Marcia, Marcia, Marcia, what’s going to happen to the iconic homestead?
It’s a question worthy of a season-ending cliffhanger since the “Brady Bunch” house landed on the market last week—for the first time in 45 years. The three-bedroom, three-bath house in Studio City, CA, used for exterior shots of the Brady home in the popular ’70s TV sitcom is available for $1,885,000.
Even in the inflated Los Angeles housing market, that’s a lot of dough for a 2,477-square-foot home built in 1959 and which hasn’t been updated since the 1970s.
Which leads back to our initial question: Now that potential buyers have had a first look, will its sentimental value save the iconic TV home? Or will a developer snap up the property for its sizable 12,500-square-foot lot, raze the home, and build something new and modern in its place?
After talking with local experts, there’s no consensus on the home’s fate. But there’s one thing everyone does agree on: The house will get multiple offers, regardless of the outcome.
Exterior of the “Brady Bunch” house
Close-up of the front door
The ultimate ‘Brady Bunch’ collectible?
Violet and George McCallister bought the home in 1973 for $61,000, and now their kids would like to sell it to a buyer who will appreciate the home’s cultural significance.
“We’re not going to accept the first big offer from a developer who wants to tear it down,” listing agent Ernie Carswell told the Los Angeles Times. “We’re going to wait a few days, in case there are others who want to purchase it as an investment to preserve it.”
Are there any buyers who can pay $2 million for a collectible they can’t put in a display case?
“There are buyers like that out there,” says Michelle Schwartz, founder and managing partner of The Agency’s Sherman Oaks branch. “Tujunga Village (the Studio City area where the home is located) is a beautiful place to live—the market there is really heating up, ideal for families. And there is very little else available in that area right now.”
Victoria Robinson, a memorabilia collector from Salt Lake City, has been thinking of buying a pied-à-terre in the area for years. The quiet neighborhood and convenient location are among the big selling points of the “Brady Bunch” home, she notes.
“I get the nostalgia,” she says. “I think it would be awesome to live there. I would probably redo the interior, since nothing in the series was shot there anyway, but I’d leave the outside just as it is. I could stay there when I’m in town, and maybe rent it on Airbnb the rest of the time.”
The current median listing price in the area is $552 a square foot; that figure rises to $761 for the “Brady Bunch” house. Despite her own enthusiasm for the property, Robinson believes the premium for the show’s pedigree is too high, and doubts she could convince her partners it’s a worthwhile investment.
Will tourist traffic ruin sunshine days?
In addition to the high price, could hordes of selfie-stick-wielding fans keep buyers at bay? Schwartz doesn’t think so.
“Because it’s on a small, quiet street that backs up to the river, it doesn’t get a lot of tourist traffic,” she says. “And it’s too far out of the way to be on a Hollywood homes tour.”
We visited the neighborhood the day after the listing went up, and concede Schwartz has a point. Given the attention the home has received over the decades, you might have expected to see a police officer directing traffic, cars parking illegally, vendors selling T-shirts, and tourists milling about—all factors currently bedeviling the San Francisco neighborhood of the “Full House” house.
But instead of a circus, we found a relatively sedate neighborhood. Over the course of a half-hour, we saw one SUV parked in front with a couple of businessmen standing nearby, who looked like they were discussing the listing. One woman got out of her minivan to take a photo with her smartphone, and another car cruised by slowly.
As an income property?
Schwartz believes the home holds massive potential as a vacation rental. Area homes are going for $500 a night on sites such as Airbnb, because they are close to Universal Studios, Warner Bros., and other tourist sites.
“An owner could easily get $1,000 per night for the ‘Brady Bunch’ house,” she says. “Twenty nights at that rate and you’ve covered your property tax.”
She could also see the home as a venue for small parties and photo/TV/film shoots. In Studio City, Schwartz believes there are no restrictions on vacation rental or production use. As long as a production company pulls a permit and limits its production to certain hours, the number of days it can shoot is unlimited.
“I can see a buyer making a lot of money for a short amount of time, using the house for vacation and party rentals and film production,” says San Fernando Valley specialist Nathaniel Pitchon-Getzels of Berkshire Hathaway.
“But after a while, once the production trucks and equipment, the late-night partygoers, and the increased noise and traffic start bothering the neighbors, they’ll probably come together and lobby the city to impose restrictions.”
Time to change?
Pitchon-Getzels thinks the property is a great deal for a developer, because it’s large and located in a very desirable neighborhood.
“Most people who buy a $2 million home will do a massive renovation or rebuild if it doesn’t have any architectural significance,” he says. The ’70s weren’t notable for architectural virtue, and the house itself is “obsolete,” he adds.
“The ‘Brady Bunch’ house is a great choice for a collector, but there are only a handful of folks in the whole world who can spend $2 million on a home to add to their collection,” he says. “You’ll make far more money tearing it down or doing a massive renovation than anything else.”
Gail Steinberg, a Coldwell Banker agent who lives nearby, agrees the home is ripe for an interior renovation, but she’d like to see the exterior preserved.
“I really hope whoever gets it will not tear it down,” she says. We’ll keep you posted.
Source: Housing Trends Feed