Messages Behind the Cuts

By Dave Fratello | September 24th, 2010
For several weeks now, the sellers at 3521 Maple have been nearly begging for attention: Please, someone notice our shortie.

They're doing it by way of significant price cuts every week to 10 days. The most recent chop, to $1.099m, brings the price down $420k, fully 28% off the start from July 31 at $1.519m.

That makes for an attractive price, overall, on a home we called "adequately sized (4br/3ba, 2525 sq. ft.) ... on an extra-size lot (5800 sq. ft.) with a pool" in our first reference to the property.

But here's something you might not have known while Maple was sending up these smoke signals over the past 2 months – it has only now returned to the price we first saw it at late last year. In December it was up briefly at $1.1m as a short sale, but the listing dropped out for 7 months before its newest incarnation.

That first listing also warned of "deferred maintenance," while the current version more gently says it "needs a little work." So if you're brave and patient enough to work through the bank on this one, you still end up with a fix-it-yourself deal and a home that's north of 35th, refinery-adjacent. Make your best deal.

A far nicer house in a far better location has made a quick cut that sends a different message: We're serious. Get over here. It's going to go. 

That's 1821 Poinsettia (5br/4ba, 3130 sq. ft.), a home that's on the newer side (1999 build) and, as we said last week, "seems lightly used and either updated or well done in key spots."

This one started at $1.799m last week and is quickly down to $1.699m

We somehow doubt it's going to linger much, as some similar properties near this price point have. The home and location sell it pretty well, but it helps to also show people you mean to make a deal.

Also, someone's looking at the calendar – the fourth quarter is often the slowest, and that means if you don't make your deal soon, it could be 2011. Is that anyone's plan? Not here.

Over at 1305 Church (4br/4ba, 3100 sq. ft.), the first cut – after 6 weeks on market – is more of a routine adjustment, but it's a substantial, single 10% chop to $1.979m from $2.2m.

The message we're hearing from Church is: We still think this is a beauty, a premium property, but hey, we overshot to begin. We get it. 

On occasion of the home's first public open last week, MBC called it "a brilliantly authentic-feeling, newer Spanish that's full of inspired, unique details... [with a] very European flavor all around." The smallish lot and lack of yard are hindrances.

How do you overcome challenges? Price.

Those 3 listings are among those vying for attention, but by now we thought we'd have heard something from 3100 Laurel (4br/3ba, 2100 sq. ft.).

The home is a major project that shows every bit of its mid-60s vintage, including thick, gold shag carpeting and a kitchen that seems original. The corner lot on which the home's built has a peculiar incline to it that puts the garage on the 2nd floor.

The home's hard to imagine, even in a redone state, and the lot's less than ideal for building. So it was going to be challenged regardless, but the start at $1.399m only added another concern for buyers and guaranteed more time on market.

The listing actually says the "seller is motivated," but where's the evidence of that? Still waiting for a message that speaks louder than those throw-in words.

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