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A Distressed House Rebounds in Lincoln Park

List Price: $2.875 million
Sale Price: $2.830 million
The Property: Just 13 months ago, this house was a bank-owned mess. The bank, Countrywide, let it go as a short sale for $1.85 million—although in 2006 it had approved a mortgage on the place for $4.1 million.

List Price: $2.875 million
Sale Price: $2.830 million
The Property: Just 13 months ago, this house was a bank-owned mess. The bank, Countrywide, let it go as a short sale for $1.85 million—although in 2006 it had approved a mortgage on the place for $4.1 million.

The couple who bought the house from Countrywide, Glen Mathias and Melissa Economy, had to repair extensive water damage and other problems, as well as replace numerous fixtures and finishes, according to Jenny Ames, the couple’s agent on their recent resale of the house. The work also included redoing the kitchen and four-plus baths, repairs to the exterior masonry and the roof, and replacing all three fireplace mantels, Ames says. (Neither Ames nor her clients would comment on the cost of the repairs.)

Economy, an attorney at Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal, says that she and Mathias bought and moved into the house uncertain whether they would resell it or keep it for themselves. “We’re flexible people; we go with the flow,” she says. “We’ve lived in four houses in four years.” Ultimately, according to Ames, the couple opted to sell and move to another, smaller home.

They listed the 11-room home for sale on September 15th, had two offers within the first week, and by September 23rd had a contract to sell, Ames says. The deal closed November 2nd. I have been unable to reach the buyers, Nicholas and Caylei Vogelzang, for comment.

Price Points: The house was built with its almost-twin next door in 2004-2005, but the builders can no longer be located. According to the Cook County Recorder of Deeds, the builders sold each house for over $4 million, but both buyers very quickly became the subject of foreclosure actions, and neither of them can be located either. In March 2008, the almost-twin house was sold again, as a short sale, for $2.375 million. So how much is today’s property worth if it has gone for between $1.85 million and $4.1 million in the past three years? Although she did not represent Economy and Mathias when they bought last year, Ames says she and many other Lincoln Park real-estate agents had toured the house and were convinced the $4.1-million mortgage was out of line. She notes that another pair of almost-twins a few doors down—by a different builder but approximately the same size as this house—both went for $3.15 million in 2007, and one has since resold for $3.3 million. “There’s no question it’s a $3 million block,” Ames says. In Chicago’s November issue, I reported that a newly built 17-room, 12,000-square-foot house on the same block sold in August for $5.6 million.

Listing Agent: Jenny Ames of Coldwell Banker, 312-440-7525; jenny@jenniferames.com

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