Tough Location Can Make a Sale Hard

By Dave Fratello | January 24th, 2014

Obviously location is a key issue – maybe the key issue – in whether a home is desirable. Start with a subpar location, and you can expect a rough time on the market. Yes, even today.

It's also true that every home has its price. So it can be interesting to watch what happens with homes that have an obvious location issue. In theory, a seller should be able to "price in" the location problem and get buyers off the dime. But sometimes a home will just sit. Here are a few to watch early this year.

One on the market in the Trees now would be 3516 Blanche (3br/3ba, 3000 sq. ft.). This one is the longest-running Tree Section listing now (among 6) besides a new construction project that wasn't fininshed when it first hit the MLS.

3516 Blanche is only in its third month, and it launched late in the year last year, so we doubt anyone is panicking over the fact that it hasn't sold yet. They hope to get their price in Spring. But the launch at $1.884M was clearly ambitious, given the 3br limitation and the fact that Blanche is a notably busy street.

When this listing occupied the field more or less solo, they didn't draw a buyer. Now they'll face real competition.

For instance, compare it to the new listing at similarly numbered 3615 Laurel (4br/4ba, 3250 sq. ft.), a 1998-built Cape Cod that is comparably close to Rosecrans, but not suffering the busy-street liability of the Blanche home.

We saw this one with clients during its brief appearance on the market last Fall. They're back now a bit higher than last October at $1.739M. And guess what? We'll bet they draw more offers in a week than 3516 Blanche has to date.

Besides the location issue, Laurel has an extra bedroom going for it and a price that's $150K under Blanche. That makes for really no competition between the two – you wonder if Blanche will notice, and eventually adjust the price.

Head over to the east side for a couple more to watch.

In a matter of days, two new listings near Meadows Elementary drew immediate offers, showing what's possible in the $1.3-ish price range on the east side.

They were 1163 Meadows (3br/2ba, 1485 sq. ft.) (pictured), asking $1.299M, and 2009 Faymont (4br/2ba, 1420 sq. ft.) asking $1.249M.

The remodel on Meadows is actually notable for its proximity to MB Blvd. and the school. You can't call Meadows a quiet street there by any means, though the home's position up above the street does minimize the impact. The remodel was so great, they drew offers before the brokers' open last Friday.

2009 Faymont is in an interior location and has no issue holding it back.

But 1650 22nd (3br/2ba, 1265 sq. ft.) is a comparably priced listing that hasn't yet made a quick deal. This flipper remodel does have a high hurdle to jump: That location on Redondo Ave. is busy, busy, and the very nice modern remodel can't disguise that.

They launched at $1.299M, and quickly cut to $1.249M.

Late last year, the flippers paid $929K last September for a partial shell of a house. They did their work, and here it is. On paper they're probably near the right price. But will buyers make a move on it, or wait for something comparable that's not on a busy street?

New to the market is 2200 Wendy Way (4br/2ba, 1775 sq. ft.) at $1.349M.

This is a thorough, recent remodel with open rooms and modern everything. There's a fourth bedroom, extra square footage and a sizable yard.

But.

That backyard is up against Aviation Blvd., and that means traffic noise and more. For lots of buyers, that is a sure no-go. Have they priced in the Aviation issue, or not?

Take a look back at our post compiling the 2013 sales in Liberty Village. This one is priced comparably to the two highest-priced remodels sold last year, 1813 23rd (3br/2ba, 1750 sq. ft.), which closed for $1.356M in October, and 1909 Faymont (3br/2ba, 1820 sq. ft.), which got $1.350M in April. But neither of those had a busy street issue. (You could argue that 1909 Faymont lacked much curb appeal.)

Whatever happens at 2200 Wendy, the flippers will make their money. They obtained this property last year as a short sale for the head-smackingly low price of $850K. (See that listing here.) MBC called it "the anomaly of the year," but that's sometimes how short sales work out.

There's no doubt, as our real estate "Spring" begins to get under way here, there's still a great imbalance between buyers (too many) and sellers (too few). That should give listings with location issues a fighting chance. We'll see how this set pans out.

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