Weekend Opens (2/9-2/10)

By Dave Fratello | February 9th, 2013
The dam broke.

In just a week, 17 new listings have hit the market in Manhattan Beach, not counting 2 more that hit the MLS already in "pending" status.

That song about "too little inventory" had really gotten old, so it's about time.

This week's open-house roster is heavily weighted to the beach areas, with a virtual storm of Sand Section offerings. (Back east this weekend, they have too much snow. Here we have too much Sand.)

But if you're shopping the Tree Section or Hills, sorry – nothing new at all to tour there this week.

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

East MB

2104 Harkness (4br/3ba, 3200 sq. ft.) is a 1990 original that's been very nicely updated.

Disclosure: Dave is co-listing this property. Therefore, we're not going to offer a "review" per se.

Instead, we'll copy in the listing description and give you a chance to tour the property virtually with our walkthrough video (embedded below).

Please take note, this home has drawn immediate interest, and we must advise potential buyers to decide swiftly.

Here's the description:

This updated, turnkey home boasts high ceilings and a great open floor plan throughout. Gourmet kitchen features top-of-the-line appliances (Sub-Zero, Viking, Fisher & Paykel), walk-in pantry, spacious dining nook and connects to a warm, bright family room... [S]oaring master suite featuring cathedral ceilings, a large balcony/patio and a generously appointed master bath with whirlpool tub, separate shower and walk-in closet... Fun fact: Originally owned by Johnny Buss, one-time head of the LA Sparks and eldest son of Dr. Jerry Buss (owner of the LA Lakers).
Below is a full 7-minute tour, long for the internet, but short compared to the logistics of getting yourself there to see if you're interested. (Email subscribers: use this link to see the video.)

2104 Harkness starts at $1.549M, and is open Sun. 1-4pm. 

Dave will be around for much of the open house period; please drop in and say "hi" if you can.

1351 17th (4br/3ba, 3125 sq. ft.) is a 1992 build on a corner lot right across from Meadows elementary.

You might note that the basic specs on this property – location, vintage, bed/bath count, square footage and even price – present this property as a direct competitor for 2104 Harkness. For this reason, to minimize any potential bias, we also will not offer a formal "review" here.

Here's the listing description:

Don't miss this Mediterranean family style home in East Manhattan. Situated on a South facing corner, this home offers a fabulous floor plan, boasting 3122 sq. ft. (BTV) of living space, with all 4 bedrooms upstairs. Other amenities include a formal living room off the entry with fireplace and French doors that open to the front yard. A separate formal dining room also greets you as you enter. A very spacious family room is perfect for entertaining guests along with the open kitchen and a private hard-scape backyard. Upstairs include a large master with a walk in closet and views of Downtown LA. This home is near the award winning Meadows Elementary school and close walk to Poliwog Park.
1351 17th starts at $1.549M, and is open Sat. & Sun. 1-4pm.

714 Harkness (2br/1ba, 800 sq. ft.) is a small cottage on a half lot (3765 sq. ft.) quite far east.

The lot is unusual, running along Harkness but hemmed in on the north and south sides by other homes.

The use of the lot is even more unusual, even wasteful. The house is more or less in the middle of the lot, with enough space for a nice yard on the north side (good) and a nearly equal amount of space, largely paved, for – what? – on the south side (hunh?).

The home is small (you saw that it's 800 sq. ft.), with the common area(s) notably crunched. There's a little style to the galley kitchen, but we couldn't quite see it as "updated" and we did not see the granite countertops mentioned in the listing description, just white formica.

714 Harkness starts at $775K and is open Sat. only 1-4pm.

Sand Section

133 17th (4br/3ba, 2925 sq. ft.) gets you right down next to the water on one of the objectively great "teen" streets near downtown.

This is a 1921 original with updates and a spare unit in back. The main house has 3br downstairs with large, open living spaces up top.

Nice feature: The master bedroom, on the first floor in front, has not-kidding-ya, lying-down ocean views from bed. Why get up?

The views upstairs are even better, and the living room is oriented to take good advantage.

Though the back unit has a bedroom, modern bath and a large living room plus a mini-kitchen, it's one stovetop away from being a true standalone rental. It seems to be a rec room/suite for the current owners.

As much of a charmer this one is, we would note a couple of things. The main house could be a tight fit for a growing family. And we always prefer a walkstreet home that opens out to the walkstreet patio in some substantial way; here, it's quite a hike from the entry (far in back) to the front patio, so we'd imagine it would be little-used.

This home was last purchased in the same city, same location, but in different condition and in a much different market 4 years ago, in Feb. 2009, for $3.250M.

Photos from that 2008-2009 listing show a notably similar home, albeit with more spare and frumpy décor. We're told that the current owners did some work, too, beyond redecorating with good style. No doubt they did: Nothing really cries out for change today.

They'll benefit from that work and the steady 3+ years of market improvement since they bought this home. They're asking $700K more than acquisition to begin.

133 17th starts at $3.950M and is open Sat. & Sun. 2-4pm.

