Saturday Opens (7/3)

By Dave Fratello | July 3rd, 2010
There's a tiny, tiny window this weekend to see open houses, owing to the holiday. Mainly Saturday-only opens, for obvious reasons.

Some of you are already celebrating, to judge by the fireworks popping and flying around MBC headquarters on Friday evening.

With no debuts this week, we'll stick to a very short list of opens that have been featured at MBC before – with one exception east of Sepulveda.

To plan your open-house tours for this week, use MB Confidential's online list of Manhattan Beach open houses (it's mobile-friendly!).

If you do get out & around this weekend, please report back here on what you've seen, what you liked, didn't like, etc.

Hill Section

Back on market this week is 856 11th (4br/3ba, 2225 sq. ft.), after the buyers who snapped it up quickly last month walked away.

The smallish house is all set up at the front of the 6,000 sq. ft. lot, affording a big, sunny, truly parklike yard. It's an extra bonus that the home's currently got a full kids' playset out back as well.

The mid-70s home tends to show its vintage in places, and the 2-up/2-down layout with the bedrooms is not going to suit every family well. The kitchen's nicely updated and the floors upstairs have a newer feel.

The very nice eastward views from the top floor living spaces and deck may not last. A new home is being readied for construction next door, and there's no telling exactly how 856 11th will be affected.

MBC mentioned this home a couple times in late 2008 when it was offered at $1.479m. (It was a sage green color then.) It's now priced a tiny bit higher at $1.499m.

856 11th is open Sat. 1-4pm.

Sand Section

301 2nd (3br/4ba, 2100 sq. ft.) is a tightly remodeled contemporary TH with nice ocean views down in the quiet South End.

The 1991 build was first redone earlier in the decade, and has been sharpened up again quite recently. As it's staged now, the contemporary look simply feels clean, not jarringly modern. Four balconies give you plenty of chances to drink in the sun, breeze or views.

We've noted before that this property was advertised on MBC's front page and that your blog author is friendly with the seller. So you can gauge our enthusiasm with that in mind, but we certainly think it's worth a drop-in. Priced at $1.659m.

301 2nd is open Sat. 2-4pm.

Tree Section

At 2523 N. Valley, you get a darling, meticulously crafted Spanish (they call it "Monterey Colonial") with lots of unique details.

This one made a lasting impression back in 2005 when it was new. There are a couple of hitches, though.

First, location – anything on Valley will take a value hit, no avoiding that. Next, the garage. In an effort we commend to get the garage behind the house instead of dominating the front, we wind up here with a long side driveway that narrows the home. The garage probably isn't going to have cars parked inside of it often. (Yet the bonus studio/garden room off the garage is one of those unique details we like.)

Size suffers a bit – the 4br/5ba home reaches only 2800 sq. ft., about 300-500 fewer square feet than most newer-era builds. That means each room is just a fraction smaller than you may be used to seeing. Things could get tight with a busy family.

Buying the home new near the local market peak in Feb. 2006, the sellers paid $2.050m. They know they won't be getting all of that back. They began at $1.789m (-$261k/-13%) more than 2 months ago, and are certainly due for a cut. 

A nerdy aside: Your blog author is not an architectural historian, but the internets quickly showed us 3 examples of "Monterey Colonial" design that, frankly, look nothing like 2523 Valley. Where, for example, is the hip roof? We'll take the modern version, though, thanks.

2523 N. Valley is open Sat. 1-4pm.

East MB

Yes, sometimes MBC ventures east of the border. Recently, some reader/clients brought your blog author over to 438 Altura Way.

First question: Where's Altura Way? Turns out this is a half-block between Longfellow and Keats, just a few blocks east of Sepulveda. A very quiet, private nook of MB.

You probably know that "Altura" means "height" in Spanish, right? Here, that's apt, because the lot at 438 Altura is positioned at the top of a hill that slopes quickly down to other parts of MB, with Mira Costa dominating the view. That allows for an interesting panorama of treetops, homes and sky off the east side of the property.

Views from the heights are surprising to the south and west, also. From a the tacked-on second-floor "master suite" (we're being generous), you can clearly see the PV hill and a smattering of ocean, too. Yes, ocean, from East MB. Go figure.

The home itself... not pleasant. The mid-50s original had that second-floor addition later, but its overall layout needs radical reconfiguration to meet any kind of modern standards. Today, of course, you'd set the living spaces toward the back to feature the big-sky views to the east. But no, that side of the house is clogged with small bedrooms and a 50s bath. You'd also need a total overhaul of all fixtures, floors, baths and the small, L-shaped galley kitchen.

The home doesn't absolutely have to be scraped, but that would make it easier to bring the lot to its best use.

The listing claims that Altura has a 7900 sq. ft. lot, but it seems quite a bit smaller – maybe space is wasted out front, but maybe some of that lot is part of the downsloping hillside behind the home. That's important to check.

A couple of weeks into the listing, 438 Altura remains at its start price of $969k.

Incredibly, it's open both Sat. & Sun. 1-4pm.

Unmentioned benefit of 438 Altura: Free fireworks from Mira Costa on special occasions, though not July 4th.


If you're interested in any of these properties, or something else, and need help finding a good agent, consider asking MBC. For more, please see our Agent Referrals page.

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