Weekend Opens (10/8-10/9)

By Dave Fratello | October 8th, 2011
Another limited mix this week, but there are good things to see.

A late add to the week's offerings is 2509 Laurel, which just fell out of escrow and will be open Sun. 2-5pm. That won't be listed everywhere, but here's your second chance to see it.

Just 3 weeks till the (not-dead-yet!) Pumpkin Races... that's how we mark time, post-Hometown Fair. (The squashes roll on Sun. Oct. 30.)

As we said last year as the races approached:

Get thee to thy workshop, dust off thine wheels, divine this year's plan of attack, and begin sawing, chopping, welding and generally engineering This Year's Winner. You can do it.
What, you're going to do it the night before?

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

As usual, we appreciate it when readers share views on this week's featured properties. Let us know what you like, don't like or must have.

Sand Section

513 3rd (5br/5ba, 4000 sq. ft.) is a newer (2002), pleasant Mediterranean on a street-to-alley lot, which means no garage face, though it's one block away from being on an actual walkstreet. Proximity to Robinson school, the greenbelt and the beach are all terrific.

The poor snapshots in the listing don't do this home justice, and it hasn't been open often, so this one is worth a look now that they're also starting to get realistic on price.

This week's cut to $2.399m at least puts it in range, even if we can't fully endorse that, either. Last year, they were at $2.799m. Achem.

What's to like? The luxe master up front, downstairs chill room opening to the private little yard – almost a walkstreet feel – and the bright, open, top floor kitchen/great room. Also, among the kids' bedrooms, one is a very complete suite with big closet and tucked-away bath of its own – painted a bold pink, it's clearly a princess's lair.

Head-scratchers: The formal dining room in the back off the kitchen seems almost like it could have been a bedroom, as does the neighboring study/office. The layout may have looked better on paper.

Price history note: This 2002 build turned over quickly, and profitably, in the early part of the decade:
  • June 2002 (new): $1.620m
  • Sept. 2004: $2.260m (+$640k/+40%)
  • May 2005: $2.750m (+$490k/+22%)
That's a 40% gain in 27 months before the first resale, and another 22% in just 9 months after that. Can you say "bubble?"

The current listing will celebrate 100 days on market on Saturday. And instead of looking for a markup over 2005 (that's rich!) as they did last year, the sellers are now somewhere in late 2004 at the $2.399m asking price.

513 3rd is open Sun. 1-4pm.

Tree Section

Just 3 weeks ago, we said 2509 Laurel (4br/3ba, 3650 sq. ft.) had "hit the sweet spot." A decent, big, refreshed Tree Section home priced at $1.695m? It scored a nearly immediate deal.

But it's back. The buyer has walked for unknown reasons.

There will be an un-posted open house Sunday afternoon. Here's our review from mid-September.

2509 Laurel is priced at $1.695m and will be open Sun. 2-5pm.

636 30th (4br/4ba, 3540 sq. ft.) is the second "Southwestern" style home in 2 consecutive weeks that we've been able to send readers to see.

Now, that style is rare for a reason – it's got limited appeal to today's buyers. It seems the sellers here know that, and have tried to dial down the "Southwestern-ness" of the home to a degree.

For instance, the saltillo tile floors last seen in the (failed) 2009 listing have been replaced with a rustic, distressed hardwood that is both more modern and still workable with the SW theme. Paint colors don't emphasize a desert feel. Though the transformation away from SW isn't complete, you can begin to see the home with a more contemporary remodel in mind.

Of course, if you like Southwestern, you can dial it all back up again.

The home's 4br are all upstairs, including one separate suite up front and apart from the others – nice for a guest bedroom (or a noisy teen). The master bath is the most updated, though the actual master has an odd step-up platform for the bed that must have seemed like a great idea in 1992. Carpeting throughout the upstairs is an odd, short shag with black flecks woven in with the sand-colored main threads. This also may have once seemed like a great idea.

Downstairs there is a treat beyond the kitchen/great room combo – a terrific outdoor room (pictured) replete with seating, fireplace and TV. There's also a separate outdoor patio with built-in bar & table and a not-insignificant yard. This is almost a lot of indoor/outdoor space squeezed onto the 4800 sq. ft. lot.

The kitchen was remodeled within the past few years, part of a general redo that certainly brought the home closer to "now" than '92, but as we imagine this house for potential clients, it needs one more round of attention to bring it to 21st century standards. The next owner has to decide if the SW theme is going, or coming back strong.

The location on 30th St. is on a sleepy, flat street, though it's notable that most of the across-the-street neighbors are not homes, but garages from homes on street-to-alley lots on charming 31st St. right up the slope.

636 30th was offered in 2009 at $1.775m, and starts now at $1.699m. It is open Sat. & Sun. 1-4pm.

East MB

1451 5th (5br/4ba, 3750 sq. ft.) could easily be in Manhattan Village, but it's actually on a good, flat street near Pennekamp. The pool in the big backyard is your own – no need to share with the community. (It's a 7500 sq. ft. lot.)

Though it's a 1992 build, the home's got a 1980s sensibility like homes in the Village, with split-level living spaces and an airy, bright, white mix of carpet, paint and light-colored, polished tile. And did we mention the glass block?

The layout on this fairly big home features 1 br off the flow downstairs and the rest up. All are quite big.

At this point, the home is clean and decent for what it is, but sincerely cries out for a refresher. Dropping in for our tour, we noted – it was impossible not to note – some missing bricks or tiles in the walkway up to the front door, the gap covered by an off-white carpet remnant. These things happen over 20 years, and you need to find a fix. (UPDATE: After this post, we got word that the tile fix was in process, interrupted just a couple of hours during our visit, and is now complete.)

1451 5th starts at $1.639m and is open Sun. 2-5pm.

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