Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A Beachside Starter Pack for a New Family: Finding that Perfect Single Family Home Under $1 million in Venice, Culver City and Marina del Rey

With so many Single Family Residences (SFR’s) in LA, the choice is endless. But a few things stand out when making that decision about where to ‘nest’; room to expand when the time comes; a good space for entertaining the in-laws; a little privacy for when your betrothed drives you mad (I’m told that happens); and a good size master where all the magic happens. Add to that the fact that you’ll want parking for two cars and a bit of yard to pretend like you have green fingers and all of a sudden what might seem like a glut of choices, is actually reduced down to a more manageable amount of properties.

This week, I’ve decided to target the Venice / Marina / Culver City area trying to find that perfect place under $1 million. Here’s what I found:

First up is 125 Breeze Avenue in Venice (90291), a cute craftsman cottage on a nice Walk Street between Main and Pacific. This rustic property is a decent size for a traditional craftsman with 1,137 sq ft on a 2,200 sq ft lot. It’s got an open plan feel with oak flooring throughout. The master bedroom is well proportioned and the guest room is a good size for an infant (or a study room w/sofa bed if waiting is your game!) What makes this property cool and unusual is the spacious loft area that runs the length of the house that could be easily converted into a slumber party area for the kids or a private space for the adults. The property also benefits from a decent-size basement where the handyperson of the household can store their toys and tinker away for hours. Priced at an ambitious $1,085,000, I wouldn’t be surprised if it ended up selling in the low-to-mid $900K range…

Next up is 823 Howard Street, Marina Del Rey (90292), near the corner of trendy Abbott Kinney and Washington Blvd. This contemporary beach home is compact at just over 1,000 sq ft, but benefits from well-proportioned rooms and a nice size yard. The master bedroom has great built in cupboards and is at the back of the house with a smaller office / den / 3rd bedroom just off of it giving it a certain amount of privacy and seclusion. The second bedroom is well sized too with the guest bathroom just next door. It’s very modern throughout with custom counters and stainless steel appliances. What is most appealing is the price, compared to 125 Breeze Avenue. At $759,000, it’s a lot more affordable and whilst it’s not on a Walk Street or in a traditional craftsman style, it benefits from being in a quieter neighborhood with ample street parking and is merely a stone's throw from pricier Venice to the north.

Heading further east towards Culver City, the prices start to drop and the square footage starts to rise! 4319 Campbell Drive in Los Angeles (90066), a 3 bedroom, 2.75 bathroom home on an enormous 5,800 sq ft lot, priced at $698,000, has opportunity written all over it. From the outside it looks like a charming, old-fashioned, traditional home with terracotta roof, but inside it has been modernized to feature stone flooring, custom cabinetry and new doors and windows throughout. The interior is neutral and it wouldn’t take much to restore it to something more contemporary and trendy in style. As with quite a lot of these 1920s homes, the ceilings are low but the rooms are well proportioned. There is a large work space / converted garage out back and a large yard with room for a hot tub or small pool. Given that Culver City is only 10 minutes from the beach and has some great new bars and restauarants, this property feels like a great starter pack for a new family.

If modernization and a refurb is something you’d like to try your hand at, then what about 4221 Neosho Avenue in the Palms / Mar Vista neighborhood (Los Angeles 90066), priced to sell at $649,000. It has all the original features from this cottage-style period including crown moldings and built-ins, large brick fireplace, and vaulted ceilings. However, whilst the property is technically move-in ready, it will need a new roof, electrical, and serious TLC. Also, one other downside is that it currently only has one bathroom. However, with an oversize lot that screams for a hot tub and a detached garage with bonus workshop space, this represents a lot of "bang for your buck".

So, what I hope I’ve conveyed from these four very different listings is the sheer range of properties that are out there. From the beach lifestyle, to the white picket fence suburban dream, to the rustic fixer upper from bygone days, there is something for every taste, disposition and wallet.

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