What 1.7 Gets in the Trees

By Dave Fratello | September 9th, 2013

It would seem that the "shocking" Spring sale at 1312 Walnut has notably lifted the market across the Tree Section.

Almost suddenly, you're seeing older cottage-type homes with modest additions heading near the $1.7M range.

That Walnut home, you may recall, is a 3br home with about 2000 sq. ft. on a corner lot. Its location – a very quick walk to school – and cute garden seemed to drive the frenzy of offers for that one, which we hear made its first deal over $1.8M but still settled high at the final $1.760M sold price. (See "Walnut Shocker," May 2013.)

A few of these are recent closings, showing how the May sale at Walnut set up a string of June and July listings to hit this new price point.

2300 Poinsettia (4br/3ba, 2050 sq. ft.) is a remodeled home on a downsloping lot with 3 of its bedrooms downstairs, and the master up top off the living areas.

We felt that perhaps the layout and lot would give buyers pause. We also called this "a so-so location" due to the fact that 23rd St. ends more or less at the front of the home. Even if you don't know Feng Shui, you probably don't like having cars drive straight toward your house.

Way back, nearly 5 years ago, they tried to sell this home for $1.749M, a figure that was radically out of whack as the market was steeply declining. By Aug. 2009, the sellers accepted defeat, unable to sell for even $1.499M.

This year they sought $1.699M and got $1.675M.

Call it 1.7 for a house that couldn't sell for 1.5 just a short time ago.

592 33rd (3br/3ba, 1825 sq. ft.) is a 1950s cottage with a master added on up top. We said in our review, "While modernized in some respects, the kitchen and baths could use another go-round. Besides that, it's a pretty nice, modest family house... [with] a decent yard in back on this slightly larger-than-normal 5025 sq. ft. lot."

This one bore the hallmarks of a cottage with additions: The living room and kitchen are up front, a staircase was added in the center of the house to access the upstairs master, and a somewhat squeezed family room is slotted in alongside the stairwell.

Locationwise, this one's clearly superior to 2300 Poinsettia, yet another example of a nice location along 33rd St. We know well that some buyers simply won't look north of 31st St., not wanting to be too close to the Chevron refinery, but each time we happen by 33rd it seems a very pleasant, neighborly street.

592 33rd came out at $1.590M and went substantially over: $1.705M.

762 29th (4br/3ba, 2075 sq. ft.) was called "eclectic" in the official description, and that was a tipoff.

Despite the somewhat conventional exterior, the layout was a hodgepodge owing to piecemeal additions to an original cottage (including the enclosed sun porch), the owners had a run with bold, colorful plaster in some rooms, and truly the whole house wanted updates and upgrades across the board.

Did these factors stifle the market for the house? No.

That's a nice block, and buyers have learned recently to look past the immediate flaws of a house and grab the space and location they want now, letting the fixes and updates come later. This one logged just 7 DOM in late May and sold for asking price: $1.699M in late June.

3013 Poinsettia (4br/4ba, 3100 sq. ft.) is a slightly different case, still at the same price point. Here you have slightly over 3000 sq. ft. of living space and a corner lot. This block of Poinsettia is perhaps the nicest north of Valley and east of Pacific.

In our review, we said, "This house, well, it's different. They don't really prepare you for it in the listing, so here's your fair warning. The home is almost two separate structures, with a mother-in-law's unit over the garage that's been connected back to the main house via the top level. The layout in each building and on each floor is... unique... [T]o really give this house its due, it would probably mean moving walls and refashioning the place."

So, a structural fixer, an architectural curiosity, with a nice location. What would they get?

The seller requested $1.639M, and the general opinion was, "that's the right way to get credit for location and size while acknowledging you need to change this house."

Sold price: $1.730M, or $91K over asking. Yes, that was the right way to start it off.

Worth noting: Another candidate to have made this post would have been 724 30th (3br/2ba, 1700 sq. ft.), a 1940s original with a little one "car" garage. (Do bicycles count as cars? It's small.)

This one listed at $1.688M in late June, but quit after just 11 DOM.


For additional perspective, see our post, "What 1.3 Gets in the Trees," from June 2013.

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