List Price: $219,900
The Property: This house in Chatham looks sort of ordinary on the outside, but inside, it sizzles. The box-beamed ceilings in the open-plan living and dining room, a sharp new kitchen, stylish tile finishes in the three baths, and a big master bedroom with a sitting room and ample closets are all very crisp and tastefully done. You can see all that in the listing photos.

See what I mean? It’s a polished place, far jazzier inside than you’d guess when looking at it from the street.

There are five bedrooms, a first-floor office or sitting room, and a two-car garage. The lot is extra big: 35 by 160 feet, compared to the city standard of 25 by 125 feet. The immediate neighborhood is mostly bungalows and two-stories of different eras, some with pre-World War II charm and others younger and plainer.

This house is a foreclosure rehab, bought by the rehabbers in April for $35,000. I haven’t been able to reach the rehabbers or their listing agent, so I don’t know the home’s condition when they got it, and I don’t know what mechanical systems or other major components were replaced or upgraded during the rehab. Potential buyers should ask about that.

The home isn’t alone in its price range: other nearby houses within range include this foreclosure rehab that sold in May for $209,000, and this one, also a foreclosure rehab, that is priced at $224,900 and has a contingent contract. (That means the wanna-be buyers have something they need to resolve, such as getting their present home sold.) A little farther away in South Shore is another home whose post-foreclosure rehab team appears to be the same as on today’s property. It’s priced at $289,000.

Area shopping options include Chatham Food Mart, the Chatham Ridge center a few blocks west of this home, and a Wal-Mart. There’s also a neighborhood movie theater and several restaurants, including Luversia’s, a soul food spot that opened last spring in the place of the legendary Izola’s.

For transportation, there’s the Dan Ryan a few blocks west, several CTA bus routes, and about a mile east, the Metra Electric’s 87th Street (historically, Woodruff) station.

Like many parts of the South Side, in the past several years Chatham has struggled with a high crime rate—significantly higher than was the norm in this long-stable community. The Chicago Tribune’s crime index shows that while crime in the neighborhood is high, property crime and quality of life crime have been dropping since 2007–2008. Violent crime is down, too, but less steeply. The crime rate is bound up with the shockingly high black unemployment rate, which in Chicago has been running more than twice the rate of joblessness for whites.

Clearly, potential buyers of this house will want to think through the implications of the neighborhood crime rate, and determine whether they believe the risk of buying here is too high relative to other comparably priced neighborhoods.

Listing Agent: Abraham Polatsek of Integra Properties, 847-763-1300 and