Weekend Opens (9/1-9/2)

By Dave Fratello | September 1st, 2012
If you were mystified as to why someone would list a property a week before Labor Day, you may be even more surprised to see new stuff flowing this week.

This is a time for one last vacation, one last big beach day... one last chance to wear white.

Going to see new listings? Not so much.

Still, last week's new crop did pretty well.

We discussed 7 newly listed properties last week, and 4 already have deals. So much for the "dog days." Things still seem pretty active.       

There were the 2 new East MB listings in what we called "Faymont Week," 1201 and 2101 Faymont. Both sold quickly:
  • 1201, the more updated, drew at least 10 offers and went well above the asking price of $899k.
  • 2101, the dated/fixer/project, looks likely to get full price ($799k).
Don't forget 119 35th Place ($1.2m) and 1805 Walnut ($1.7m), which also made deals within the week.

So maybe that's why people list at odd times – to occupy the field alone and draw all the buyers.

So does that magic flow into Labor Day weekend?

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

If you're thinking about getting into the market as a buyer or seller, please consider asking MB Confidential author Dave Fratello for help. For more, see MBC's Need an Agent?" page.

Tree Section

3509 Pacific (2br/1ba, 950 sq. ft.) is a little throwback starter in a poor location on busy Pacific near the refinery, but it's cuter than you might think.

The very recently updated kitchen is a clear plus. Both bedrooms are surprisingly spacious. And the common spaces are just enough. The one bath is clean but original; it could use an update.

This is almost exactly what you expect from a 1950s cottage in a location that isn't going to have developers chomping at the bit for years to come. So it'll stay more or less as is, maybe some day getting a third bedroom. (Not that it's easy.)

The yard in back is fairly spacious as it goes, covered in part by a tall tree, offering some grassy area and a long driveway ending in a 2-car garage at the back of the lot. As with so many older homes, the driveway looks dubious as one you could actually drive on (except in your little electric car!), so the space becomes part of the yard, ending in a play room, man cave or craft room if you gussy up the garage.

This one starts at $899k.

Just last month, the neighbor across the street at 3508 Pacific, with the same basic specs (2br but 2ba, 950 sq. ft.), sold for $795k, or 11% less.

So they'll have to make their case here that they've polished up this or that better than the neighbor (The kitchen is a standout difference.)

3509 Pacific starts at $899k and is open Sat. & Sun. 1-4pm.

East MB

1540 11th
1540 11th (5br/6ba, 4850 sq. ft.) is a newer (2001) build, quite nice and really big, on paper, though it just seemed simply big in person.

The extra square footage affords a large guest suite on the first floor (with a 2-story ceiling over part), huge formal living room (oh please don't waste the space), more-than-adequate great room, plus big bedrooms upstairs.

(The 4 poor current listing pics give you almost no sense of the place.)

In fact, while the generous master suite was more than pleasant, it was a second huge bedroom upstairs, with its own bath and walk-in closet, that struck us as the biggest surprise. It's currently set up as a large home office with built-ins, but could easily handle 2 kids and their stuff if pressed into service.

The other 2br upstairs also have their own attached baths and good-size closets. 

Downstairs, the living spaces flow well, with a couple of qualifications. The flooring is mainly a saltillo tile that makes you say "hmmm," because the overall feel of the home is not overly Spanish. What would work better? Wood would. Also, both the formal living room and the family room off the kitchen have tiny steps down, perhaps 2-3 inches, and our question was: Why? You either commit to the sunken rooms, or you don't, right?

Tree in back at 1540 11th
It's East Manhattan, so you're wondering: How's the yard? 

On this full-size, 7500 sq. ft. lot, it's big, grassy, slightly hilly and adorned with an outstanding feature – an enormous maple tree shading the entire yard; a beauty to behold. You wouldn't buy a house for the tree, but in this case the tree still counts as a plus feature. (On these recent hot August days, the home would be kept cooler by the shade on this south-facing yard.)

We were concerned about location. On the map, this one's just a few doors away from the community center and Manhattan Heights park. It would seem 11th could be congested and/or busy in the area; there could be noise issues. That's one to judge later, as we've only really seen it during the odd hours given over to brokers' tours.

1540 11th reminded us a bit of another East MB debut from 2 weeks ago, 1342 8th (5br/6ba, 4400 sq. ft.). This one, though, starts $100k lower at $2.150m. It is open Sat. & Sun. 1-3pm.

It seems that every time we go to write about East MB listings, a phrase comes to mind: "You almost could not get further east and still be in MB." To which some might say: That's just Dave's west-of-Sepulveda bias. 

But it is objectively the case that there are only 5 or 6 homes between 1826 Marine (3br/2ba, 1400 sq. ft.) and Aviation. And you do really feel pushed east when you're on Marine out here.

But it is what it is – you get a discount for location issues, right? And that will help someone get into the 90266 with this nicely remodeled 3br house, or it will help make the numbers work for some investor to make it a perfectly nice rental.

The $805k start price could entice lots of would-be buyers willing to get past the Marine issue. (The listing says, "Marine is quieter than you think... don't let the address fool you!" Oh, you addresses, always fooling people!)

Inside you get a reasonably large-feeling 1400 square feet, with a very big multipurpose family room opening in back along a complete wall of sliding glass doors. There's a huge commitment to glass here, including also what the listing calls "'magic' windows with custom cleaning feature and invisible screens." Wow, magic. Invisible. You'll want to learn more about those.

The kitchen is a smallish alley (rental caliber) ending in a breakfast nook, the big family room does feature a wall of painted-over rock, and carpet abounds. That's what gives it the rental feeling. The baths have an 80s feel but are clean, and hey, there is a bit of a real grassy yard here on the almost-5100 sq. ft. lot. The back bedroom, smallest of the 3, has lots of glass opening to the yard, and might make for a very sunny home office if that were your need.

A/C puts a little frosting on the cake – even if the house does open out nicely to drink in all the light and air from the backyard, if what you want is quiet and climate control, here it is.

1826 Marine starts at $805k and is open Sat. & Sun. 2-4pm.

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