Photography: Dennis Rodkin
A housewalk on Sunday will showcase some lovely older homes for fans of vintage architecture, but to some of the organizers, there’s a larger purpose: highlighting Maywood as a bargain buy that may be coming back from the abyss of the foreclosure crisis and a surge in crime.
“We’re 15 minutes from downtown, and we have some houses that will blow your mind,” says Tom Kus, a longtime preservationist who’s running the housewalk for the Neighbors of Maywood organization. With home prices rising quickly in nearby towns like River Forest and Oak Park, Kus and others see a chance to position their slower-to-recover town as a place where buyers can maximize the square footage and historical character their money will buy.
“You’re not going to find many places where these kinds of houses are so affordable,” says Wayne Beals, a Keller Williams agent who lives in an 1893 home with 57 leaded-glass windows that he and his wife, Marni, paid $285,000 for in 2004. “The recession brought prices down to where it gets really interesting.”
Our April real estate charts showed that Maywood’s home prices in 2012 were nearly 80 percent below where they’d been in 2006—one of the biggest drops among suburbs. That’s in large part because of a high rate of foreclosure, which is now subsiding, just as it is in most locations. Crime is down in most categories since a surge a few years ago that caused one resident to call the town “Little Iraq.”
In an effort to build a comeback, “one of our best assets is our historical homes,” says Kus. Among the finest is a Prairie Style home by John Van Bergen that is on the market for $1.5 million. Click through the photo tour below to see more of them.