Reboot, Retry, Succeed

By Dave Fratello | April 1st, 2010
It's some kind of measure of the sort of Spring we're having that we keep seeing failed listings from the past coming back. Often, they're selling.

511 N. Dianthus is just the most recent, semi-dramatic example.

The 60s box (3br/2ba, 1900 sq. ft.) was cleaned up, but not fancy by any stretch. It was offered to any and all comers for a full year, from late March 2008 till April 2009, when it rented out.

The price at Dianthus seemed always to be a bit high and a step behind the trendline for a market that was notably declining throughout the life of the listing. In March 2008, it started at $1.429m, dwindling to $1.125m in the doldrums of April 2009, when almost nothing was moving. It was the right time to quit.

Dianthus returned this week at $1.075m, pitched simply as a "starter home," and made a deal within 2 days.

One year, failure. Two days, success.

Yes, you could say there's a difference between the climates from the last couple of years to now.

There are quite a few other returnees that recently have made deals:
  • 672 19th (3br/2ba, 1675 sq. ft.), purchased as a guest house in 2006 by the next-door neighbors for $1.550m, began in March 2008 seeking a big markup to $1.789m. 
Seven months, no action – a failed listing. 
By Fall 2009, about a year later, it was back, priced below acquisition at $1.299m. (See "Guest House Returns.") A deal was made this month.
  • 3316 Crest (4br/4ba, 2100 sq. ft.) (pictured), a modern remodel with tiny bedrooms but nice style. A first attempt at selling ran from July-Nov. 2008, about 4 months, priced near $2m – no deal. This year, at $1.785m, they had a deal inside of 4 weeks.
  • 1821 Palm (4br/4ba, 3550 sq. ft.), a 1990 build with updates, came on during one of the worst quarters in memory, offered for 3 months from Feb.-April 2009 at $2.175m. No sale. This year, pre-market interest drove the price to $2.250m and it was sold before it was first posted.
  • 332 20th (5br/5ba, 4300 sq. ft.) is a gorgeous new custom Spanish near the top of the 20th St. walkstreet over Highland. A high price ($4.795m) and tough market doomed the first listing, which ran from Jan.-Nov. 2008 before the home rented out. It returned in Sept. 2009 lighter, at $3.895m, and finally found a buyer this year after shaving off another $500k to $3.395m.
  • 1413 Pine (4br/3ba, 2275 sq. ft.) has gotten plenty of play here at MBC (most recently here). A failed, overpriced listing ($1.759m start) ran from Jan.-June 2008. This year, the price was right and the action quick – it closed at $1.385m recently.
  • 560 35th is a big Craftsman (6br/6ba, 3600 sq. ft.) purchased in January 2004 for $1.635m. An overly ambitious resale attempt ran from July 2008-Jan. 2009, with the sellers seeking $2.425m, then stepping down to $2.125m before calling it quits. 
The new listing began more reasonably in late January at $1.895m (see "Adjusting Upon Return") and found a buyer within a month. [UPDATE: The sale closed for $1.740m a couple days after this post first appeared; that's +$105k/+6% over the Jan. 2004 price, essentially flat for the sellers after costs of sale.]
  • 3212 Blanche (4br/5ba, 3000 sq. ft.) tried to sell twice without success – once from July-Nov. 2008, and again from Feb.-April 2009. As we noted last week in "Look Who's Found Buyers," the biggest change in the listing when it reappeared this year wasn't the price ($1.849m) but in the sellers' offer of financing. 
Some returning listings that haven't yet hit paydirt:
  • 420 1st may buck the trend – but we'll see. Purchased for $1.075m in June 2007, this one ran from Feb.-Aug. 2009, starting at $1.275m.
It's back now at $1.130m, not much of a markup anymore, but still more than the sellers paid in 2007. And there doesn't seem to be a path being beaten to the door.
  • 4419 Highland, too, is a tough sell for all kinds of reasons. The "Gateway to Manhattan Beach" gets plenty of exposure, and that's the problem. (See "'Gateway' Returning?") With that said, $1.189m for pretty new construction, 4 bedrooms, steps to surf... someone might bite, though we'd still expect it to be another renter.
  • 616 29th (4br/5ba, 3500 sq. ft.) is a 5-year-old Craftsman purchased new in Aug. 2005 for $2.425m. For 5 months, from April-Sept. 2008, the sellers tried to get out basically flat. Instead, they rented out the property. 
For 2 months in Summer 2009, they tried again to find a buyer, now at $2.379m. (See "Welcome Back.")
In February this year, the listing returned again, another step down from the 2005 acquisition price at $2.249m. That's a lot of house on a nice street for a not-so-unreasonable price, but it hasn't caught fire yet. One to watch.

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