List Price: $898,000
Sale Price: $800,000
The Property: The theatrical façade of this 12-room house in the East Highlands neighborhood of Naperville reminds me of the Alamo—or what that Texas landmark might look like if renovated into a single-family home. In this case, the home’s builder plays the role of the besieged Texans who lost the mission to Santa Anna’s army: after putting this stone-and-stucco edifice on the market at about $1.6 million, the builder fought from January 2008 to October 2010 to get it sold, only to lose it in foreclosure.
In December 2006, the builder bought the site, which at the time contained an older home, for $390,000, according to the DuPage County Recorder of Deeds. By January 2008, he had this home underway and listed for about $1.6 million, according to Susan Baltaragis, the Coldwell Banker agent who this month sold the house for its foreclosing lender. “[The builder] has a very ornate, European taste,” she explains. The upper floors of the exterior are wrapped in traditional stucco (although Baltaragis says that it’s often mistaken for the cheaper and more malleable Dryvit). “The foyer is stunning,” she adds, “with a beautiful turned staircase and the most wonderful rails going up it, and a balcony overlooking the grand foyer.” The photos that accompanied the listing show those elements, as well as arched interior doorways, two fireplaces, and other features.
What they don’t show is the kitchen—because there isn’t one. The builder left that undone, and also left the four full and one partial bath pretty much unfinished, according to Baltaragis. What’s more, many interior doors were without doorknobs. Before Baltaragis put the foreclosed home on the market for MB Bank in September, she had another builder calculate what it would cost to make the house habitable. The estimate came in at $153,000. “That was a little on the upper end,” Baltaragis notes. “It could be done for less.”
The home’s façade isn’t the only thing that makes it stand out in its sedate surroundings. It also has a detached garage and a small backyard, which go against the norm in this neighborhood close to Naperville’s downtown. Nevertheless, the bank’s price attracted at least eight offers, Baltaragis says. She listed the home in late September and had it under contract two months later. The sale closed January 13, to buyers not yet identified in public records. Baltaragis assures me that they are not Texans come to reclaim the Alamo.
Price Points: According to Baltaragis, the builder bought this site and four others in the neighborhood. It tore down three houses and replaced them. The largest replacement was a more traditional five-bedroom, eight-bath house on a riverside lot that was priced at more than $3 million. After being taken back by MB Bank, it sold in October for $1.949 million. Baltaragis says that the other completed house and the two older houses that the builder hadn’t yet demolished are all in banks’ hands.