List Price: $700,000
Sale Price: $670,000
The Property: With its off-kilter front façade and long, zany west side that tilts, folds and wiggles, this Bucktown house built in 1995 may seem like a tough sell. But inside, says @Properties’ Thyra DeCicco, the agent for the buyers who bought it Feb. 25, the crazy shapes “translate to rooms that aren’t boxy or rectangular, and you get some really cool rooms.”
Photos that accompanied the listing show undulating walls, pie-shaped rooms, and various angles other than 90 degrees.
The rooms are large and sunlit, DeCicco says, and that was what mattered most to her clients—whom she did not name and who aren’t yet identified in public records of the sale. The exterior “was fine with them, she says. “They didn’t want something cookie-cutter or ultra-contemporary.”
Besides, she says, the house is less noticeable than you might think. Her office is down the block, so she passes the house most days and says “because the stucco is gray, you don’t really notice it.”
The seller’s agent, Jean Reedy of Baird & Warner, told me in an email that “the uniqueness of the property increased the amount of showings, but probably lessened the amount of offers.” She wrote that the home’s layout is good for entertaining, and that while “it attracts all types of buyers, the eclectic seemed most interested.”
To me, one of the most intriguing concepts at play here is that most of the house’s wackiness is along the side, taking advantage of the fact that the 1887 structure next door sits far back from the sidewalk. That building was for sale from February 2009 through May 2012, so the prospect hung in the air that the next owner would build or expand in front of it and conceal some or all of this home’s post-modern hijinks.
That’s still a possibility down the line, but DeCicco says that the required setbacks between buildings would preserve some, though certainly not all, of the sun that comes into the house. She notes another way that the architect (whose name I’ve had yet to unearth) worked with the neighboring house there are few or no windows on this home where it’s next to that building “so you’re not looking right out at a blank wall,” she says.
DeCicco says the buyers are fond of the house and don’t plan major changes to the exterior other than updating some windows. “They love it,” she says. “They think it’s great.” Which is more proof that for any house, you only need to find one buyer.
Price Points: Seller Gerald Chodak paid $729,000 for the house in 2001, when it was six years old, according to the Cook County Recorder of Deeds. The Feb. 25 sale price is just less than 92 percent of what he had paid for the home almost 12 years earlier.
About the loss, Reedy wrote that the seller “took advantage of Florida’s real estate market,” which appears to mean that he made up more on the buy side than the beating he took on the sell side.
He did try to make a profit: Chodak listed the house for sale in 2008 (with a different agent), asking $1.1 million. The asking price was down to $800,000 by December 2009, when it went off the market.
Seller’s agent Reedy says it was then rented for a few years, at $3,800 a month, before coming back on the market last July with an asking price of $750,000.