Weekend Opens (10/20-10/21)

By Dave Fratello | October 20th, 2012
This is a big week in the MBC household not because of anything specific RE-related, but something else. So before we dive into Manhattan Beach real estate, permit us a little sharing.

Mrs. MBC got a very nice writeup in the Beach Reporter (click that link!) for a project she's been working on for her blog, The Jolly Tomato.

Jeanne's "Real Food" series has put the whole MBC family on the road off-and-on for months, visiting farms and food facilities to see where food actually comes from.

Put it simply: Kids dig farms. Real food is good. And not everyone can do this, so Jeanne does, and shares. Everyone's better off.

Did we mention that you should totally check out the nice Beach Reporter story?

Now, back to real estate....

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

Sand Section

512 4th (4br/2ba, 1920 sq. ft.) offers a rare chance at a major fixer or lot sale in the South End, adjacent to – but not on – one of the area's treasured walkstreets.

The original 1940s cottage layout is in evidence here, though a later addition above the garage and part of the back of the cottage gives it substantial extra square footage. Rooms are on the small side and the layout feels chopped up. Almost everything needs to be updated and replaced to make the house a livable for someone spending $1.4m-$1.5m or more.

There will be a lot of interest here – we overheard that there are already a few offers in – and that may help the start price of $1.369m get out of hand before they seal it up. (The home is offered as-is/no repairs.)

Not so long ago, back in May, a house in superior (though dated) condition at 521 2nd sold for $1.370m, providing the most obvious comp here. With the winds blowing in the market these days and the x-factor of this one being nearer to the walkstreets, the only certainty is that it sells for less than $2m. (Right!??)

They're reviewing offers late Monday, so if you haven't got yours in the works yet, do.

512 4th starts at $1.369m and is open Sat. & Sun. 1-4pm.

Tree Section

3320 Bell (4br/4ba, 3050 sq. ft.) is a fairly recent remodel/rebuild in a distinctly modern style on the northwesternmost corner of the Tree Section, with a clear sightline to the Dune at Sand Dune Park.

It's an interesting layout downstairs, open and bright, with lots of windows and a mix of materials – concrete, bamboo, steel and glass. The kitchen is large and well outfitted.

Something fun downstairs is a secondary, smaller "living room" with a step-down area in the middle – call it a kids' living room, just off the main family room. That's a conversion of a former bedroom; all the current 4br are upstairs.

There is a largely paved backyard area that can serve as a nice, private outdoor hangout/living space, surrounded by a thicket of bamboo, though it's quite out of the flow of the main living spaces.

The master suite upstairs is bright and has some interesting nooks. Look out below, though... 2 segments of the floor are glass, to allow light into the downstairs spaces. Glass floors in your master bedroom! The master bath – with its wiggly, curvy lines meant to offset the rigid squareness of the house – rings some tones of the 80s much more than we expected. That bath wants some attention.

We found one of the secondary bedrooms upstairs quite dark – out of character for the house – but 2 more, sharing a jack-and-jill bath, were bright with high ceilings.

Location is surely a significant challenge here, though less so as Sand Dune Park's choking regulations have reverted the park to a very lightly used facility over the past couple of years.

3320 Bell starts at $1.799m and is open Sat. & Sun. 1-4pm.

3204 Poinsettia (3br/2ba, 1750 sq. ft.) is a sharply remodeled Tree Section house with a recent history of not selling.

In Summer 2011, this one was offered at $1.329m down to $1.299m, but it was also offered for rent – a situation we found worth inputting into some rent/buy calculators. (See "A Rent/Buy Example.") With a lease rate of $4,200/mo. last year, the equations clearly favored renting, and the property did lease out.

Now it's back up for sale $175k higher at $1.475m, but we will leave it to you to run the numbers. (The property is also informally available for lease, according to the listing; no rate is stated.)

It's a sharp little house, but with a different layout to suit the downsloping lot. The main living space feels open and somewhat modern. Yard space, however, is not very usable – with the downslope toward the back, you wind up with a deck off the great room upstairs, and a grassy patch and concrete patio off the downstairs bonus room.

This one was flipped successfully in 2007 by folks who had redone it – they paid $1.230m in early 2005 and resold it after upgrades for $1.515m in Summer 2007.

Even here in busy 2012 they're not quite aspiring to recoup the 2012 bubble price, even if they have marked it up 14% over 2011. (To repeat: It didn't sell last year, now they've marked it up – let's see what 2012 can do for them.)

3204 Poinsettia starts this time at $1.475m and is open Sat. & Sun. 1-4pm.

Hill Section

614 MBB (3br/3ba, 1600 sq. ft.) is one of the rear THs of a somewhat familiar multifamily building along MBB. Given its position at the back (southern) side, it's got assets that few can point to – including quiet, and views.

Views? From MBB? Yes, due to the rear position before the hill drops down. We caught definite ocean peeks and a substantial PV view, not to mention the trees and rooftops of the Hill Section and South End of the Sand.

Location almost could not be closer to downtown. In fact, upon visiting the open house, we thought of something needed from the beach supermarket just 50 yards away, and spontaneously went shopping. When downtown beckons that readily, it's close.

As to the layout, this one's upside-down, with 3br on the entry level – all high ceilings – and a long, long staircase up to the top level with a big great room. That's the common space. The TH is somewhat modern in feel, though we don't see evidence of updates beyond the 2001 original.

The complex has seemingly high monthly HOA fees: $280/mo.

There is a recent comp in the building: 604 MBB (3br/3ba, 1725 sq. ft.) sold in June for $1.052m. However, that one, by comparison, suffered great impacts from its position right on MBB – traffic noise is prominent. In back, 614 is quiet.

Now 614 MBB starts at the oddly precise price of $1.137m. Interestingly, the agent suggested that, when new, this one had sold at a $75k premium to the other units in the building due to the position and views. It's now $85k above the June sale on MBB.

614 MBB starts at $1.137m and is open Sat. & Sun. 1-4pm.

810 1st (5br/5ba, 4850 sq. ft.) is an 80s original on a big, flat, 9425 sq. ft. lot.

When it came out in August at $3.950m, we knew that was ambitious. It's down a little now to $3.795m and they're trying to rekindle interest.

We liked the basic layout and the flat lot, with its big, sunny backyard. We did not quite believe there'd be views until we saw the rooftop-and-ocean-sliver views from the first floor, and PV and ocean from the second.

It's a project for the next owners, however, without question. And it's more than just replacing the kitchen counters with granite and the blue carpet with taupe. So this one raises the question: Is it a $4m+ home when updated? Because that's about what you may have to put into it with an acquisition price anywhere near current list.

Looking back at our sense of comps from when we first reviewed this one:

The 9400+ sq. ft. lot makes it hard to find a true comp in the Hill Section.

Recent sales nearby include next-door neighbor 814 1st (4br/5ba, 3800 sq. ft. on comparative sliver of a lot [4700 sq. ft.] at $2.775m) and 832 1st (4br/5ba, 4500 sq. ft.), a gorgeous remodel with panoramic views (and a 6625 sq. ft. lot) that sold off-market in late 2011 at $3.166m.

As a kind of reference for land value, you can look to 636 8th, in a prime, prime view position up the hill, which went for $4.1m just 2 weeks ago. Lot there was nearly identical in size to 810 1st at 9950 sq. ft. (We never tire of the video of those views.)
810 1st is at $3.795m and is open Sun. 2-4pm.


Did we mention that you should totally check out the nice Beach Reporter story about The Jolly Tomato?

Please see our blog disclaimer.

Latest Listings Among
Manhattan Beach Homes For Sale