List Price: $1.899 million
Sale Price: $1.6 million
The Property: Two months shy of its seventh anniversary of going on the market, this 12-room house in Bucktown finally sold February 12 because, the listing agent says, “we convinced the investors that the price had to get below $2 million.”
Built in 2006 by investors whose names are not clear in the land records, the house was first listed for sale April 6, 2006, at approximately $2.8 million. (I couldn’t find the exact original price.) Six years later, it had only come down to $2.3 million, a drop of about 18 percent in a submarket that was down 29 percent. “They had never really adjusted when prices went into that deep, dark tunnel,” says Maria Vecchione, the @Properties agent who took over the listing in May 2012 and cut the price another 17 percent to $1.899 million.
A price above $2.5 million may have seemed like a good idea in early 2006—and not just because the crash of the real-estate market was still months away. The house was going up in a very desirable location, a cul-de-sac that, though it’s close to Bucktown shopping and dining, feels as if it’s a quiet, somewhat remote spot. The abandoned elevated rail line now being developed as the Bloomingdale Trail runs right behind it, and the cul-de-sac was being redeveloped with a string of sizable contemporary houses.
Some residences in the cluster did go for more than $2 million. The house next door in one direction sold in 2007 for $2.25 million; the one two doors down in the other direction went for $3 million in 2009, bought by the Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright Tracy Letts. And yet, this one sat unsold and vacant. It wasn’t even staged, a disadvantage that Vecchione says she rectified when she got the listing last year.
Furnishing the house and cutting the price did the trick. In January, it went under contract, and the sale closed a month later, to buyers not yet identified in public records. Photos that accompany the listing show the interior’s hanging staircase, angular window bays, and flashy bathroom finishes. Vecchione says that the house’s walnut cabinetry, limestone floors, floor-to-ceiling windows, and four levels of outdoor deck were among its best touches.
Price Points: The neighboring house that sold for $2.2 million during the waning days of the boom resold four years later, in November 2011, for $1.75 million, according to the Cook County Recorder of Deeds. That 20 percent drop was the cold water in the face that the sellers needed, Vecchione says. It showed that “the price really needed to be considerably reduced to get a sale,” she says.
Listing Agent: Marcia Vecchione of @Properties; 847-804-9432Edit Module