Reagan Comes to the 21st Century

By Dave Fratello | April 13th, 2011
Midyear last year we bade farewell to a home MBC had called "Reagan's Suit" – in honor of the former president's memorably dreadful brown getups.

In anticipating a scrape of the property, perhaps we jumped the gun. We said last June:

The very custom, and not very big (3br/3ba, 2200 sq. ft.) mid-80s "contemporary" had to be viewed as a lot sale.
Whoops. Turns out, the new owners of 121 17th have now completed a modernization of the home.

These before-and-after photos are testament to the power of vision. They brought Ronald Reagan into the 21st century with a handsome makeover. (Click the new pic to enlarge.)

And the price the buyers paid is starting to look like a testament to the power of bargaining.

Recall that Reagan's Suit began horrifically overpriced at $3.999m in late 2009.  If the lot value was roughly near $3m, they were actually asking buyers to pay a mint for a smallish, troubled, dated house with a chopped-up layout.

The sellers came down a lot once buyers knocked: -$1.399m/-35%.  The closed price: $2.6m. For a prestige walkstreet near downtown. In the 100 block. Bravo. 

As a side note, the listing agent also represented the buyers. That's not always a scenario where we'd expect to see a big bargain. A listing agent's conflicting duties to get the highest price for the sellers and the best deal for the buyers seem not to work out so great for the buyers, typically – but here's an exception that goes against that grain.

By way of comparison, look next door. 117 17th sold off-market last year somewhat after Reagan's Suit for $3.050m, or $450k more (+17%) than the passé couture one door up. This one was clearly a lot sale, as the green fence now surrounding the 1920s-vintage home attests. Say goodbye to that old beach cottage.

All of this talk of Reagan's Suit was actually sparked by a completely different deal – the sale closing earlier this week at 132 20th. It's yet another 100-block walkstreet home, just a few extra steps from downtown, and still one of the great blocks without a Manhattan Ave. to worry about.

The fairly big (5br/5ba, 4000 sq. ft.) Reagan-era contemporary (1986 build, early-90s feel) really needed refreshing. It rang up more than 250 DOM after a start at $3.750m. As we noted earlier this year: "the number of buyers looking to spend $3.5m and then get to work is pretty limited... The home could be so much more, but needs the right mix of a project-oriented buyer and the right price."

It would appear that balance came together at $3.3m, the price posted Tuesday, -$450k/-12% off the start. Now, if they need inspiration, maybe the buyers can look to Reagan.

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