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A Quick Sale

Sale of Wicker Park condo was about “putting our pride in our pocket and getting [the home] sold"

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The value of their condo wasn’t increasing, but the size of their family was. Adam and Katie Read had no kids when they bought a new two-bedroom Wicker Park condo in 2005, but early this year, Katie became pregnant with their second child. They knew the real-estate market “was falling apart,” says Adam, “but we didn’t want to be stuck in a two-bedroom condo with two kids. We thought we’d better get out of here before we can’t get out of here.”

Realism was their watchword. “We knew that sellers aren’t in a position to negotiate,” Adam says, “and we knew that buyers knew that.”

The Reads had paid $398,000 for the condo. To break even on the resale after paying commissions to agents and prepaying the new buyer’s first year of property taxes, they would have to sell the place for $423,500. In the hope of turning a profit, they listed the condo for sale with Rubloff’s Mario Greco in early March for $439,000. Just 28 days later, they accepted an offer of $405,000, which amounts to a loss of about $18,000, with commissions and other fees.

But the Reads aren’t complaining. “I’d rather do that than sit in it and end up losing $100,000,” Adam says. “What we lost on the selling side, we made up on the buying side.” They got additional traction from moving to a less expensive housing market—Mequon, in the suburbs of Milwaukee, where they both grew up. Adam has a travel-heavy IT sales job for which he can live in either Chicago or Milwaukee, and Katie gave up her teaching job in Skokie to stay home with the kids. In Mequon, they paid $457,000 for a four-bedroom house on an acre. The seller had paid $515,000 for it in 2007.

The Wicker Park sale was about “putting our pride in our pocket and getting [the home] sold,” Adam says. “I’m a little pissed off that we didn’t hit our numbers, but there are worse things in life.”

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