Must-Sell Shortie in the Trees

By Dave Fratello | November 28th, 2011
It is in the post-Thanksgiving period of the year that some of the most interesting deals – even bargains – come along.

Increasingly as inventory thins out, the remaining listings include a higher proportion of "must-sell" offerings and motivated sellers. It can be a great time to be a buyer.

Jockeying for attention today is one example of a must-sell property: 2708 Ardmore (4br/3ba, 1850 sq. ft.). 

It's a reasonably sized house on one of the skinny 2500 sq. ft. lots you see along both Valley and Ardmore. The listing has always been frank in mentioning that there is an NOD against the property, and it has now officially become a short sale as well.

Translation: They must sell, and preferably soon.

With a quick 17% chop in the list price (-$200k) to $950k, this shortie is trying to draw notice and a quick bid.

A completely livable west-of-Sepulveda home with a modern kitchen for <$1m? Someone will find this compelling, and then it will be up to the bank to figure out a final price.

As we've noted here, the house is a 1973 build that's been remodeled. The exterior is attractive and the interior spaces quite decent. The kitchen stands out, just a few years old and sparkling.

The layout is upside-down, with 3 official bedrooms all downstairs. The 4th referenced in the count must be the built-out garage space, but that room is accessed through another bedroom. (The garage/bedroom is noted as "not permitted" in the listing description.)

References to the home as an "[a]rchitect's personal residence" may well be true, but they tend to over-promise. We've called it "a mostly competent remodel that, unfortunately, is wearing at the edges." Due to the distressed status, the home will likely be sold "as-is" only.

You don't see a lot of homes near or under $1m in the Trees without a location challenge – like Ardmore presents – or with this kind of square footage. Here's a look at a few relatively recent sales that offer some perspective on 2708 Ardmore:

910 14th
910 14th (3br/3ba, 1575 sq. ft.) is a tidy remodel with some rough edges that's just a little smaller than 2708 Ardmore. It sold in January this year for $934k. (See "More Than a Half at 14th.")

It was almost impossible to find good comps for 14th at the time because it's on an ultra-rare half lot in the heart of the Trees (2240 sq. ft.) But that lot size is more akin to the skinny 2500 sq. ft. lots like you find under 2708 Ardmore, so it works here.

The 14th St. location is plainly superior, but Ardmore's somewhat more updated. Neither home has a garage, with both having seen those spaces converted to bonus living space. An interesting point of reference for a $900k-$950k price on Ardmore.

3001 Valley
We have to go much further back for another roughly comparable Valley or Ardmore sale near $1m. We found 3001 Valley (3br/2ba, 1975 sq. ft.), a dated and odd home that fetched $1.025m in August 2010.

The home's a little bigger, significantly less updated than 2708 Ardmore and boasts a 5000 sq. ft. lot, so there's a lot of adjustments to make if you try to use it at all to gauge Ardmore. (No formal appraisal will reach back that far.)

Also reaching back to last year, 622 Rosecrans (3br/2ba, 1500 sq. ft.) is one we called "a pleasant surprise" at the time. It was "highly upgraded" (listing) with a fully modern kitchen, updated baths and other features.

It's one of the only sales in the past year-plus with a smaller lot (3625 sq. ft.), adequate square footage and a location issue, enough to draw it into a discussion of 2708 Ardmore. This one sold for $1.075m last October, and fairly quickly, thanks to the completely ready-to-go quality of the whole package.

Land value is such a major chunk of any MB home's value, it's going to be difficult to run a formal appraisal of 2708 Ardmore. But it's pretty clear, regardless, that it's offering more for less than a lot of other listings in the Trees.

Indeed, Ardmore is one of only 3 listings under $1m right now – the others are a newly listed fixer (2616 Poinsettia) at the junction of 3 busy streets ($925k) and the very pleasant, but much smaller, 3528 Poinsettia (3br/1ba, 1200 sq. ft.) way over near Rosecrans ($975k).

By that comparison alone, 2708 Ardmore will stand out.

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