List Price: $2.9 million
Sale Price: $3 million
The Property: After a big markdown designed to get this 16-room mansion on the Wilmette lakefront sold, the highest bidder got it for $3 million on October 30. That’s just 63 percent of the $4.75 million that the previous residents paid for the house in the spring of 2010. But those previous residents, Alexander “Sandy” Ogg and Maria Ogg, didn’t lose anything in this deal.
In late 2010, Sandy took a new job, and his new employer—the Blackstone Group, an investment firm based in New York—bought the house from him for $4.825 million. That means the Oggs turned a 1.5 percent profit, but Blackstone took a $1.825 million loss, not including the carrying costs during the two years it owned the house (from August 2010 to October 2012).
As I reported when the Oggs made their 2010 purchase, the house, which has 135 feet of Lake Michigan beach, was built in 1968 and got a significant addition in the mid-1990s that took it up to about 7,500 square feet of living space.
A real-estate agent who knows the property says that the Oggs’ purchase price seemed high. Older parts of the house were not renovated during the 1990s addition, said this agent, who asked not to be identified because of business relationships with some of the parties involved. “So you’ve got five baths that date to 1968,” the agent said. “Just think of a really bad Days Inn off [Interstate] 80 somewhere, not the lakefront in Wilmette. That was tip-top dollar they paid in 2010.”
Blackstone listed the house for sale with @Properties’ Mindy Shea, initially asking $4.825 million, and then making a series of what Shea calls “minimal reductions, a couple hundred thousand dollars at a time.”
By late summer of this year, the price was down to $3.9 million. Shea says that she pointed out to a Blackstone official that North Shore lakefront homes that don’t sell by summer’s end typically sit unsold through the winter. She says that she offered strategies for getting the property sold in 30-day, 60-day, and three-month time frames, and the official went for the 30-day plan, cutting the price to $2.9 million.
It worked. “We had buyers coming out of the woodwork,” Shea says. She says six offers came in within two days of the new price update. One bidder went slightly over the asking price and prevailed. The buyers are not yet identified in public records, and Shea would not name them. She says she does not know whether they will demolish or renovate the house.
Price Points: Shea says most offers on the home came from people who had seen it previously but thought the price was out of whack. The ultimate buyers, though, had never looked at it before it hit that price, she says. “They knew lakefront property,” she says. “They’d been looking for a couple of years. They might have decided to stay away [when the price was higher].” The house first went on the market in 2008, listed by heirs of its original owner, William DeNicolo, for $6.9 million. By the time they sold to the Oggs, their price had come down to $5.3 million.