A recently sold house in Ukrainian Village

Photo: Todd Urban


On February 16—the very first day that this 11-year-old, 4,000-square-foot house was shown to the public—one prospective buyer offered to pay the full asking price of $829,900. In cash.

That news so startled the sellers (Urjeet and Aloka Patel, according to the Cook County Recorder of Deeds) that they decided to see if an even better offer would surface at their open house that weekend. The original bid won out. “It’s hard to compete with a full-price cash offer,” explains Jenna Smith, the Redfin agent who represented the Patels.

Call it a flash sale: a mixture of tight inventory, eager buyers, and rising prices combusting into a deal at breakneck speed. Such sales, notably rare for the past several years, are suddenly becoming more common. In fact, they’ve nearly doubled since this time last year, according to Midwest Real Estate Data.

One reason this four-bedroom house sold so quickly, says Smith, is that it “looked immaculate, like brand-new.” What’s more, it seemed like a bargain compared with an almost-identical house on the same block. The competitor was newer and a smidge larger, but the asking price was $69,100 higher. (That house—which had first gone on the market in 2009 for more than $1 million—finally sold in March for $865,000.)

After the Patels saw their house sell so quickly, did they regret not pricing it higher? “When everything settled down,” Smith says, “they said they were happy.” And they scored a none-too-shabby return, given that they paid just $743,000 for the place in 2003, according to the Cook County Recorder of Deeds.