Walk the alleys in any older Chicago neighborhood and you’ll see a surprising number of living spaces where garages ought to be. These are the improvised, classic Chicago coach houses—and there are always a couple dozen for sale.
Three of the four properties featured today have been on the market for a decent span—two since April and one since January. Coach houses are trickier sales than condos or street-facing homes because of their subservience to primary structures, and because of a scarcity of designated parking. In the marketplace, if buyers notice them at all, they tend to present as older, smaller versions of a standard townhouse.
Since the typical coach house is enclosed in the lot of a main house or 3-flat, monthly assessments are usually a thing to pay as well. Thankfully, because the grounds and sometimes a garage are the only shared assets, they stay very low.
Here are the details on HOA dues and more for four places for sale now:
“A lot of people don’t know about coach houses,” says Susan Dickman, the KoenigRubloff listing agent for an East Village three-bedroom coach. “At this price point ($465,000) in this area, they expect to see newer 3-flat condos or maybe lofts.” Dickman’s charge is a 1919 brick home gutted to the studs in 1996 and brought to a crisp modern state by successive owners.
Aside from its great location near the swankiest stretch of Division Street, the home offers a bright, angular layout, hardwood floors, a wood-burning fireplace, vaulted ceilings, and a fenced yard and roof deck. One deterrent—also common to coach houses—is a lack of covered parking.
The sellers are very motivated. They made a big leap from a 2011 purchase price of $380,000 to the initial January list price of $539,000. Perhaps as a consequence, price cuts have been an almost monthly affair.
A half-mile east, a very old three-bed/three-bath cottage coach house behind a vintage 3-flat is firmly positioned as boutique real estate. The only concern is whether it is too well-built and customized for the typical mid-market East Village buyer. @properties listing agent Rich Anselmo thinks this buyer is not out for a major lifestyle change and may have trouble connecting to the place emotionally. “A lot of our buyers are coming out of two-bed new-builds, and are looking to move up in size and spoils,” he says. “The older aspects of a 1880s coach house, as well as restrictions to parking can give pause.”
The current asking price of $499,000 is the lowest it’ll get and a $50,000 dip from April and $130,000 below a 2010 listing, shortly after the owner’s purchase and renovation.
The least expensive coach house in this roundup is an old place in Roscoe Village. There’s no DOB stamped on this one, but the cottage’s modest size and wood framing points to the late 19th century. In a lot of ways, these are orphans in upper middle class neighborhoods like Roscoe Village and Lake View. Were the home in full possession of a city lot, it would be dust beneath a new-build by now.
The interiors bring 1,500 square feet of renovated living space with the potential to add a finished basement. There are three bedrooms and two full baths, and, like the other coach houses, a vaulted upper level. The eat-in kitchen is very large for the home. But once again, there’s no parking. Hitting the market in April for $429,000, the new asking price is $375,000.
The only new listing on the market in this roundup is a cedar-sided Lakeview two-bed with a lot of outdoor space. Three floors of newer interiors feature a kitchen with cherry cabinets and granite countertops. There are walk-in closets for each bedroom, a wood-burning fireplace, two-and-a-half bathrooms, a laundry room, office, and separate living, dining, and family rooms. It's a lot of space for a home of 1,500 square feet.
The owner has the home reasonably priced at $425,000. The previous owner thought the property was worth $449,000 in late 2008; it wound up selling for $383,000 two years later.