Wednesday, December 7, 2011

On the Property Hunt: Fixers, Probates and More: Opportunities Abound in Venice and Mar Vista

One of the really interesting aspects of my job is being able to find "diamonds in the rough" or a "fixer" as we, in the trade, like to call it. Whether it's a probate, a foreclosure, a construction job gone wrong or simply that the incumbent owner hasn't done any upgrades or work for decades, there are always properties out there that, with a little vision and some dough, can be restored to glory or torn down altogether to make way for something bigger, bolder and better.

It takes a brave person in this financial climate to embark on a "fixer" but if you have the know-how, access to the capital, and relish a challenge, then this market can be fantastic if only because prices and interest rates are so low.

First up is a fascinating opportunity at 644 Brooks Avenue in Venice.  This large, modernist structure is pretty plain from the outside but has great "bones" and looks to be in very solid shape. It has 5 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, an attached garage, a huge basement, balconies, fireplaces, roof deck, hot tub and a large garden. The downside - it's halfway through a major remodel that has been done over the course of the past ten years and you might just have to start from scratch...But if you salvage the top-notch fittings, keep some of the expensive flooring / tiling, you could end up with something really special. Unfortunately for the current owners, they are HIGHLY motivated sellers. In fact, the lawyers are even on commission and so you can expect a quick negotiating process. At a very motivated list price of $1,299,000 and 3,810 sq ft across a 5,200sq ft lot, this is a real bargain. But it ain't pretty!

For something equally challenging but at a much lower cost, consider 12012 Marine Street. This probate property doesn't need court confirmation and so could have a relatively speedy escrow. It's being sold "as is" and is need of some major TLC or it could even be a tear-down. Built in 1948, it's a classic traditional style with 3 bedrooms and only one bathroom, a living room and a galley kitchen with a dining nook. It's only 1,200 sq ft, but it's across a decent 5,500 sq ft lot. The best thing about this "fixer" is its location at the base of the very pretty Mar Vista Hills and is therefore in an "up and coming" neighborhood. Significantly cheaper than its Venice neighbor, this home is listed for $649,000...It's totally habitable right now and so could be a project for someone who wanted a decent size home with opportunity to improve over time.

As always, if you have any questions or comments about these or other properties, please contact us.  We'd love to hear from you!