List Price: $825,000
Sale Price: $775,000
The Property: Three of the strikes against this 13-room home in a high-end Naperville subdivision are hard to hide: the empty lot on either side of the house and the third vacant lot behind this property’s nicely landscaped quarter-acre. Those lots are indicators of the abrupt, post-housing-crash slowdown in building at Ashwood Park, a former farm-field site on the southwestern edge of Naperville that was to have been a development of about 500 homes in the $1 million to $2 million range. Only about 80 of the houses have been built. This one was among the first sold; it went for $1.068 million in August 2006.
Those buyers resold the 5,300-square-foot house on February 22, 2011, for $775,000, or 72 percent of what they had paid for it five years earlier. Will County records do not clearly state their names, and their agent, Christine Riso of Baird & Warner, would not identify them. Riso does say that her clients had been relocated out of state. “They knew it was either lose [money on the house] or give up the job change,” she says. “They didn’t want to do that [to] his career, so they took the hit and are hoping it will work out on the other end,” with the discounted purchase price at a home in their new location.
Riso adds that she was warned that today’s property wouldn’t sell, not only because the development alternates built-up lots with vacant lots, but also because falling prices have meant that would-be homeowners can more affordably buy closer to Naperville’s busy core. But her sellers’ realistic attitude about taking a loss meant buyers could afford to look past the development’s drawbacks and focus on this home’s ample woodwork, large and lavish kitchen, two-room master suite, and extensively outfitted basement entertainment complex. There is also the sprawling Ashwood Club, a lavishly outfitted sports and social club just two blocks away.
Even so, the vacant lots worried prospective buyers, including the ones who ultimately purchased this house. (Riso would not name the buyers, and they are not yet identified in public records.) “They said, ‘Is the subdivision going to be OK?’ My answer was, ‘Absolutely,’” Riso says. “We’re in a recession now, but this is Naperville, this is Illinois, and this is America. We’re not going to be like this forever.’”
Price Points: When they first put the house on the market in November, the sellers wanted $875,000; in January, they cut that to $825,000. Riso has another home in Ashwood Park listed at $799,900, another realistic price. The highest-priced listing in the subdivision right now is on the market at $2.5 million, about 1 percent more than its seller paid for the home in 2007.
Photograph: Christine Riso