In Oak Brook, a Dance of the Seven Veils Pricing Strategy

List Price: $2.499 million
Sale Price: $2.3 million
The Property: In the three years between going on the market at $3.595 million in June 2009 and being sold for $2.3 million in June 2012, this Oak Brook house underwent 38 price cuts—some as little as a dollar…

A recently sold home in Oak Brook

List Price: $2.499 million
Sale Price: $2.3 million
The Property: In the three years between going on the market at $3.595 million in June 2009 and being sold for $2.3 million in June 2012, this Oak Brook house underwent 38 price cuts—some as little as a dollar. I haven’t been able to find a home with more cuts in that time span, so this may be a record of sorts.

In the real-estate equivalent of Salome’s dance of the seven veils, the agent on this new 11,000-square-foot house tantalizingly took off a little at a time. The aim, says Tim Damis, who was representing the home for Arcadia Custom Builders, was to keep the attention of potential buyers. “Every time you change the price, you get back on the [real-estate agents’] hot sheets,” he said. “If you change the price even a dollar, you get back on people’s lists for a few days.”

On October 7, 2011, Damis cut the price by a dollar, from $2.58 million to $2,579,999. That was the 32nd price cut. Ten days later, he cut the price again, by $19, to $2,579,980. Other cuts were considerably larger: on July 1, 2009, price cut number two, he took it down a full $100,000, from $3.499 million to $3.399 million.

There was no pattern, by design. “If I lowered it $25,000 every week, the buyers would say, ‘Let’s sit and wait a month and see what it is,’” Damis says. “But if my numbers were all over the place, [I was] enticing them.” (Salome would have been proud; certainly the element of surprise was key to her seductive performance.)

The three-year striptease finally had its desired effect in May, when a buyer put the home under contract. Damis says that there was a bit of a dance involved there too, which began, on March 23, with the 38th price cut, to $2,499,900. “Suddenly everybody wanted it,” Damis remembers. The house received five bids, ranging from $2.1 million up to the winning $2.3 million offer, and at least two of them, including the winner, were all-cash offers.

The home, Damis says, suffered from being built for the taste of an era that had just passed. It has 23 rooms, including seven bedrooms, and a four-car garage. There are seven full and three partial baths, 11-foot ceilings in the basement, a master shower big enough for six, Italian limestone flooring, custom light and sound systems, and other lavish details. “People were saying it was too big,” Damis says. “We sold houses [several years ago] where three people lived in 10,000 square feet. Now they say, ‘How much will it cost to heat that?’”

Price Points: In 2007, when Arcadia bought the nearly one-acre lot in Oak Brook’s Ginger Creek subdivision, the plan was to top out at $3 million, Damis says. But the builder (to whom Damis is related, but whose name is not in public records) kept adding more to the house. That included putting completed rooms and a bathroom into the third floor, which was to have been an attic. By the time the house was finished, the listing price had risen by almost 20 percent. The sale price is 63.9 percent of the $3.595 million the builder was originally asking. The sale closed June 19 to buyers who are not yet identified in public records.

Listing Agent: Tim Damis of Ollus Realty; 708-373-3606 or td@ollusrealty.com

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