Why do you love living in Manhattan Beach?
Susan Jensen: I have been here since I was 20…I think it’s a phenomenal place to live. It’s convenient, you’ve got the freeway, the airport, you can get anywhere in an hour, we’re in the middle of everything, and still, it’s always been a sweet little town. I have always thought you have a bunch of great people who care about their kids but still want to have fun.
Alli Baldocchi: I was born and raised here. I always joke with my friends that we were so fortunate to be born and raised here, but unfortunate because none of us can afford to live here anymore. I used to walk and roller-skate to the beach. I still do! I have 3 kids under 7 and we do the same thing.
It’s so community-oriented and everyone is so involved in events and activities, everyone knows everyone. Many of my friends that I grew up with have their kids in the same schools. I feel like all my friends from elementary school are still my friends. Everybody went away to college, but everybody came back. Everybody wants to come back here.
What’s going on with Manhattan Beach real estate right now?
Alli Baldocchi: I think the schools are a huge draw for people. There are so many areas in Los Angeles and people there and they all have to private school their kids. But if you live down by the beach in an amazing house, the schools are free.
That’s a huge draw for a lot of people coming in from the Westside. That’s what I am seeing a lot of. It’s all about the schools if it’s about kids. If not, they’re drawn to the cute down and the convenience. Everyone is so desperate to get something in MB that is halfway decent. If it is cute, it is a goner, and people are paying a ridiculous amount of money.
Susan Jensen: My father-in-law bought in the Tree Section 65 years ago and he paid $400 dollars for each lot. My husband and I bought our first Tree Section home, on Poinsettia and 31st, in ’78 or ’79. We paid $115,000, and we sold it 30 years later for 1,750,000.
Prices have gone up! The demand is really high. We have buyers that we feel are more knowledgeable because they have been on the hunt for a year for a specific price range. They know these properties inside and out, they’ve lost a few, and they’re ready to go.
How do you work as a team?
Alli Baldocchi: I am the really nice one…just kidding! My mom and I have a great relationship. Some people ask, “How can you work with your mother?”
I sometimes forget I am her daughter, now that I have kids of my own. But we do really complement each other. She has been in the business forever and has been very well-respected and she kills it in the industry. To have her as a role model is awesome.
Susan Jensen: I am the old, seasoned pro. I learned from the best, am detail-oriented and legally savvy, and cautious. And I have always loved design and fashion. Alli connects with the 30-something buyers, but they also get the seasoned person as well. They get a nice package!
Photography Courtesy of Susan Jensen