They Just Offered What It Was Worth

By Dave Fratello | October 17th, 2022

We're going to tell you a little story, and you might say "buyer's market's on!"

But hold your comments, please.

You see, there was this corner-lot house in the North End of the Sand Section...

3108 Vista Drive Manhattan Beach CA3108 Vista, the postman calls it.

It's a 3br/4ba, 2000 sqft. SFR on what is basically a typical half lot, 1345 sqft.

The home was built in 2005. It's got something of a contemporary exterior, but the interior has some Mediterranean-inspired finishes that were popular at the time. (Dark wood flooring, beige travertine tile, dark stained cabinetry and granite kitchen counters, and so forth.)

Before it came to market this July, the home had traded three times previously:

March '06 (new): $1.619M

July '13: $1.605M

Sept. '17: $2.199M

And put a pin in this: In May 2017, before that sale later in the year, the home was listed too high for the market at $2.599M. Its eventual sale price was -$400K and -15% from the original ambition, 5 years ago.

As this Summer rolled around, the sellers set an ambitious price: $3.249M. (The property was Listed by Eri Nakazawa of RELO REDAC, Inc.)

Hoo boy, that price kind of stood out.

If you go back a year or more from today, you don't find half-lot Sand Section SFRs over $2.7M this high up from the beach. (This spot is equivalent to the start of the 400s; higher prices are in the 100-200 blocks.)

When sellers have been reading all about the hot, hot market for 2 years, sometimes they get big ideas, and this is how things start.

But so often, when a home comes out way too ambitiously like this, buyers just take a look, nod their heads, tsk-tsk a bit, and then decide to wait.

This is how overpriced listings roll on and on for weeks or months. Some even have to get re-listed.

Heck, it happened 5 years ago on this very site. The past sellers had to take 15% less than their start price when selling to this owner, and it all took 4 months.

But that's not what happened here in 2022.

This time, the home was under contract within 14 days.

A casual observer might have thought, "Ooooh wow, this market is on fire. They probably got more than $3M for that one."

Nope.

The sale has now closed (after a long escrow) for $2.650M.

That's a whopping $599,749 chop off the asking price (let's call it $600K).

It was 18% off the list price.

And it only took 2 weeks on market.

Really, it didn't even take that long.

It only took as long as was needed for the buyer and agent to figure out the proper value and make their case effectively.

The buyers just offered what it was worth.

They found a seller who was willing to follow the math, take their gains and move on. They weren't insulted by a fair-market offer.

And at the end of the day, the sale still ranks at the top of the rather small set of half-lot SFRs sold in the Sand Section over the past year-plus, above the 200 block.

So, everyone wins?

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We may be getting to a time in the market, or even just a time of year, when more and more buyers imagine that they can repeat the feat.

You'll see buyers and agents pull out their slide rules together, scan around for comps, make some comments about what the market outlook might be, and see if the can snag bargains for 10, 15, 20% under asking.

It usually doesn't work that way, and even more rarely does it work fast.

But people are gonna do it.

And they're gonna say "well, look what happened at 3108 Vista."

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