inventory will do that. It's as if you can't fail to sell these days. Even properties that are not on the market.

Two odd houses that have sold recently come to mind.

Way down south on one of the great family walkstreets, 505 7th (3br/4ba, 2750 sq. ft.) has sold off market.

This is a home that ran 5 months on market in 2011 without success.

Here at MBC, in July 2011, we called it "a curiosity in terms of design and layout," noting "echoes of the home's 70s vintage supplemented by newer updates."

This was a fairly gentle way of saying the home was peculiar and needed work. We toured it with clients who'd have loved to be down on the flat walkstreets, but people just could not get their minds around the house.

With its $2.1M pricetag and the all work that would be needed to bring it more in line with most peoples' wishes, it was hard to figure.

That was the broader market's response, too: 5 months, $2.1M asking, no go. The listing quietly faded away in December 2011.

And then, off market, in December 2012: a "yes." For $2.3M. Tax records show the sale closing just before year end.

That's $200K (call it 10%) more than the home did not sell for a year earlier. Wow.

We know something about off-market sales on the flat walkstreets. As we've noted before (in "Tale of an Off-Market Sale"), Dave arranged the sale of 409 7th St. (5br/4ba, 3475 sq. ft.) in November for $2.675m. The location's much better, mid-block and away from Valley, the house was newer, almost a third bigger and had a far more conventional, workable layout. But 505 7th went for a price that's in reach of the sale at 409. Like we said, wow.

Meantime, if there's going to be just one sale in the past year that makes our point, it'll be 3309 Pacific.

We almost had to self-impose a moratorium on posts about 3309 Pacific, because it was such a frequent flier here at MBC. (See, for instance, "A Long, Strange Listing" from Feb. 2009.)

The 4br/4ba, 3500 sq. ft. property made appearances on the market for 7 consecutive years, appearing in parts of 2005-2011. But they never could sell it.

One of our last posts, titled, "3309 Pacific is Lucky in 6th Year," was missing two letters: "Un-," as in, "Unlucky." That's because the deal they had in Summer 2010 flopped.

The property sat out 2012, the first year out of 8 where it wasn't marketed.

But here in 2013, 3309 Pacific is back on the radar, having just posted a deal (no doubt arranged off-market) with a list price of $1.200M.

Think about this one. It's possibly the most hard-luck property of all the hard-luck properties to be offered to the public since the bubble years. Heck, it started being offered in the bubble years (at prices as high as $1.799M), only to see the bubble pop.

Now that something else is happening (b-word, anyone?), have they really sold it? History suggests we be a little careful before declaring it done. So for now, we'll say a careful "wow."

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