The former Chicago Bears wide receiver Tom Waddle, now a sports anchor at Fox Chicago, ESPN 1000, and other media, bought a new 12-room house in an estate section of Lake Forest on February 12th. The $3.25 million that Waddle and his wife, Cara, paid was just 48 percent of the $6.7 million that the home’s builder, Lynch Construction, initially asked for the place in October 2008.
Set on a 1.78-acre corner lot near the Onwentsia Club, the 7,800-square-foot home has a lannon-stone and wood exterior. Inside, according to the listing brochure, are six bedrooms, six-plus baths, and four fireplaces. The craft details include hefty wood beams, extra-tall birch wainscoting, and hand-scraped wide-plank white oak floors laid in a herringbone pattern. “It’s a beautiful home and we’re very excited,” says Cara Waddle. “I would say we got a good deal.” (Her husband did not respond to a request for comment.)
The Waddles aren’t the only buyers who have made out well on upper-end Lake Forest homes recently. In the past 12 months, ten houses have sold in town for over $3 million, at an average discount of 65 percent from their original prices, according to Brad Andersen, the Griffith, Grant & Lackie agent who was one of two listing agents on the Waddles’ new home. “The buyers are enjoying finishes originally intended to be included at much higher prices,” Andersen says. “There are really good values out there.”
By the time the Waddles bought the house, it had an asking price of $3.995 million; it had come down from its original price in a series of three cuts, about $1 million at a time. Andersen says the sellers were not at the point of a short sale or a foreclosure.
Cara Waddle says that the couple had been looking for a new house for a couple of years. “We have four kids, and we outgrew our [former] house,” she says. That residence was on the west side of Lake Forest in Middlefork Farms, a cluster of decade-old homes that overlooks the Middlefork Savanna forest preserve and has a distant view of the Walter Payton center, the Bears’ indoor practice facility. “I will miss that, but the lots are smaller there,” Cara Waddle says.
According to the Lake County Recorder of Deed, the Waddles bought a lot in Middlefork Farms in 1999 for $335,000. There is no record of the construction cost of the 14-room, five-bedroom red brick Georgian-style home they then built, and neither Cara Waddle nor the family’s selling agent, Debra Vargas of Coldwell Banker Lake Forest, would reveal the amount. The Waddles initially listed that property, which has an in-ground pool, in May 2008, with an asking price of $2.799 million, dropping it to $2.599 million in April 2009, according to Vargas. The house was sold on February 4th for $2.275 million to buyers whose names haven’t appeared yet in public records. At 81 percent of its original price, that’s not quite the bargain that the Waddles found in their new home.
Tom Waddle played for the Bears from 1989 to 1994. As he mentioned in this video for Mouthpiece Sports, Waddle wears several hats professionally, working as an anchor at both Fox Chicago and ESPN 1000.