Steal This Shortie

By Dave Fratello | April 6th, 2011
First offered just after Labor Day last year, 421 26th (3br/3ba, 2900 sq. ft.) didn't get immediate interest, despite a short-sale start price of $1.449m – called an "auction price" on the flyer.

Less than $500/PSF in the Sand, with ocean views, a home so stylish it was once on the Sophisticated Snoops tour? What held people back?

It took the better part of 2 months for a deal to be inked last year because the home shows its age. Built in 1979 with a futuristic eye toward contemporary styling, the home had become a shadow of its former self, and the chopped-up, puzzle-like layout was just too daring and challenging to be near what most buyers would want now.

In our own review of the home last year, we called the home "busy and confusing," but noted that it was "full of light" and said "it's easy to see how some freshening up could make it very livable – if quirky."

A deal was in place for a while, and we might have seen the title transfer by now if only the buyers who made a deal last October hadn't walked. The bank had approved a short sale, but the buyers moved on to other things.

So 421 26th re-debuted in early March – again at $1.449m – generating no big waves at the time. But on Sunday it took a big turn down to $1.299m.

If that original price was an "auction price," then what's a 10% chop off that? Legal theft?

The listing now says the main lienholder has declared, "lower the price and blow it out," and "has promised to be supportive of reasonable offers, below [their] previously approved price."

The listing also says the property's being offered for land value (well, maybe close) and touts the possibility of rehabbing the home and flipping it for profit.

The rehab work for this house will be a costly and unique kind of project – how do you work with the style and yet update it? How do you replace all the custom pieces? And if you're doing all that, who's it for, now and in the future?

It's a difficult set of questions when you get down to it, but whether it's an auction, theft or whatever, we can see more people clustering around to try to answer those questions for themselves soon.

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