Surprises Here in the 4th Qtr.

By Dave Fratello | October 26th, 2010
Among the most recent crop of new deals are a few mild surprises, some bigger surprises, and some just simply good deals that don't hold that level of intrigue, but are interesting nonetheless.

Just about the least surprising recent sale was someone's quick grab of 594 29th (3br/2ba, 1425 sq. ft.), the major fixer that MBC pointed to in a recent "Weekend Opens."

We noted that the public viewing was to be the most cluttered and "borderline dangerous" open you'd be likely to attend, due to the excessive clutter left behind by the (dear departed) owners.

The attraction? As we said just 2 weeks ago:

Though the home's packed with junk, the paint and carpets old, the windows questionable, the yard overgrown and crowded, somehow, it's fairly easy to see through all that and see a reasonably big cottage that could be updated with some pretty straightforward efforts.

The current layout basically works, and just needs a thorough modernization. If the structure's sound, this could be an affordable undertaking.
We know several readers looked at 29th; its potential charms were apparent. The new buyers will be the first to find out, during inspections, if the structure is actually sound, as you'd need it to be. 29th began at $999k.

2803 Pacific
Counter the near-immediate sale of 29th against the not-excessively-long wait for a deal at 2803 Pacific (5br/4ba, 4425 sq. ft.), and here you have a real surprise.

First, add a cool million to the price of the remodel over on 29th. In a much lesser location, someone has taken on a $2m+ project of an 80s home, a super-sized place that is a too-perfectly-preserved mid-80s relic that honestly needed everything. (The listing oddly touted, "Here's your chance to create your own home from this super clean home..." Stilted, but somehow true.)

Yes, the extra-big 8400 sq. ft. lot is a bonus, but the location is still on busy Pacific and there's an eyesore of a big electrical box popping up in the front yard, strategically almost-hidden by bushes.

The listing began at $2.099m and found a buyer priced at $1.999m. Someone with vision, no particular need for a plus location, and some kind of need for the 4400+ sq. ft. promised here, must have been captivated.

For a few dimes more, someone's taken 3212 Maple (5br/4ba, 3450 sq. ft.), which was on its third listing agent this year, last priced at $2.199m.

Not to beat up the Pacific buyers, but here you have a vastly newer house up to modern standards, no work to do, a better location, gettable for much less than the post-remodel price on the electrical-box house. It's got to be the space over there.

Maple's a treat. The 2007 build has a familiar layout featuring a living room at the entry, separate dining room and, of course, a great room opening to the yard. The master's terrific with a bath that shines.

In several places the home has a feature or detail that's a cut above. The current owners paid $2.5m in June 2007 and tried to recoup as much of that as they could, but we don't get 2007 prices anymore, right?

751 26th (5br/6ba, 3500 sq. ft.) found a deal in about 3 months. It boasts a great location, but a peculiar design we rated an "Ugly Duckling" in late July.

As we said then, the newer (2001) home has "some kind of attempt at a Spanish styling here, but it got squared off and flattened out. The beauty must be inside."

26th began at $1.899m as a shortie, with a most recent purchase in April 2005 at $2.1m. New in 2001: $1.475m. Last at $1.799m.

We close with a sorta fun coincidence – two neighbors of vastly different vintages down in the quiet South End. One still qualifies as a surprise.

421 2nd (4br/3ba, 1625 sq. ft.) was memorably labeled a "mature home" in the listing – it was also held up as both "move-in ready" and "an ideal remodel/rebuild candidate." As we said in "What Can You Get for About $1.2m?", those various descriptions "seem to cancel each other out."

The important point, though, may be as to local lot values. The 50s cottage/fixer/rebuild/move-in-ready/perfect home began at $1.299m and had a deal within a couple of weeks.

Could 421 2nd be the new yard for 417 2nd?

This is a newer (2004) Cape Cod (5br/5ba, 4325 sq. ft.) on a corner lot at Crest.

Like any good, newer Sand Section home, the structure uses up all the land and gives you no place to toss a ball, plant vegetables, run the dog or build a pool that the next owner will want to take out.  So who wouldn't want to buy the neighbor?

But that's idle speculation. The other interesting aspect of 417 2nd is that a sale was made for $3.507m in March 2007.

As we noted with some surprise in "A Boost Over '07?", 2nd came up seeking a "fairly modest" markup to $3.579m (+$72k/+2%), but still... "that's not the sort of thing that's working for most 2007 resales this year."

And yet, they had a deal within a month. Please go back to the beginning. Big newer Cape Cod. South End. Oh, that's a $3m home quickly. Surprised?

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