Sunday Opens (4/14)

By Dave Fratello | April 13th, 2013

Everyone wants more choices – and they're coming.

East MB seemed to debut the most listings this week, so we'll start there. The Sand and Hill Sections: A shutout for the past week. Hey, folks, are you holding back?

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

1430 3rd (5br/5ba, 4000 sq. ft.) is new construction on a great, low-traffic block tucked away so near to school, and yet so far away. It's a great family-friendly location, and a quality Cape Cod with everything that's "now" beckoning buyers to make it theirs.

A wide-open first floor, plus-sized rooms, smashing, high-end kitchen, great room opening to the backyard, with a great, covered outdoor seating area with heaters. The public spaces are just terrific.

Upstairs, the master will have unobstructed views of downtown LA and the Santa Monica mountains on clear days. (It was foggy when we toured, but we believe that.) The lot is somewhat elevated, helping those views and allowing the huge 3-car garage to be partly buried, limiting its impact on the living spaces.

The start price of $2.695M here is going to make it harder for buyers to say "yes" – even if their hearts scream it – and it does seem to be a price that would set a new precedent. The square footage is actually a tad under 4000 and the lot size, at 6640 sq. ft., is 10% below the "full size" of 7500 sq. ft. that you find in other comparable sales in East MB. In general, any sale in East MB in modern times over $2.5M has had 4300+ sq. ft. and full size lot. But really none had the crowd-pleasing qualities of this one. And none was new in 2013. So we'll see if they can stick that ambitious landing here.

What matters first and foremost, after location, is the build quality and style. And here it looks like all A's.

1430 3rd starts at $2.695M and is open Sun. 2-4pm.

Hiding behind a fairly bland facade at 1622 9th (5br/6ba, 4525 sq. ft.) is a cacophonous display of bold, custom colors and decor, including the eggplant/purple kitchen, resounding yellow living room and multicolor patterned dining room – to name just a few of the wild directions this one goes.

You'd never learn from the listing description what to expect – it speaks in straightforward language about the granite counters, high ceilings and light rooms. Though it does call the home a "must see" and notes that it was recently featured in a local magazine... Well, be prepared if you "must see" it.

This is the third week running that the "most unique home of the week" award goes to an East MB house. We don't even award that every week, but recently there always seems to be something differenter enough to justify that distinction.

This is one heck of a way to break the spell of a big, cookie-cutter home that was probably all beige with beige carpets to begin. (Oh, did we mention the purple striped carpeting upstairs? Yes, now.) It will really take some imagination for buyers just to begin to consider the home with a more mainstream presentation.

Oh, right, the home itself... You know this layout, but with 4500+ square feet on a 7500 sq. ft. lot, everything's bigger. The spare bedroom downstairs is big enough to be a spare family room. The often-forgotten formal living room is big enough for an indoor basketball game. There's room for a nice interior patio framed on 3 sides by french doors – it's a very private indoor/outdoor space that might actually serve best to brighten up the downtairs common areas. After all, there's more covered patio in the ample backyard just beyond the great room.

We couldn't put a finger on why, but we did not love this particular block of 9th St. Maybe it was because we had just been on the truly treasurable block of 3rd with the new construction we discussed just above, and almost any East MB block would pale by comparison to that one.

1622 9th starts at $2.179M and is open Sun. 2-5pm.

1605 Meadows (3br/2ba, 1425 sq. ft.) really needs everything, and if not for the price ($999K), might be a candidate for one of the fix-and-flip crews that are out there to grab and remodel.

It's a 1947 original with an addition over the garage from perhaps 40 years ago. A charming touch when we toured was a photo from 1945-46 while the home was just being built along a dirt road. It's almost worth the tour of this home just to catch that glimpse into the past.

The home shows its age – flooring is original and scuffed, an old wall was removed from the 3rd bedroom to create an open kitchen/dining space, lots of fixtures are old, windows mostly single-pane – and so on. But you can see potential for giving the place a once-over. The rooms will still be smallish, the first floor layout a bit unusual, and the home can't be taken off the somewhat busy street, but you could have a decent home for perhaps $1.2M or so.

Points of comparison among some of the recent, comparable flipper remodels: 1159 Chestnut (3br/2ba, 1400 sq. ft.) at $1.159M when complete and 1605 Harkness (3br/2ba, 1500 sq. ft.), a showpiece that sold for $1.095M.

Disclosure: Dave has toured 1605 Meadows with a client.

1605 Meadows starts at $999K and is open Sun. 1-4pm.

Tree Section

725 12th (3br/2ba, 1325 sq. ft.) is fresh, bright, private and close to town, with a pinchable "beach cottage" feeling inside.

It's a great example of the most you can do to a little 1950s cottage. Wide open, high ceilings in the great room, a modern kitchen – with marble, not granite – and attractive baths.

There's also more outdoor space than you'd expect, with a very sizable and private deck off the great room over the garage, plus a very respectable backyard with faux grass and attractive landscarping around the edges.

This place is refreshed and beach-modernized from its state when last sold in 2008. Back then, it traded for $1.187M after listing at $1.4M.

Now it's listing at $1.4M, or $1,060/PSF – Sand Section prices for a home on a Sand-like lot in the Martyrs area with no views. Hey, it's 2013.

Disclosure: Dave has toured this property with a client.

725 12th starts at $1.399M and is open Sun. 1-4pm.

738 Rosecrans (4br/3ba, 2200 sq. ft.) is a reasonably sizable and comfy 2-story remodel with a cute front patio and yard area.

We liked the wide-open, long kitchen along the middle of the home, with a built-in dining nook. (No big, fussy formal dining area here; if you have a crowd, you're entertaining outside.)

There are 2 separate living/family rooms – one at the front of the home opening to the patio, and a much smaller one in back which suffices for an evening of reading or TV. Indeed, a larger back room seems to have been divided in half to create the smaller media room plus a home gym – one of these counts as the 4th bedroom with a closet – and you'd imagine removing that diving wall if you wanted a big, open family space in back.

Upstairs the master suite is probably half the floor, and the 2 extra bedrooms – sharing a hallway bath – are just enough.

We read and noted in the pics that the home featured a lot of oak wood and other wood trim, and worried that it might have a bit too much of a throwback feel. The listing description's reference to it as a "country house" further raised a worry, but in person, "warm" was more the feeling than "dated" or "out of place."

These days every homeowner along Rosecrans wants to be 610 Rosecrans, the utterly smashing modern rebuild that sold immediately recently and will set a new record price along Rosecrans for some time to come. That one listed at $1.399M and sparked a frenzy. Watch the sale price go up from there.

738 Rosecrans starts much more in line with the comps at $1.203M (203? Really?). It is open Sun. 1-4pm.

Disclosure: Dave has toured 738 Rosecrans with a client.

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