One Listing's Roller Coaster Ride

When you're selling a home, presumably, you want to try to do everything right to get it sold quickly for the most money possible.

Once that day comes to go public, it can be very exciting, and/or nerve-wracking. It's time for the real test!

Sometimes things look great, go great, and that enthusiasm is more than rewarded.

Other times, things start out great, but go off-track.

The weirdest stuff seems to happen after an attractive, early offer fails.

In one recent case, the sellers must have been left shaking their heads, wondering what the heck happened.

3529 Palm Avenue, Manhattan Beach, CA

3529 Palm (2br/1ba, 1095 sqft.) came to market in June.

Advertised as a little cottage that "needs some T.L.C." – e.g., "fixer or lot sale" – the property began at $1,999,900.

On its 8th day on market, success! Or so it appeared.

They accepted an offer. And it would appear that the one they accepted was over-asking.

It appears that way because, when that buyer fell out of escrow in just a short 5 days, the sellers felt emboldened.

They raised the price to $2.200M.

Hoo boy. If you're going to raise the price like that, you'd better be sure the market's there, that it wasn't just a single, over-eager early buyer who was willing to go there.

What if that one buyer who had lasted only 5 days was a fluke? The sellers might never see $2.200M again. And raising the price might push away other potential buyers.


Less than 10 days later, they had accepted a second offer.

OK, that wasn't so bad, was it?


10 days after opening a new escrow, they lost the second buyer.

This time, the sellers lowered their ambitions, re-setting the price at the original list of $1,999,900.

It took 2 more weeks, but another buyer came along with an offer worthy of acceptance.

Surely, the third escrow would be the charm?


Coming back to market again, the sellers dropped the price $100K to $1.890M. (Had this been the amount of the third accepted offer?)

Within 7 days, they had accepted, and quickly lost, a fourth offer.

At which point, you did not want to be a "fly on the wall" anywhere near the listing agent or seller. Objects were being thrown. Curse words were being uttered. Faith in the process was being lost.

Everyone must have wondered: How did we find four separate buyers who would not or could not complete a deal?

Soon, a true opportunist arrived.

The fifth buyer's pitch was something like: Yeah, I see you've had a little trouble selling that property. Let me just take it off your hands for you, make it simple, get you some cash, and you can stop worrying.

The catch: The price would be lower. A lot lower.

The sale closed today at $1.500M, fully $700K (32%) below that once-upon-a-time asking price of $2.200M, and 25% below the first asking price.

Roller coaster rides are supposed to be fun. They go up, they go down, they go up again.

This one just went down. Doesn't look like fun.

But it really underscores how the only good offer is the one that closes.

How $1.500M Compares in the Trees

The sale at 3529 Palm is well below 4 other recent Tree Section sales that were primarily land value:

2800 Oak Avenue, Manhattan Beach, CA 2800 Oak (3br/1ba, 1043 sqft.), $1.676M on Sept. 12 (pictured)

1801 Pine (2br/1ba, 1003 sqft.), $2.000M on Aug. 7

2500 Pine (3br/2ba, 1299 sqft.), $1.911M on July 17

3108 Elm (2br/1ba, 823 sqft.), $1.700M on July 14

(We're only looking at standard-sized lots here, meaning about 4400-4800 sqft. in the Trees.)

In fact, 3529 Palm is, with only one exception, the lowest-priced sale of a comparable Tree Section property in 5 years.

In April 2018, 3529 Pacific (2br/1ba, 950 sqft.) sold for $1.499M.

It's almost crazy to see a comparable property sell more than 5 years later for $1,000 more. 

And it's definitely crazy to see that after it appeared they had out-performed the market with $2.200M in hand.

Please see our blog disclaimer.

Listings presented above are supplied via the MLS and are brokered by a variety of agents and firms, not Dave Fratello or Edge Real Estate Agency, unless so stated with the listing. Images and links to properties above lead to a full MLS display of information, including home details, lot size, all photos, and listing broker and agent information and contact information.

Based on information from California Regional Multiple Listing Service, Inc. as of April 12th, 2024 at 10:26am PDT. This information is for your personal, non-commercial use and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties you may be interested in purchasing. Display of MLS data is usually deemed reliable but is NOT guaranteed accurate by the MLS. Buyers are responsible for verifying the accuracy of all information and should investigate the data themselves or retain appropriate professionals. Information from sources other than the Listing Agent may have been included in the MLS data. Unless otherwise specified in writing, Broker/Agent has not and will not verify any information obtained from other sources. The Broker/Agent providing the information contained herein may or may not have been the Listing and/or Selling Agent.