Two Comebackers, Different Trails

By Dave Fratello | March 17th, 2011
We're a little bit surprised to see 2 "new" listings that are actually familiar returning this week. Each has a different story line and, we'd bet, a different fate.

One has been on and off the market pretty much ever since MBC launched 4 years ago. Another was rejected by the market last year but has made a real effort to fix some problems.

If we had to guess which will have the harder time this round, it's got to be 521 MBB, again.

Normally duplexes don't hit the MBC radar, but this one did during our first month, March 2007, due to the pure chutzpah of the sellers owners, who bought the place in Aug. 2006 and were trying to quickly flip it for a $300k net profit. (Hence the title of our post: "I waited 6 months, now give me $300k.")

It turns out, that Aug. 2006 purchase at $1.495m was a major overpay. (Helped by 90% financing from the bank with the stagecoach, which is often pretty conservative.)

So no profitable resale was to be, nor was any rescue sale, as those were tried later in the game. No one wanted a little duplex near Ardmore, in a spot well-suited to watching traffic stopped at the red light, for $1.9m in 2007, nor for $1.6m in 2008, nor for $1.5m in 2010.

A buyer did knock late in 2010 when the property was suddenly offered short for $980k. (See "Forget the $300k, Forget It All.") But that deal flopped and the property foreclosed late last year.

Now the bank thinks that the starcrossed duplex, officially an REO, is worth $1.285m. Or at least that's their opening bid.

If we're skeptical of the pricing on 521 MBB – that's been a good bet so far – we're equally intrigued by the effort that has gone into refashioning 1908 Elm.

This Tree Section home (4br/3ba, 3500 sq. ft.) is a mid-80s build, and that still shows on the outside. Last Summer, we named it – controversially – as one of a few "ugly ducklings" that were on offer at the time.

You're not supposed to say those things out loud, but as it happened, the market rejected the home at prices of $1.499m-$1.590m precisely because the dated interior was such a project.

So the sellers did something impressive: They remodeled the home to make it salable.

The kitchen's up to date. The living room's built-ins and heavy brick were removed. The master bath was pulled toward 2011, the brass-framed shower replaced by an all-glass enclosure. And so on.

The listing's back at $1.595m, and will be up for a fresh look by everyone this weekend.

The REO on MBB has to sell. Elm's owners look like they mean to sell. Where these end up will be an intriguing study later this year, no doubt.

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