Weekend Opens (1/12-1/13)

By Dave Fratello | January 12th, 2013
This week, it's not just Game ON for the NHL (and our Kings' title defense), but it feels the same for local real estate.

After a few straight weeks of triflingly few new listings and open houses, we're already seeing a nice little crop come out. Sand Section, Tree Section... the engine is starting to turn over.

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

525 2nd
525 2nd (4br/4ba, 2750 sq. ft.) is an updated version of a mid-90s home with a good layout on a nice street in the South End.

There's not a wasted square foot inside, it seems. The open kitchen features both informal and formal dining right off of it. The 2-story first-floor living room is not one of those forgotten "formal" spaces, it really is the family living area. A separate office (with bath and closet, so technically the 4th bedroom) finishes out the first floor.

Upstairs, you have a kids' wing in back, and an adults' wing in front. In a savvy and efficient use of space, the bedrooms are in back sharing a jack-and-jill bath in one corner off the house, and the kids' rooms are entered through a sizable playroom of the kind we often label a "kids' living room." What's more, that room closes off with double doors, to muffle sound or just hide the (inevitable) mess.

The large master suite, with high ceilings, lots of light, double closets and a spacious bath consumes the front half of the house, plenty insulated from the kids.

In July 2007, this home sold for $2.125M. This year they're looking for a little markup over 2007 to $2.299M (+$174k/+8%). You may ask: Since when are people getting more than 2007 prices? Well, don't be totally shocked, it's happening here and there in highly desirable parts of town (Martyrs, 100-blocks, etc.). We'll see what they hit here.

525 2nd St. starts at $2.299M and is open Sun. 1-4pm.

332 1st Place
332 1st Place (3br/2ba, 1450 sq. ft.) is about the cheapest way you're going to get into the South End these days. They're asking $1.350M for an interesting 3br remodel of a boxy 60s house that runs right along sleepy Morningside Drive. 

Technically this is a standalone, detached TH rather than an SFR, which matters most in terms of how it may limit development on the site. In other words, you can work with this structure with a fairly free hand, but razing it and starting fresh – if you ever wished to – may be out of the question.

The layout puts the master downstairs and 2br plus the wide-open, bright living spaces on top. The kitchen is nicely updated, with just a few rough edges. The bath upstairs is cute, though the claw foot tub is supposed to serve the denizens of the 2br upstairs – no shower. Curious. One of the attractions of the house, despite its smallish size, is the huge feeling upstairs that you get from the big views of the Hill Section to the east. (The views might be improved without the faux divided windows.)

Garage living room at 332 1st Place
Downstairs, you get 2 surprises. First, the master is a pretty good size, but its updated bath feels almost huge for this size of house, with a double shower and his-and-hers sinks.

The master closet holds the key to the next surprise: Access to a bootleg extra family room in the garage. Sure, you don't have to use it this way, but if you do, now you're approaching 2000 sq. ft. of living space. (Street parking is generally adequate in the area.) That garage space opens out to a quiet alley that serves more or less as the neighborhood "yard" – unless and until the kids shuffle down to the beach or the nearby Robinson school fields to run around. This is called "making it work to live near the beach."

The last sale on this one was in Nov. 2005 at $1.225M. 332 1st Place starts now at $1.350M, and is open Sat. & Sun. 2-4pm.

3116 Alma
We just mentioned 3116 Alma (4br/2ba, 2500 sq. ft.) in our year-end wrapup of Sand Section sales for 2012. (See "High Points of 2012: Sand Section.") It sold last May.

But here it is again.

Turns out, the new owners' company has unexpectedly relocated, so they'll need to find another new owner for this cool old Spanish.

What you'll find today is pretty much what you could find in the house way-way-back in November 2007, when we reviewed the home in "Old's Cool." (Sans the cigarette smoke that irked us then.)

Having visited this property about 5 times now over the years, we're struck by the extremely good luck we've had in one regard. It seems every time we go by, the skies are remarkably clear, showing off those high-up-off-Alma views that stretch on and on and on in every direction. Our Friday tour was no exception – maybe even the clearest views we've ever gotten after Thursday night's wind cleared up the air.

The outgoing owners developed plans for a remodel of the property, worth a look if you get a chance. They were going to ditch the Spanish look in favor of Cape Cod, and open up the first floor a lot.

In 2012, 3116 Alma sold for $1.875M in May. It starts now at $1.995M, and is open Sat. & Sun. 2-4pm.

Tree Section

616 35th (4br/4ba, 3550 sq. ft.) is a 1980s Spanish (with a 1990 build date) on a larger-than-average 5400 sq. ft. lot. It's nicely refreshed, bright and ready to go – and may be some kind of bellwether for the kind of season we're going to have in the Tree Section this year. 

The layout has some artifacts of that bygone era – an alley kitchen, though one that does open up to the family areas in back; a step-down living room in off the central hallway; and almost grandiosely large kids' bedrooms upstairs. (We'll take that over some of the squeezeboxes that became epidemic in the 2000s development cycle.) Nearly the whole house has hardwood flooring, including the updated kitchen.

The master suite is large, as expected, though the bath will want a refresh some day. There's a dedicated office in the hallway just off the master that captures afternoon sun.

Of the remaining 3br, two share a hallway bath, while another, up front, is a sizable suite unto itself. The backyard is of a pretty good size on the sunny southern side.

Is anything spectacular? Not really. But this is today's $2M house in the Trees.

We're reminded 2 other Tree Section sales from last year: 625 25th (5br/5ba, 3525 sq. ft.), which was newer (1996) but really cried out for updates. It sold quickly above asking at $2.025M, surely a reflection of the great location. The other is 1805 Walnut (4br/4ba, 3350 sq. ft.), a Tudor-inspired mid-80s house that had just gotten a huge whitewash of paint but creaked more from the weight of its 1980s styling than 616 35th ever does. Walnut went fairly quickly for $1.705M.

616 35th has the larger lot and the advantage of occupying the field nearly alone in the Trees right now. It starts at $1.995M and is open Sun. 1-4pm.

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