Steal & Sell

By Dave Fratello | February 7th, 2014

Who doesn't love a bargain?

In real estate, getting a real steal of a deal can mean shopping on the stormy seas of short sales and foreclosures. There haven't been many of those in Manhattan Beach recently, but owners who grabbed some in recent years are making out great here in 2013-14 upon resale.

The newest listing looking to profit nicely from buying a foreclosure during the recent down market is 801 11th in the Hill Section (4br/3ba, 3020 sq. ft.), asking $1.970M.

This is a custom build from 2004 that has had a troubled history on the public market. What's that? What ever could be wrong with a sharp, modern, open, newer home near downtown in the prestigious Hill Section? Well, this very strategically shot exterior photo doesn't quite convey that the home lies at a somewhat busy intersection near MBB and backs up to a commercial property.

Looking to score big just 2 years after building, the then-owner asked for $2.449M in 2006. The market said no to that, and also to listings for $2M in 2006-07.

A $1.600M short-sale listing in 2010 also flopped, and the home foreclosed. But then the story brightens.

A would-be flipper/investor bought this one at the courthouse steps for $1.320M in Summer 2010, then brought it out in September 2010 for $1.6M again. No, no, no, the market said once again.

The foreclosure flipper finally turned over the keys for $1.380M in early 2011. Now that was a steal, not to mention a slap in the face to the flipper. 

But the flipper was right, the home was undervalued in the $1.3s. The flipper just needed to be patient and let the down market play out. But that's not how those operations work.

So, the buyer who ground the flipper is now the one who stands to make a nice profit. The list price of $1.970M may or may not pan out, but the seller is looking at perhaps $500K or more when a deal does get done.

$500K+... Not bad for 3 years' work hanging on.

Another Mediterranean over in the Trees scored very well after a short-sale acquisition.

That'd be 2304 N. Poinsettia (5br/5ba, 4175 sq. ft.), which closed in early January for $2.725M.

No, it didn't hit the $3M asking price – we would have been truly shocked if it did (see "Is $3M the New Normal in the Trees?") – but the sellers did very, very well. They bought this one as a short sale with repair issues in Summer 2011 for $1.700M.

The buyers transformed the home while fixing it up, giving it a super sharp style, finishing out the basement, and generally taking a typical Tree Section Mediterranean and turning it into something special.

Yeah, that's what they thought, too, rebranding the home as "Urban Morocco style" and asking $2.995M. But they got nearly $1M over acquisition in the space of less than 3 years. Even deducting the cost of renovations and sale, that's a deal most of us would be happy with.

And then there's 316 45th (3br/4ba, 2140 sq. ft.), the mega ocean-view TH in furthest-north El Porto.

We're not sure they even unpacked their boxes in this one after legally stealing it as a short sale in December 2012. The listing popped up at $1.500M and the buyers then paid $1.537M. And there was never an indictment.

By August 2013, the home was back, asking... gulp... $2.635M.

That markup was preposterous, but the sellers actually knew that. They took the first good offer that came to them and got $1.995M in a deal that closed in November last year.

That was a very quick way to make $400K in less than a year, even if it wasn't the $1M they fantasized about.

Hey, did you steal your home? This may be a great time to sell. That's what the market's saying.

Please see our blog disclaimer.

Latest Listings Among
Manhattan Beach Homes For Sale