Weekend Opens (7/21-7/22)

By Dave Fratello | July 21st, 2012
In what really should be a beachy kind of weekend, all of MB's newest open houses will be east of Sepulveda.

Maybe check them out Sunday, late, then head over to the concert in the park. (This week: 80s hair band/metal tribute act Time Bomb.)

While you're shuffling around town this weekend, try to imagine how much easier, more fun and even more environmentally sound some of your trips might be in a zippy little electric car.

MBC author Dave Fratello is getting that experience firsthand for a couple of months, thanks to a promotional lease of a GEM electric car.

This 4-seater "Local Use Vehicle" (LUV) is courtesy of the South Bay Cities Council of Governments as part of demonstration project. Can we replace the use of full-size, full-power, gasoline vehicles for our short trips around town? Happily.

For someone who stays within the ZIP code most of the time, the LUV is ideal. Most car trips involve homes and offices right in town, or kid dropoffs/pickups within a mile or two. Why not save the gasoline for bigger trips? 

This particular LUV goes only 25 mph and has a range of just 20 miles, so there are tradeoffs. The demonstration project is going to switch to fuller size vehicles in its next stage; if you sign up for a placement, they'll likely give you one of the larger cars down the road.

We've admired the few little carts like this we've seen neighbors and some other real estate agents driving around town. It's already looking like we'll miss this electro-buggy when the time's up, and we may be in the market for one to keep.

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

1720 5th (4br/3ba, 2580 sq. ft.) is a probate sale and there is a deadline for anyone interested to submit offers before midnight, Sunday, so if this one is appealing to you, get on it.

Is it appealing?

It's a 1970 original that wasn't much of an inspired architectural achievement. Boxy with dated materials everywhere, the yard a mix of concrete and dead grass, the home is, at least, clean. It's been a rental for some years and was kept up to livable standards.

Still, the home offers the same entreaty to each visitor: Fix me. Save me. Please. 

That fix will be a heck of a job for the next owner, but this one's unlikely to go as a lot sale. The start price of $1.1m is too rich for the land alone this far east, and there ought to be buyers at the table who will look to refashion the place somehow.

On a positive note, the layout is favorable, with all 4br upstairs – each one, for whatever reason, having access to one large balcony or another. (Does anyone ever hang out on these bedroom balconies?) And the kitchen/great room is already in back, opening toward the backyard – the kind of flow you'd like to create in a modern home; the basics are already in place.

Note: There are several complexities to this probate sale, including the opportunity for the buyers whose "winning" offer is selected to later be out-bid during a court confirmation process.

1720 5th is listed at $1.1m, and is open Sat. & Sun. 1-4pm. Remember the midnight Sunday deadline.

If all you want is a nice house in the ZIP code, 1769 1st (5br/5ba, 2880 sq. ft.) may fit your bill.

A newer (2002) build with much of the feel, size and finish of lots of recent construction, 1st offers a pleasant surprise or two. (The hardwood floors throughout the upstairs living spaces were one surprise, for instance.)

The price is a bit of a surprise, too: $1.475m, more or less the same as its 2008 trade ($1.410m). 

The price is lower than the $1.7m-$1.9m you might see otherwise because the lot and home are smaller than is typical. The lot's just 4100 sq. ft. (41x100), smaller than a normal Tree Section lot and, frankly, not the kind of lot people usually go east for. And the location is quite close to Aviation, just a couple doors up. And with the smaller lot, you get very little "yard" in back.

Those compromises are what brings 1769 1st in range for some buyers who wouldn't otherwise get a 10-year-old Mediterranean with a big island kitchen and lots of bells and whistles.

1769 1st starts at $1.475m and is open Sat. & Sun. 2-4pm.

1324 Marine (4br/3ba, 3600 sq. ft.) is functionally a 3br home on a busy street with an upside-down layout (bedrooms down).

Why the reverse floorplan? Are there views? Well, over Marine you can see across the Village a bit toward the mountains. But no. Maybe the point of the upside-down setup was to create the spacious, flowing, high-ceilinged living spaces upstairs, including 2 big living rooms. The legal 4th br is upstairs off a living room and serves now as an office with french doors out to the common areas.

There have been some upgrades, including the kitchen, helping to mitigate some of the 1980s flavor. And they're offering a $10,000 credit (currently) toward new carpet.

1324 Marine is priced at $1.545m and is open Sat. & Sun. 1-4pm.

Hill Section 

711 11th St. (5br/6ba, 4400 sq. ft.), in the Hill Section very near town, has hung around a little while despite its many pluses – it's half way into its 5th month on market.

Now here's an upside-down layout that makes sense. You get light, some ocean views/peeks and an all around gorgeous sensation with treetops and big blue sky mixed with ocean breezes. Yeah, for that, we'll take the bedrooms downstairs.

On the first floor, there's an attractive hallway with arches, mosaic tile inlays and a series of french doors to a little grassy area – bright and unique.

Upstairs, the kitchen is plus-plus gorgeous and large, with 2 informal dining areas (one at the counter) plus formal dining and 2 separate living spaces. Up at the front of the house, a nice balcony with outdoor fireplace invites you to enjoy the views and breezes day or night.

711 11th sold new in 2006 for $3.825m, and is offered now at $3.799m, same as the start price from March, and is open Sat. & Sun. 2-5pm.

Sand Section

2319 Grandview (3br/4ba, 2400 sq. ft.) is one we have called "a very pleasant surprise for a TH across the street from the elementary school," but it has now exceeded 300 DOM. They've now cut $100k from the start from last September, and they're asking $150k less than the 2008 acquisition, seeming to say, "come on already!" 

The craftsmanship is special. Those are true, old-wood, distressed floors, with visible wooden pegs. The master suite exceeds expectations, with a truly different and sumptuous bath.

Upstairs, the views to the east capture the gently rolling hills and treetops of the Tree Section, a "grand" view, if you will.

A note about the bedrooms: In keeping with the common layout for 3-story Sand Section THs, you get 1 full bedroom suite on the first floor by itself, but there is a third quasi-bedroom on the midlevel, too – with no closet, it's not a legal bedroom, but it's plenty big and obviously now serves as a sleeping room.

A note about parking: They claim 6-car parking, though one of those spaces is now outfitted and shown off as a media room, with curtains walling it off from parking and storage.

2319 Grandview is at $1.749m, and is open Sun. 1-4pm.

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