In Hyde Park, Time Was on Their Side
List Price: $1.65 million
Sale Price: $1.494 million
The Property: Built in the late 1880s, this Hyde Park house predates the two late 19th-century spurs to the area’s growth: the founding of the University of Chicago (which opened in 1892) and the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893. But it’s another kind of longevity that distinguishes the home this year.
The owners had bought the home so long ago that when it came time to sell this year, they weren’t stuck with a mortgage from the mid-2000s that would make them resist today’s lower pricing reality. With Chicago home values down 35 percent from their 2006 peak, many sellers simply can’t afford to accept so little for their homes.
But here, quite the opposite happened. “When my broker and I came up with that [asking] price, [the owners] were surprised we thought we could get so much,” says Tom Chesrown, the listing agent on the sale, which closed August 8.
According to the Cook County Recorder of Deeds, Philip Harris and Claire Hartfield paid $325,000 for the home in 1993. Both are lawyers; she’s also the author of Me and Uncle Romie, a 2002 children’s book about the artist Romare Bearden. Chesrown says that they gave the home’s interior a complete gut rehab in the 1990s. “It’s modern inside—not contemporary, but classic and modern, with all the bells and whistles,” he says.
We will have to take his word on that, because the listing had no photos other than a single exterior shot—and that’s because the home sold so quickly. It was being prepped to go on the market in late April when word got out among Hyde Park real-estate agents. About half a dozen potential buyers toured the home before it officially went on the market, “and away it went,” Chesrown explains. “I cancelled the photographer we had set up.”
The 15-room home is half of a twin set; the other half has a squarer window bay. (Coincidentally, the property we’re posting this Thursday, along with a video tour, is also the round half of a round-square pair of twins on the North Side.) Today’s home was built in 1888 by a firm called Cole and Dahlgren, whose only other recorded work is a string of four attached homes built at about the same time several blocks away.
Aside from its realistic price, the home appealed for having space to park four cars in a neighborhood adjacent to a bustling university. “It’s an absolutely perfect block,” Chesrown says. The U. of C. and its stellar Lab School are both a short walk away, as is the 57th Street dining strip.
Price Points: The couple’s $325,000 purchase price in 1993 works out to about $515,000 today when adjusted for inflation. I don’t know how much the sellers spent on the renovation, but Chesrown indicates that his clients were satisfied with the sale price.