Selling a 'Diamond in the Rough'

By Dave Fratello | January 13th, 2022

3420 Alma Avenue Manhattan Beach CAAt year's end 2021, we closed a sale here at the Edge office of 3420 Alma, in the North End of the Manhattan Beach Sand Section.

It's a corner-lot, 2-story, original 1960s SFR.

When we first got a look at it, the property had been occupied for about 20 years as a rental. And it kinda looked like it.

The seller, friends and neighbors generally assumed that the home would sell to a builder or flipper. It just seemed to be so beaten up and dated, the audience of potential buyers would be limited.

"NO!" we said. "This is a diamond in the rough. We just have to help people see it!"

We mapped out a plan for the seller to clean up and perfect the property without any real, actual remodeling. The seller, who lives out of state, approved the plan and let us go to work with trusted contractors and a stager.

This brief, fun video will walk you through some of what we did, and did not, do to prepare the home for market:

That first (and only) weekend of open houses, we loved to see potential buyers stream in, walk through the home and express how much they loved it. It was "cute," "darling," "clean," "solid" and "full of potential," according to various people.

That felt good, but that was not the success. We measure that in other ways:

• 3 weeks of prep

• 6 days on market

• 9 offers

• $2.400M sale price

• 17% over asking

Oh, and as to price...

In that original condition, we considered it possible that the home would eventually sell for $2.100M or a little over, after we did our prep. So we had advised the seller to start at $2.049M and let the market run with it. (Another agent had given suggestions that were extremely similar on price.)

Once the work was done, before the listing was live, we saw the upside. We advised that we could start a bit higher. But the seller was not greedy, and said "let's stick with the plan."

List price: $2.049M.

Sale price: $2.400M (+$351K / +17%).

We won't soon forget the call we got from a potential buyer right as the work started. He was thinking it's worth around $1.5-$1.6M. Nope.

Or the advice the seller apparently received as to an as-is value, no market prep: Around $1.799M.

Polish the diamond. It's worth more.


Have you got a 'diamond in the rough' you're thinking of selling?

Contact Dave to ask about a plan for your property. Thanks!

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