Sunday Opens (1/27)

By Dave Fratello | January 27th, 2013
On schedule, we're starting to get that influx of new listings that we're hoping for.

This week, we can profile 6 new homes that had planned public open houses – though one sold too quickly and probably won't be open.

Before you know it, the Har-bowl will be upon us next week, officially launching Spring for local real estate.

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're thinking about getting into the market as a buyer or seller, please consider asking MB Confidential author Dave Fratello for help. For more, see MBC's Need an Agent?" page. 

Sand Section

472 29th (5br/6ba, 4600 sq. ft.) is an extra-large, newer (2003) home up on the plateau – a popular, family area that has been nearly devoid of listings for sale in recent months.

The reason they could build up the extra square footage here is that the lot is bigger – about 3000 sq. ft. instead of 2700, the standard size. This one extends back into what would have been the alley behind it – as do a few neighbors. At any rate, with greater lot size comes greater interior space.

You don't necessarily see the extra square footage in big ways. After all, a standard, maxed-out 4200 sq. ft. house on one of these lots is already plenty big. But you do see that ancillary bedrooms are all larger than is normal by the beach, and the top floor living spaces, which are all wide open, just seem to go on and on.

To wit: A huge kitchen with not one, but 2, center islands, plus a cozy, built-in casual dining space. (A booth!) So, yes, there's extra space.

We liked a couple of extra details, like the arched, wood-plank ceiling in the front living room. We did not find the bottom-floor covered patio off the media room all that inviting.

Views? From the master and front living room, they're mostly to the north, which means toward the refinery. In another living area in back, you see over the neighboring house to the east across the full expanse of the Tree Section, a hilly, green view that's quite nice. The listing claims an "ocean peek," but in 2 visits we never went out front to evaluate that – it'd have to be a real sliver while standing outside on a balcony.

472 29th sold new in 2004 for $2.250M.

472 29th starts now at $2.899M – the same price it was offered at off-market for a while late in 2012 – and is open Sun. 2-4pm.

128 1st Place (3br/4ba, 1835 sq. ft.) is a newer (2001), custom-built SFR in a pretty nice spot in the South End.

Sure, it's on a half lot on an alley, so maybe our South End bias shows through here. You do get some not-inconsequential views from the top-floor deck (though the listing pics seem to use telephoto), the sounds of ocean waves at nighttime from the master, and overall a rather pleasant, modern home.

Worth noting: The first-floor bedroom suite has a separate entry off the side of the house.

128 1st Place was around for a little while last year at prices ranging from $1.899m to $1.799m. We don't recall a brokers' or public open house then. It's back now a little lower than last year at $1.775m. It is open Sun. 1-4pm.

A strong offer came in so quickly for 319 36th St. - Unit B (2br/3ba, 1600 sq. ft.) that you may not be able to see it at the scheduled open house Sunday. It's already pending, and they're likely to cancel the open house.

What you have here is a 1980 original 2br townhome with effectively 2 master suites on the middle level, a little hangout room on the first (garage) level, and a spacious enough, open top floor with quite nice views toward the north.

Even in low-visibility conditions Friday, we caught clear views of the surf break in El Porto from the living room, and we could make out Malibu on the horizon. It would be something on a clear day.

The home has nice flooring and was fresh and clean, but will probably benefit from a facelift or once-over to update it more.

A little TH by the beach, good living spaces and views... that was attractive at a start price of $1.199M.

319 36th St. - Unit B might be open Sun. 1-4pm.

Tree Section

Check out the specs on 1728 Walnut (5br/5ba, 3900 sq. ft.) and you have to say, "Whoa, that's huge. They don't make 'em like that any more." Not in the Trees, anyway.

It's true. This 1990 build slid in right before the ZORP guidelines kicked in and shrunk most new construction in MB. (ZORP may sound like an evil overlord from another planet, but it stands for Zoning Ordinance Revision Program. That's bureaucrat-ese for "let's have smaller houses from now on." After 1990, we did.)

