List Price: $2,599,500
Sale Price: $2,375,000
The Property: Almost two years old but never occupied, this ten-room house would seem to have everything going for it, starting with location. It is only half a block from lovely Oz Park, and unlike most of the traffic-clogged Lincoln Park neighborhood, the one-way, block-long street it sits on offers some degree of privacy. As for the house itself, it is fitted out with a lavish kitchen, a sybaritic master bath, two outdoor decks, and three fireplaces. So why did it end up going at a relatively bargain price?

The house was completed in 2006, at a time when each new neighborhood mansion tried to outdo the one built just before. It is one of a pair of twins put up on teardown lots beginning in 2005; two doors south is another, larger pair of homes, and two doors north is a double-width mansion custom-built a few years ago. The latest buyers of this house, who are not identified in public records, will probably spend as much as $100,000 more on the house before moving in, says the seller’s agent, John McNaughton of Prudential Preferred Properties. That’s primarily to upgrade finishes and to correct damage, such as scratches in the wood floors, McNaughton says.

Price Points: The next-door twin of this house sold for $4,150,000 in November 2005. In May 2006, someone paid the development company that built this house $4.2 million for the place. (McNaughton says that he thinks that the buyer was the builder of the house; I could not confirm that, but if true, it means the buyer bought the house from his own business.) The person who bought the house in May 2006 never moved in, but by August 2007, his mortgage lender filed a lis pendens (literally, “suit pending”), which signaled the mortgagee’s intention to take the title of the house.

The owner had listed the house for sale with McNaughton at $3.4 million, but it sat unsold while the twins down the block went for $3.15 million and $3.1 million (and then the higher-priced one sold again for $3.3 million). Eventually the mortgage lender, Countrywide, ordered several appraisals on this place, which McNaughton says determined that the home’s market value was $2.5 million to $2.7 million. Countrywide had him cut the price to $2,599,500. “We got a lot of bottom feeders,” McNaughton says. “I got offers as low as $1.75 million. The bank said not to bring them any offers that started with a ‘1’.” In mid-March, the most recent buyers agreed to pay $2,375,000—or 43 percent below what the seller had contracted to pay almost two years earlier. The sale closed March 28th.

Listing Agent: John McNaughton of Prudential Preferred Properties, (312) 914-1827;