List price: $600,000
Sale Price: $545,000

The Property: When a homeowner owes more than a house is worth, that’s called being “under water.” In the case of this house, the term took on a double meaning.

The sellers of this house had bought the place in July 2006 for $800,000. The next year they moved to New York before they were able to sell the home, says their agent, RE/Max’s Christopher Kouros. Eventually the sellers, whose names do not appear in public records, dropped their asking price to $725,000—and at some point they stopped making payments on their mortgage.

Last August and September, when torrential rains flooded parts of Chicago, three to five inches of rain poured into the home’s basement. Because the house was unoccupied, the water remained standing for an unknown length of time. “The water wicked up the walls, and we got some black and green stringy stuff climbing two feet up the walls,” says Kouros.

After the flood, the sellers’ bank agreed to drop the asking price to $600,000 and listed the house with Kouros, who noted in the listing sheet that the house needed mold remediation. On April 23rd, the house was sold for $545,000, or 31 percent less than the sellers had paid for it 21 months earlier. The sale closed April 29th.

Price Points: “That was a damn good bargain,” says Kouros, who estimates that mold remediation would cost $30,000. The 18-year-old house needs some updating and cleaning up, Kouros says, and he puts those costs at about $50,0000. With 11 rooms (four bedrooms), a side-loading three-car garage, and a big corner lot, the house will be a nice one after it’s put back into shape. Two other residences on the same street in northern Glen Ellyn, both smaller homes than this one, sold for $612,000 and $615,000 in 2006.

Listing Agent: Christopher Kouros of RE/Max Suburban, 630-790-1776