Weekend Opens (10/9-10/10)

By Dave Fratello | October 9th, 2010
We're still seeing a steady flow of new listings here in October, but we saw a pattern among some of this weekend's opens.  So we'll focus mostly on new listings aimed at Tree Section buyers with vision.

You want to scrape and build? You can see past the flaws of a dilapidated old cottage? You've got more and more options these days.

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.

Tree Section

513 17th (3br/3ba, 1700 sq. ft.) is the one and only sparkling remodel we're featuring this weekend.

It's a special, inspired remodel on one of the great blocks in the Martyrs area. It screams "beach cottage" with high style, offers good family living spaces and a surprisingly ample back yard. (Thanks to a 5200 sq. ft. lot.) There's even a flat front patio off the living room that you can almost imagine using regularly.

The two downstairs bedrooms share a jack-and-jill bath, but one room also connects to a second bath shared with the first floor, making it a semi-private second option. The snazzy master is upstairs over the garage, raising one issue that we know some families will struggle with – the can-we-be-on-a-different-floor debate. Depends on the age of the kids mostly. Bonus: The master boasts ocean peeks.

The start price just a speck shy of $2m – a significant bite for a home of less than 2000 sq. ft. – is rooted to the plus location.

513 17th starts at $1.999m and is open Sat. & Sun. 2-4pm.

594 29th (3br/2ba, 1425 sq. ft.) is going to be hosting the most cluttered, borderline dangerous public open house of the weekend, and of recent memory. Nonetheless, it's one of the more interesting remodel opportunities we've come across in a while. Definitely worth a stop – just leave little kids outside.

First, to explain that warning – the home belonged to an elderly couple that recently passed (not in the home). Clutter abounds in every room, on every surface, on the furniture, on the floor. There's barely a safe walking path through the house, but it's enough to get through and see what 29th offers.

Though the home's packed with junk, the paint and carpets old, the windows questionable, the yard overgrown and crowded, somehow, it's fairly easy to see through all that and see a reasonably big cottage that could be updated with some pretty straightforward efforts.

The current layout basically works, and just needs a thorough modernization. If the structure's sound, this could be an affordable undertaking. The main impediment would be the brick fireplace that separates the living room from the kitchen; it could be kept as a unique feature in the updated house, or removed to open up a bigger great room.

It would be no surprise if 29th drew a crowd. Just please walk through carefully, single-file.

594 29th starts at $999k and is open Sun. 1-4pm.

If you're into scrapers, there are 2 priced quite near each other that are both open Sunday. They are 3401 Palm (pictured) and 1801 Elm. We won't bother you with the details on either existing structure, since most buyers will be looking at the land instead. (The current owners of 1801 Elm appear to have planned a remodel and punted. See "Probate Auction Home is Back.")

Both offerings have 4640 sq. ft. lots. The new Palm listing may seem – on the map – to be near the refinery and Rosecrans, but thanks to its position near the peak of a hill, and the downslope of the actual lot, neither of those potential downsides is prominent. Large, nicer, newer homes are all around. It's a pleasant surprise at $860k.

1801 Elm is up at $850k. The block and lot are both flat. Location is decent, with the only strike being, perhaps, that Sepulveda is relatively nearby.

Both 3401 Palm and 1801 Elm are open Sun. 1-4pm.

1605 Pine (3br/2ba, 1050 sq. ft.) was mentioned here last week as a home that begs for a complete, down-to-the-studs remodel. The existing structure isn't as completely wrecked or useless as most people will perceive at 3401 Palm or 1801 Elm, but we could still see Pine going as a lot sale eventually. (Lot size is a bit smaller than the norm at 4250 sq. ft.)

Current price of $949k reflects, in part, a nice location, plus some overestimation of the value of the existing home. Last week we quibbled with the description of this one as a "white picket fence charmer," whereas only the first 3 words were accurate.

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

1901 Palm (3br/2ba, 1650 sq. ft.) is different from the other fixers on this list. The home sports a 1950 build date, but has been freshened up here and there over the years. Most buyers will want to modernize it pretty completely, though the home's livable as-is without major improvements.

The list price of $1.245m is accounted for mainly by the larger lot (5100 sq. ft.) and sweet location. They kicked this one off at $1.350m in late September but made a quick adjustment.

1901 Palm is open Sun. 2-4pm.


For another take on some of these listings and others, see Janie Sue Nagy's weekend post here.

If you're interested in any of these properties, or something else, and need help finding a good agent, please consider asking MBC. For more, please see our Agent Referrals page.

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