We've seen pre-ZORP houses in the Tree Section that pushed all the way to the back of the lot and left literally a postage stamp for a yard. (OK, not literally/literally, but you get the point.) This is not one of those. There's a very good, open yard.

The extra square footage here comes from a third story built into the back of this downsloping lot. You pick up a second family room and extra bedroom down there, both opening to the backyard. (ZORP would mostly preclude a 3rd floor like this now.)

And we do mean "second" family room, because there's a perfectly good one on the main (mid) level, part of the (still popular) rear great room arrangement, along with a big open kitchen. Yes, there's a "formal" living room also, but, hey, in 3900 sq. ft., it's feeling less like utterly wasted space than when 500 sq. ft. of a 3100 sq. ft. house gets put into service this way.

The remaining 4br are all upstairs in a conventional setup – 2 share a bath, one is a suite, plus the master. Everything's large, as you'd expect.

Nothing about the home is of the 21st century. The exterior look and interior layout & finishes have lots of dated and bygone features, and the house creaks just a bit in demanding a refresher. 

This is a home for a big family with a need for "big, right now," and it would help if they had some patience (and dough) to retool the place before moving in.

1728 Walnut's start price of $2.249M reflects the extra square footage more than the curb appeal or condition. It's open to the public on Sun. 1-4pm.

East MB

1221 6th (5br/4ba, 4230 sq. ft.) is a newer (2005) Cape Cod on a very decent block not so far east of the highway. It's got space, light and style in droves, and it's hard to imagine that it lasts very long at the somewhat new asking price of $2.099M. That's the way things seem to be going.

This is a standard 7500 sq. ft. lot, though the question occurs to you: Why the unusual orientation of the home on the lot, with the garages positioned sideways toward the front, making you walk along the driveway to the front door? Maybe it was just an idea for how to create something different (heaven forbid!), or maybe it was a way to cope with the significantly downsloping lot and protect most of the house layout from the quirks a downslope can create – too many steps, for one thing.

It's true, the interior suffers little from effects of the lot. You get a dramatic, two-story formal living room up front, and a more than ample great room in back, with just a little step down. There's more than enough yard in back, down a few steps from a little deck. You've seen bigger yards on 7500 sq. ft. lots, but this is more than enough, we suspect.

Note the extra square footage for this house – 4200+ sq. ft. – because this translates into a little more everywhere. A formal dining room that might seat 14 instead of 10, for instance. Here and there you see it.

Upstairs, the layout is conventional (welcome), with 2 bedrooms sharing a bath, one suite and the pleasant, large master.

There are 2 fairly recent trades on this one to go by. Brand new in 2005, it sold for $2.495M, which sure looks high in retrospect, then resold in March 2011 for $1.965M. (Ouch, that's a gouging, brutal $530K loss [-21%] over just 6 years. Timing is everything.)

Looks like this one will sell slightly above the price from 2 years ago when it resells this year. No, we don't doubt it will find a buyer quickly.

1221 6th is at $2.099M and is open Sun. 2-4pm.

1741 9th (3br/2ba, 1475 sq. ft.) offers just one (middling) photo as guidance to the would-be buyer, so here's a little more on the mystery behind the doors.

This is a single-level, 1960s original that's clean with a few, inexpensive updates. The floorplan is reasonably good – in the olden days, they put the "great room" up front, so that's where you'll find living, dining and kitchen, just off the entry. Yes, it's a little jarring to open the front door and walk right up to a rock fireplace that divides the room. But it was the style of the time.

Toward the back, you'll find a decent bedroom and a good-size master, plus a third bedroom, now serving as a study/office, which opens directly to – shall we say – a sun porch that's partly enclosed. The baths are not horrid, but not updated, either.

The garage is tucked far in back of this full-size, 7500 sq. ft. lot, along with a grassy area. Laundry is now set back in the garage. Worth noting: The house is a bit narrower on the lot to accommodate that side driveway.

This home is quite livable as is, if not special, and has some clear potential without a scrape. Being so very far east, we'd imagine that the next owner looks to make over the place with a moderate update.

1741 9th starts at $1.159M and is open Sun. 1-4pm.

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