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Property Guru: Think Twice On that Kesling

We're always happy when our Property Guru takes a few moments of his time to put down his appletini in order to write us with news of his latest house hunting exploits. Today, he hears the call of the Kesling and chimes in with his take on the streamline-moderne masterwork we discussed earlier today.

"So, I toured the Kesling twice and chose - early on - not to purchase the property. Here is the story: 1) The owners turned down $1.4 million twice, considering that number too low to even respond to formally, within the first 30 days of listing. Since then, its sat quiet. They paid $400K in 1997 for - what was listed in the MLS at the time as - a heavy fixer. No hard numbers on what they put in, but its not small.

2) The house is listed on the city records as 1,350 sq/ft. As shown, its about 1,550 and they (the agents) are being cagey about noting square footage. They enclosed a porch into a sort of third bedroom or 'en-suite' office. No permits pulled for that, or the entire interior re-model. Permits pulled only for the terracing of the yard and the retaining wall work. They "claim" that you MIGHT be able to put two cars on top of what was the porch, but to bring in an engineer first (mine said) "no way, not built for that" which is important for the third point below."

More from the Property Guru after the jump.

3) While VERY clean and well done with LOTS of wonderful period light and plumbing fixtures, amazing tile work, good landscaping, the house has some core problems that undermine the $1.8 million dollar price tag.

A) No powder or bathroom on the upper, or public floor. You have to send guests down to the bathrooms off the bedrooms B) no "master suite" as designed or re-modeled. One bedroom has master-type closets, opens onto the patio, but the bath is accessed off the hall. The other bedroom could be "en-suite" but only has a shower stall bath (the other has the tub), no big closets, and incorporates what used to be the door from the porch to the second bedroom and flows badly because of it.

C) parking for ONE car only on the garage and - as it shares a narrow, narrow private drive with two other houses, not one off street spot for a guest (why the "porch roof" sell was big - read above).

D) relatively new big modern houses encroach on it along all sides, killing privacy and view. I bet the siting was great in 1940.

4) Price. Miller Drive/Place/Hedges average about $900 a sq/ft. Give Kesling 10% premium, NOT the 20-30% for Neutra/Lautner (a top architectural agent backed-up that calculation) and you're at $1,000 a foot. Let the good parts (30s lighting, faucets, tile) offset the bad (parking, flaws above) and you're at $1.35 million if you go off the ORIGINAL sq/footage and $1.55 million if you go off full value for the non-permitted added footage. Funny, right around the first two offers many days ago.

Figuring, a pulling of permits may reveal the work issues, if my buyer was in contract for over $1.5MM, I'd be looking for back-up too.