320 32nd (4br/4ba, 4300 sq. ft.) is a newer (2001) build with completely legit, huge ocean views and a familiar layout – 4br together on the midlevel, living spaces up top and an entertaining room downstairs just off the walkstreet.

A would-be 5th bedroom referenced in the listing is actually a second open room on the lower level – now a game room – but with a little drywall and a closet it would qualify. Those 5th br's are often unused, so this is a sensible allocation of space unless/until you need the room for someone to sleep.

Sometimes with 4br plus laundry together on a middle level, you see at least 2 of the bedrooms get short shrift: Big enough for a little kid with little stuff, or for visitors or vacation use, but not much else.

Yet here the layout is better than expected, with secondary bedrooms you could spread out into for year-round use. In part that's because they didn't go overboard with the master. It's just big enough, though it does get a separate sitting/reading area with some ocean peeks.

Another modern plus: a 3-stop elevator.

Views from the top-floor family room (balcony)
The top floor layout is broken up a bit, with the front and back halves of the house featuring defined spaces for formal living, dining, casual dining and family living. The back family room off the kitchen gets the best views in the place and is a huge magnet – you'd want to spend almost all your time there.

The kitchen, built of oak and featuring granite that dates the house a bit, may want some attention from the next buyer, but any re-do does not have to be all that pricey.

This home was under-exposed to the market in 2011 and looked positively dowdy inside at the time. It sold then for $2.7M. The current owners freshened the place up to maximize its assets. And now they have timing going for them in a couple ways. There's not another $3M-range ocean-view house on the market right now.

Disclosure: We have toured 320 32nd with a client.

320 32nd starts now at $3.299M, and is open Sat. 2-4pm.

420 36th (4br/4ba, 3000 sq. ft.) is a newer ocean-view Tuscan near the furthest northern edge of the plateau... not quite El Porto.

It's oriented wide along 36th on an 1800 sq. ft. corner lot at Vista. (The 60' x 30' lot is an unusual size.)

Big, open spaces upstairs take advantage of the light and views. There's really much more to see from this alley-adjacent location on 36th St. than we could have imagined before getting inside.

Many of the features of this home are conventional among newer builds: Dark wood flooring, nice stone flooring and tile, a high-end kitchen.

Among the 4br, one, on the first floor off the entry, is more like a full-blown guest suite, with a separate living room in addition to the bed and bath. It almost wants to be a separate 1br unit.

420 36th was listed new in 2009-2010 (tough years) without selling. It starts now at $2.199M. It's open Sun. 2-4pm.

NOTE: This property moved to a "hold" status and will not show up in a search; they will bring it back to market in March.

To look at 317 27th (2br/2ba, 1475 sq. ft.) from the outside is to kind of miss the point.

What this one's got is a dollhouse charm inside and mega ocean views outside from 2 levels.

Sure, it's an unusual place in some respects – but not very unlike a few dozen other 1950s/60s originals you may have seen that have been upgraded without really being changed.

The first level features a modest living room, dining area and a little pocket of a kitchen, but that kitchen is modern beach chic with a purely pleasing, bright feel. Just outside is a wide deck with terrific ocean views. It's chief asset #1.

The first level also has one bedroom and an updated bath. That bedroom opens to a shady porch out back.

Upstairs is another bedroom sleeping area, a modern bath and big living room with expansive ocean views, including a substantial sliver over the rooftops the west. Another ocean-view balcony qualifies as chief asset #2. A little office tucked away off the living room has a big ocean view, too.

Note: We can't fully call that a "bedroom" upstairs because it has no wall or door on one side – a sheer curtain can be pulled to separate it from the upstairs living space, but it's otherwise just one big open space upstairs. (The bath has a door.)

317 27th starts at $1.469M and is open Sat. & Sun. 2-4pm.

437 28th Place (3br/4ba, 1925 sq. ft.) is a newer (2005), custom-built SFR on an alley on the plateau.

This is listing #5 in the Sand Section for just this post, could it have ocean views, as do all the others? Yes – we saw real blue from the top-floor balcony, even the living room. The streak is alive.

This is a comfortable place with a wide-open top-floor living area. And since these half-lot homes often lack for common space, it's a nice touch to see a little landing on the mid floor that can host a mini-office area.

437 28th Pl. starts at $1.439M and is open Sat. only 2-4pm.

416 21st Place (3br/4ba, 1950 sq. ft.) is a rear-unit TH built in the early 90s with some real views.

Hold on. This is #6 out of 6 new listings in the Sand. They all had ocean views before. And here?

Yes. The streak continues through the end of our report.

Up on the top level, there's a substantial patio/balcony with real views to the north and west, and there are more to the south and west from the kitchen/dining area.

Each bedroom has its own bath; the master suite is positively huge for a TH, with a large extra space now set up as a small living room, complete with fireplace.

Some of the materials, and even updates, don't feel very now – black marble in several places, glossy black cabinets in the kitchen. But the wood flooring upstairs is a nice base for a refresh on the unit.

416 21st Place starts at $1.349M and is open Sun. 1-4pm.

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