Sale Price: $1.300,000
The Property: This new 13-room brick and stone house in Skokie’s Devonshire Highlands neighborhood has many custom perks. Among them: motorized lifts on the chandelier and the staircase light fixture (to make cleaning easier); a built-in hutch in the dining room; handsome library shelving; and insulated windows with operable blinds installed between two panes of glass.
The house is the work of a rare builder who actually does much of the construction with his own hands. Anthony Youseph, who has been building houses and condos for almost 20 years, works on the site every day with his crew of two (plus a few extra workers brought in for the big-crew stages of construction). “I do it all—electrical, plumbing, framing, carpentry, because I like doing those things,” Youseph says. “I don’t consider myself a builder. I consider myself somebody who has a hobby that he enjoys.” And that he does full-time.
In several of his houses, Youseph’s company, A. Anthony Builder, has built a kosher kitchen that would accommodate the needs of Orthodox Jews; it has double sinks and dishwashers to keep separate the utensils and dishes for meat and dairy. (The second refrigerator is in the basement, in a second kitchen.) In this house, Youseph went one better: there are three sinks in the kitchen. The third has no religious rationale. “You just seemed to need another sink in the island,” he says.
The house went on the market in October while still under construction. The buyers, who are not yet identified in public records, contracted to buy in early January and closed on their purchase February 1st. But they won’t move in until mid-March, after Youseph and his crew have finished painting and installed the granite countertops (the buyers selected the paint colors and the countertops). “His houses always sell when they’re still in the drywall phase,” says Barry Benveniste, Youseph’s agent on this and two prior houses. “People can see that they’re done to perfection.”
At a time when countless builders around Chicago are sitting on unsold inventory, Youseph has no such problem because he only builds one house at a time. “I don’t want to have ten projects going on,” he says. “I just have the one that I’m building.” And though he loves building houses, Youseph doesn’t live in one of his own homes. “They’re too expensive for me,” he says.
Price Points: This is the highest-priced home sold in Skokie in at least the past three years, according to data from the Multiple Listing Service of Northern Illinois. The next-highest sold in August 2006 for $1.25 million, and before that you have to go back to 2005 to find other sales in the $1.2 million range. Interestingly, of the 12 Skokie homes that have sold for $1 million or more in the past three years, eight are on streets whose names start with the letter K, including this one.
Listing Agent: Barry Benveniste, RE/Max 1st Class, (847) 674-9797; firstname.lastname@example.org.