Weekend Opens (10/2-10/3)

By Dave Fratello | October 2nd, 2010
It's Summer October, and they're still debuting new listings.

In between trips to the bean-bag toss and beer garden this weekend, there's plenty of new RE to see to get to know your hometown just a bit better.

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

We ask MBC readers who visit the featured homes, or any open house, to also report back in the comments here. Tell us what you see, what you like and what you don't like.

Sand Section

410 31st (3br/2ba, 1600 sq. ft.) is a late-60s original with updates on a corner with Vista up on the plateau.

A quirk and an asset: Do you see that window on what looks like the third floor, showing clear blue sky? That's the roofdeck, a very spacious (800 sq. ft., they say) bonus outdoor space, well-used by the current owners as an extra living room. It grabs a sliver of an ocean view to boot, but big new construction next door to the west appears to have wiped out much bigger views.

The home's fairly fresh inside, though the layout will pose a challenge, with the effective master downstairs in a space that evidently was once a separate, second unit. You'll still see the artifacts of a modern kitchenette, if no fridge or stove.

410 31st was purchased for $1.450m in Dec. 2005, but starts now at $1.195m (-$255k/-18%) less than 5 years later.  It's open Sun. 1-4pm.

121 15th (3br/4ba, 1900 sq. ft.) is a newer (2006) townhome so close to The Strand you can taste it, and just steps from downtown as well. The top floor drinks in huge blue views over the tops of Strand homes and the shorter next-door neighbor.

Those are nice assets, but the bedrooms and living spaces feel small at nearly every turn. And one bed/bath combo is by itself on the garage level, not such a great deal for the family member who gets stuck downstairs.

This one's a clean, attractive option for a second home, but could be too tight a fit for a primary residence. And at $2.249m, there's a smaller buyer pool looking for a getaway. 

Noting the 2006 build date, we looked for prior sale info to use to gauge this year's list price, but found no record. A late-2005 listing for the completed home asked $2.249m (same as this year), and the current tax-assessment value is just north of $1.9m, perhaps after a reduction-in-value reassessment in recent years. 

The attached, comparably sized unit (118 15th Place) sold in January this year for $1.7m, using the same agent who's now running 121 15th. On the rear unit, we see a prior sale in Oct. 2006 at $1.770m, substantially below the sold price on the front unit a few years back. They also never asked more than $1.899m new for the rear unit, though the prior owners of the rear unit did try to get $2.3m at one point on a quick resale back in '07. (No dice.)

121 15th starts at $2.249m and is open Sun. 1-4pm.

Tree Section

2613 Pine (3br/2ba, 1800 sq. ft.) is as charming as its shingled, updated exterior suggests.

The original 50s cottage sprouted an addition in back at some point that gives you a bright, good-sized master upstairs and a great family room downstairs with windows and french doors on two sides, opening out to a big, wraparound hardscaped rear patio and yard.

There's also a living room up front by the kitchen and dining area. Though the kitchen's narrow, it's fresh and workable.

As to the bedrooms, one is very small, and the master is up a half story above the others. Some families with small children won't go for a layout where the master's separate; here it's a closer call and may not raise the objection as strongly.

The home's been refreshed with new paint, carpet and staging, giving it the best possible look.

2613 Pine starts at $1.299m and is open Sat. & Sun. 1-4pm.

3524 Laurel (4br/5ba, 3200 sq. ft.) is a typical Tree Section speckie in many ways, though it sports a 2010 build date – there haven't been many other newbies this year. We saw this one on the market for a few months this Spring and Summer while under construction. Back then, they were seeking buyers and asking them to choose their finishes. Lacking buyers, the builders chose some.

The total package is disappointing. Vinyl windows are downscale, and the flooring, called "Merletto hardwood" in the listing, isn't as attractive as the wood we've seen in other new homes.

The floorplan tries to accomplish everything. There's a big, separate living room up front, but it's right at the entry. The flow might be disrupted if the room were furnished. There's a separate office with pocket doors right off the entry, also, touted as a potential fifth bedroom, plus the actual 4th bedroom (with bath) stashed away to serve as a guest room for those who'd rather not use the stairs.

The kitchen/great room/yard combo at the rear of the house is how things are done these days; these areas have the nicest feel overall, with the exception of the old block wall outside that will mostly, gradually, get shielded by plants.

The 3 BR upstairs are decent, with a large, open loft/work/play area as a nice touch.

3524 Maple starts at $1.849m and is open Sun. 2-5pm.

The home we called 3603 Flournoy the other day will soon be known as 3615 Flournoy instead, when the city finishes approving the address change. (City officials imposed the new number.) Right now it's still legally 668 Rosecrans (3br/3ba, 1650 sq. ft.) and yes, Rosecrans and the refinery are factors at the house.

The home's not quite as confusing as its address, but this quirky starter also doesn't really live up to its billing as "remodeled with decorator touches." It's upgraded from its poor condition from 2005 (purchase in April '05: $795k), but many of the upgrades are recognizably low-end. One closet features an old, plastic accordion-type door, one of a few spots around the house where you see that the remodel was spotty, not complete.

The family room is a step down from the entry level, with tall ceilings, an old rock fireplace and a built-in loft bed/closet (huh?), opening onto what seems a newer sunroom with hot tub along Rosecrans.

We note that the 2005 listing for 668 Rosecrans included the prediction: "upgrading this home would create tremendous value." A local agent bought the home and did the work, and is now listing the property. Now we'll see how that prediction pans out.

668 Rosecrans 3615 Flournoy starts at $1.149m and is open Sun. 1-4.

The first two words to hit us in seeing 1605 Pine were "deferred maintenance." The exterior is weathered and broken in parts, the small patio/deck at the entry shows clear signs of termite damage and paint has reached the end of its useful life.

Inside, despite some cheery colors here and there, the tiny, vacant house fairly begs, "take me down to the studs and start over." A surprise: The home offers a roof deck that's among its cleanest, most stable features.

The good news for neighbors may be that this listing's stubborn holding to a price near $950k ($949k now) over nearly 60 DOM says something about the value of land plus a barely adequate structure in this location. Then again, buyers can find livable, updated houses for the same price here and there in the Trees, with less of a nice location.

The description of this home as a "white picket fence charmer" is a stretch, even though 3 of those words are accurate. There's no debating one thing: the word "wonderful" does not belong.

1605 Pine is open Sat. & Sun 2-4pm.


For another view on some of these homes and a couple others east of the highway, see Janie Sue Nagy's post on this weekend's crop of new opens.

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