Sunday Opens (6/23)

By Dave Fratello | June 23rd, 2013

When Summer comes, sometimes new listings slow down considerably. We've already said we doubt that 2013 is going to follow the typical pattern – we expect more sellers to emerge this year than "normal" for a host of reasons, and buyers should see more choices.

This week is an example. There were 11 new listings over the course of 7 days, neither a bunch nor zero new choices.

But we must say this week's crop of open houses features the many quirky faces of local real estate. Only the big TH at 124 1st Place can really be called a straightforward home, but even there, they've created quirks with custom painting and decor that spice it up.

The balance of this week's new opens all have something to them that makes you say, "Hmmmm."

We've got an open at 468 34th this week, so please come by Sunday and check it out (1-4pm).

To plan your open-house tours for this week, use MB Confidential's online list of Manhattan Beach open houses (it's mobile-friendly!).

Hill Section

1022 2nd (3br/3ba, 2850 sq. ft.) packs a surprise or two in a home at the top of the hill.

There's a classic opulence to the living spaces and (smallish) kitchen downstairs, where 2 of the bedrooms are. Each of those bedrooms opens to the yard; one bedroom is quite large. The dining room doubles as a potential library with lots of built-in shelves.

Upstairs is a surprisingly vast-feeling entertaining area – high ceilings and extra space open out to a bright, sunny southern exposure, with a deck featuring views of treetops, PV and nice peeks of ocean and Catalina. The views won't be blocked; the neighboring properties are the yard and pool of a multi-lot estate with an address on 1st St.

The master is also upstairs, up front. (Although unfortunately quite a distance from the kid bedrooms downstairs in back.)

Garage? That's in back, but are you going to drive back there to park?

1022 2nd was last purchased in Dec. 2005 for $1.799m, and was offered in 2011 at that price. It starts now at $1.949M and is open Sun. 1-4pm.

Sand Section

124 1st Place (4br/5ba, 2325 sq. ft.) surprised us with 4 levels and quite nice ocean views, neither of which we quite expected in an alley TH.

And this is not your typical beige-and-white Spanish TH, no no no. The owners here have run with custom colors everywhere, dressing up the space with flash and flair. Bold green? Yes. Modern red? Yes. Terra cotta for a bath? Sure. Striking black-and-white patterned wallpaper? You bet.

Though the layout is pretty typical for a TH, with 1br on the garage level and 2 on a midlevel, that 4th br is dug out deep down below and might really work out more as a media room rather than a bedroom. We liked the sliver of an ocean view from the master – roll over to just the right spot on the bed and you'll catch the waves in the morning. The little balcony also has a mini hot tub.

The main living spaces upstairs are bright and open and, as we noted above, offer surprisingly nice views. The next-door neighbor, 128 1st Place, an SFR that sold for $1.725M just 2 months ago, did not have the same kind of views despite a slightly higher position; the quirks of the view corridor for 124 1st Place just worked out better. It's also got a good-sized deck to enjoy it all from.

The start price of $2.499M harks back to the property's first trade when new, at $2.330M in July 2006. And if you're wondering: Do people really pay $2.5M for townhomes? The answer is: In 2013, yes. There's the high at 2520 Alma (3br/4ba, 2520 sq. ft., $2.799M), the monster-view modern at 2417 Crest (3br/4ba, 2300 sq. ft., $2.575M) and the most recent trade, 3312 Manhattan Ave.   (4br/3ba, 2000 sq. ft., $2.299M). Much larger 2905 Crest (4br/3ba, 3000 sq. ft.) is in escrow, list price was $2.689M.

124 1st Place is open Sun. 1-4pm.

222 38th Place (2br/2ba, 1100 sq. ft.) is a little El Porto original (1927 build date) with fresh paint everywhere. It kind of says "vacation rental."

The bedroom layout is unusual – one downstairs tucked beyond a sitting room, another upstairs. The living room up front is bright and they claim ocean peeks.

The kitchen is decent, with granite tops and cabinets and appliances suggestive of a remodel in the 90s. There's a patio out back big enough for a hot tub and seating area – who knew you could get such a sense of space out of a 1350 sq. ft. half lot?

Along the same block early this year, a much larger and newer 3-story SFR at 228 38th Place (3br/3ba, 1500 sq. ft., with a roof deck) sold for $1.300M. This little one now starts at the same price.

222 38th Place starts at $1.300M and is open Sun. 2-4pm.

Tree Section

724 30th (3br/2ba, 1700 sq. ft.) is a 1940s original, as that little one "car" garage announces up front. (We're not sure we could park our golf cart in there, let alone a full-size vehicle.)

But this cottage has been added onto over the years, and now sports a fairly spacious and bright living room up front off the entry, and 3br on the main level. The remodel and additions are about 10 years old, the listing says, but might not feel that modern to everyone, with the kitchen's Spanish vibe feeling dated, for instance.

They added some bonus space up a flight of spiral stairs – a couple of loft areas over the kids' bedrooms and a bonus room to boot. Different.

There's a patio and yard space along the eastern side of the house – not a huge yard, but what do you need? Lot size is 4800.

724 30th starts at nearly $1.7M (the curious $1.688M) and is open Sun. 1-4pm.

East MB

1340 1st (4br/2ba, 1750 sq. ft.) is a 1950s original with additions in a nice location.

You almost could not be closer to the local elementary, and the block is quiet – no reason for anyone to be driving by if they don't live there.

Once we saw this one, we mentally noted it as a 3br. One is up front, just off the entry, and two more, including a long and large master suite, are in back on the east side of the building. The legal 4th br is a room with a closet that connects to the kitchen on one side and the living room on the other – better as an office (as shown) or playroom, or, perhaps with the walls removed, the space could be brought into the common areas up front to open up the layout.

The kitchen, as is, is quite open and was remodeled within about the past 15 years. It could probably use a refresher, but the appliances are decent and the cabinets solid.

The master bath is dated and unattractive, with brown and tan tile. (They didn't even shoot it for the listing pics). It really wants help.

The backyard area draws lots of afternoon sun, but the current owners ditched the idea of landscaping in favor of concrete pavers and a hot tub. It would be a pretty straightforward project to redo it and have a sunny, grassy yard – not huge, not tiny. (Quirk: The laundry room is accessed from outside in the backyard.)

This home could get your wheels spinning as you count up the list of little and big projects needed to make it great. But it all starts with location – is it valuable to have a nice little family home near school on a sleepy street? Sure. Can you refresh and retool this one to turn it into a well-done house? Probably so.

Recent comparable sales include 1250 Shelley (3br/3ba, 1850 sq. ft., $1.325M) and 1150 Keats (3br/2ba, 1275 sq. ft., in escrow at a list price of $1.075M but bid up notably last month).

1340 1st starts at $1.250M and is open Sun. 1-4pm.

1608 Wendy (4br/4ba, 3625 sq. ft.) is a big, newer (2009) home that backs up to trafficky Aviation Blvd., which translates to some kind of discount for the next owners.

Where else are you going to find nearly new construction for $1.6M?

The listing says, "This home feels and looks like it's never been lived in." 

We'd basically agree. It's wide open, sparely furnished and glossy, hardly giving a hint of habitation.

This is not the most architecturally interesting house we've visited in recent months, but it gets the job done, providing lots of space, a modern kitchen, nice baths and spacious rooms. They even tout the wide driveway, with room for 3 cars in addition to the 2 covered spots in the garage. And they've added air conditioning, knowing that the noise off of Aviation will cause residents to prefer closed windows from time to time.

1608 Wendy starts at $1.629M and is open Sun. 2-4pm.

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