This is a promised follow up to yesterday’s post about Chicago home price variations that don’t make sense. We recently represented buyers of a Fannie Mae foreclosure at University Commons – a 2 bedroom, 2 bath condo with a den at 1150 W. 15th, unit 418. Although the price is listed at $300,000 it was really just under $294,000 after factoring in a seller credit. The property was in excellent condition, looking like it had been refurbished by Fannie Mae – fresh paint, new carpeting, all appliances intact, recently refinished floors. It had been on the market for about a month at a lowered price.
Whereas most 2 bedroom, 2 bath condos in University Commons are narrow and deep this unit has the much more desirable split floorplan which is much wider and has windows in both bedrooms in addition to a wide wall of windows in the living room/ dining room area. You can compare some of the floor plans at that link I just gave you. In addition, this unit is on the top floor of the building, which is a new construction level with drywall throughout (as opposed to the original concrete structure). The unit faces south but you are insulated from the railroad track by another building in the development.
Basically it looks like our clients got a great deal as this was the cheapest purchase of a unit like this in the last 12 months. Compare it to unit #413 at 1110 W 15th that recently sold for $335,000 after being on the market for 81 days and unit #416 next door to the unit we just closed on, which is under contract after being listed for $364,900 for 54 days. Granted, we don’t know what the unit next door is going to close for but I’ll bet you it won’t close that far from the list price. And strangely enough, whoever bought that unit had the opportunity to buy our unit as well because the two units were on the market at the same time. And from the photographs it appears that unit #416 is somewhat narrower than our unit, though the listing indicates the same square footage.
So why the huge price difference between these units? Unit #413 at 1110 W 15th did in fact have additional kitchen cabinets and a backsplash that our buyers’ unit did not. However, that certainly does not seem to justify a $41,000 price difference.
Could it be that the unit our buyers bought had a less effective listing? The photos were amateur but they didn’t make the unit look bad. Oddly enough most of the University Commons listings use amateur photos, many of which are just downright awful. (I will never understand why sellers hire agents that use amateur photos.) In fact, Unit #413 at 1110 W 15th had amateur photos. The unit next door had professional photos but the paint is awful and the unit is cluttered so the photos didn’t look that great either.
The listing for our unit did not mention the refurbishing work that had been done, which I believe was a big mistake. The listing also clearly indicated that it was a Fannie Mae Homepath property so I don’t know if that somehow stigmatized the property. It certainly should not have.
At the end of the day I’m just left scratching my head once again and chalking these prices up to the randomness of the real estate market.
Gary Lucido is the President of Lucid Realty, the Chicago area’s full service discount real estate brokerage. If you want to keep up to date on the Chicago real estate market, get an insider’s view of the seamy underbelly of the real estate industry, or you just think he’s the next Kurt Vonnegut you can Subscribe to Getting Real by Email using the form below. Please be sure to verify your email address when you receive the verification notice.