Steal This Sand?

By Dave Fratello | January 24th, 2012
We won't have to say much for you to recognize a possible steal of a deal.

Sand Section.

Full-size lot.

Price with a 7 in front.


That'd be 433 Marine Place we're discussing – a full-size lot (2700 sq. ft.) along a nice street just steps from Grandview elementary and with ocean-peek potential. And forget that formal address, which sounds like (and is) off an alley. The lot comes all the way forward to 23rd St., where the address would properly be 432 23rd. (The current structure, pictured here, is tucked away back on the alley.)

The start price: $725k.

By way of comparison, on the open market today you can find 2 smaller and much less-well-located Sand Section lots at similar prices:
  • 3600 Vista is a pebble's throw from Rosecrans and the lot's just 1800 sq. ft., or fully one-third smaller than 433 Marine Place. It came up at $715k in mid-December. We love the stunning forthrightness of the listing description, mentioning a leaky roof, water damage, potential mold and – to summarize it all – "decades of deferred maintenance." (Note: This one's in "backup offer" status, meaning they've got a deal but will entertain others.)
  • 212 38th Place is a back-alley half lot in El Porto Norte that's actually asking the most of these 3 listings: $750k. That price didn't look completely crazy when it popped up in early December, but it sure looks horrid against the full lot up by Grandview.
Ah, but there's the tell. If a smaller lot in a worse location is priced higher – that means that what we're seeing here is that Marine Place is willfully, woefully underpriced.

It's an unlabeled auction.

The fuller story is that 433 Marine Place is in probate, with the sale subject to court confirmation and overbids. First they'll auction the property off by collecting multiple bids (they've got some now), then the conservator will name a winner, and down the road, that winner can later be outbid in court during the "confirmation" process.

It's a messy way to find the market value, but that's how they'll do it.

The last time MBC covered a home in a similar situation, it was the "grim, destroyed" house at 1801 Elm in the Trees. That one literally went up for auction – a 90-second affair held at the property in December 2009 – and closed 4 months later. The auction winner there paid $805k, but could have been outbid during the court confirmation process. No one tried. (See "Probate Auction Home Closes," from April 2010.) Last we saw at Elm, the new owners were engaged in a major remodel.

There's really no remodel potential at 433 Marine Place. The little 2br/1ba, 650 sq. ft. structure's days are numbered. This block of 23rd St. is largely packed with THs – 2 connected units on a full lot – from the 90s and 2000s. And that's likely the ultimate fate of this property. It ought to be redeveloped with new THs.

On the same block more than a year ago, 442 23rd St. sold for $1.325m. That's an odd duplex (2 separate structures) on a larger lot (40x90, 3640 sq. ft.).  They kept the duplex as rental units, at least for now. That sale hints at a value for 433 Marine Place below $1m, but we would not be surprised to see it go higher based on other comps.

It could be midyear before we see the sale close up and get a price for the dirt here. We'll report back when we see it wrap.

Please see our blog disclaimer.

Latest Listings Among
Manhattan Beach Homes For Sale