Further Reductions at 433 W. Briar in Lakeview

We’ve chattered about 433 W. Briar in Lakeview several times before. It is a conversion of the 34-unit vintage apartment building.

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Only 30% of the building has sold but they’ve been marketing the building for over a year.

Recently, two million dollar units have appeared on the listings. Are these combined units? Unit #10AC, for example, is over 4100 square feet and listed for $1.59 million.

Several units have also had price reductions. Additionally, the developer is offering incentives.

Here is the listing for #3C:

30% SOLD! PRICE REDUCED. DEVELOPER’S SPECIAL-IMMED DEL! ONE OF A KIND LUXURY VINT CONDO CONVERSION. LARGEST FLR PLAN IN BLDG W/PRIVATE ELEV ENT, LG FOYER, WET BAR, CRWN MOLDING & HW FLRS, DEC FP, NATL STONE BTHS, SEP DR, CUSTOM CABS, 1 1/4 GRANITE TOPS, LG ISLAND, HIGH-END SS APPL PACKAGE, NEW GFA SYSTEMS, W/D HOOK-UP.

DEEDED PKG SOLD SEPARATELY. FALL SPECIAL $20K OFF LIST PRICE IN NEXT 5 EXECUTED CONTRACTS.

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Baird and Warner is handling the listings.  See more pictures here

Unit #3C: 2 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 1650 square feet

  • Was listed in February 2008 for $515,000
  • Reduced
  • Currently listed for $485,000
  • Assessments of $334 a month
  • Taxes are “new”

53 Responses to “Further Reductions at 433 W. Briar in Lakeview”

  1. Vintage medium rise building with assessments at 0.8% of purchase price per year. Don’t believe it. As soon as the owners take over the association they are going to figure out what it really costs to run this building. I wonder how many buyers fall for this – and I bet their agents don’t warn them.

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  2. Indeed. As mentioned in my previous posts, we did our research and withdrew our offer after learning the downside of what appeared to be a lovely building in a fabulous location. The developer has already purchased the “upgrade” appliances (they sit in the empty, unfinished units) therefore she is more than flexible in that regard. However and again, the building is NOT secure, the sole trash disposal method is via the elevators and into the assigned bins in the alley (no trash chute), the roof is NOT new, the plumbing “stacks” were not replaced in the renovation, the elevators are “original,” on and on ad nauseum. We were willing to forego having an outdoor living area (read patio) and accept the painfully small though plentiful bathrooms (2.5 per unit)until we did the requisite homework. The Crystal Ball tells me (!) that the Grand Briar unit owners are not only in for assessment increases but specials, specials, specials. I so believe this building could have been a show place boasting 100% SOLD had only the developer taken the renovation to the next level. BTW, we came to know our information via a broker who, after many pesky phone calls on our part, finally caved and spilled.

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  3. Margo – thanks for sharing inside scoop. The units are really gorgeous – too bad the conversion was handled in such a shady way.

    If i were the broker i would bail out of this project.

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  4. We see this problem in way too many conversions: cosmetic renovations that do not address building structural issues. Just throw in some hardwood, stainless, granite and call it a day. Never mind that deteriorating roof and boiler, which will be a huge expense for owners in a few years.

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  5. Thanks for that bubbleboi. The current broker is Barbara J. O’Connor, a really lovely woman who wouldn’t bail out of the Titanic much less the Grand Briar. Originally, a woman from, I believe, Habitat had the listing. Barbara will make this thing happen eventually but at what cost, no one but the developer knows.

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  6. ***We see this problem in way too many conversions: cosmetic renovations that do not address building structural issues. Just throw in some hardwood, stainless, granite and call it a day. Never mind that deteriorating roof and boiler, which will be a huge expense for owners in a few years.***

    If any of you caught part of the “Property Ladder” marathon on TLC over Labor Day, you’d see the shortcuts, er “efficiencies”, that many of the flippers took.

    I’d imagine (and from what I’ve heard anecdotally), a lot of multi-unit developers took the same path.

    Buyer beware. Even if you proved fraud and won in court v. a developer, it’s very hard to cash in your judgment.

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  7. Again the open plan kitchen (that ensures cooking odours in every room) and replaces what was surely an enclosed space. What is the reason for doing this in a place of this size? I chose my nearby apt. precisely because the kitchen remained as originally planned — a place for actual cooking, not an additional sideboard visible from the lving room.

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  8. I agree re: kitchen. As someone who loves the charm and detail of vintage and is willing to put up with higher costs associated, I HATE it when a developer goes in and destroys what makes it vintage in the first place with the “open” floor plan and making it look like every other generic kitchen in every other condo in the city. Same goes for the bathroom. Yuk.

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  9. I am one of the people who has purchased a unit in the building (and according to you guys have made the biggest mistake of my life). Anyhow I did my research and think this will turn out to be a great place to live and a great investment in time (even if there a couple of special assessments along the way) – you just cannot get anywhere near the space and layout of the units for the price anywhere else in LP/Lakeview. And by the way i know a thing or two about buying property, although it was overseas i did manage to make over $210,000 on my last place in approximately 3 years – almost 50% of the purchase price

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  10. Like em or not… Open plan kitchens sell better. They also give the illusion of more space by visually expaninding the living area. I don’t have a preference.

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  11. I remember looking at these over a year ago, I think the woman who we talked claimed to be the one doing the conversion was over her head then, and I believe the side units were going for around $650K

    After I saw the “show” units I walked through the building, for the amount of gut work going on I am surprised they didnt do more

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  12. David (the first one) on September 10th, 2008 at 11:35 am

    Open kitchens are great for small kitchens, but agreed that it’s less appropriate for larger units. It can go either way, it really depends on the space. For small units with small kitchens, a tiny galley kitchen is much less attractive than something opened up with the living space.

    I wouldn’t go anywhere near this place with assessments that low. A leaky roof and a major utility/plumbing issue could quickly mean special assessments of many thousands of dollars with utterly inadequate reserve funds to take the edge off.

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  13. First off… I would be wary of any anonymous poster on any development. You can trace me and my statements!

    I have experience with this building as a buyer’s agent (I am not the listing agent nor work for the listing brokerage). The developer is sound, has a great track record, and the the unit owners already in the building have been satisfied after several inspections of the building.

    Anonymous Margo up there has no idea what she’s taking about. She sounds a woman scorned on a low-ball offer.

    I also know other agents who have sold in the building and I consulted them before advising my clients. Their clients are very happy.

    Originally, the prices were a little high for sure. But now, very good for the square footage, finishes and location. Its a unique building steps from the lake in East Lake View with great floor plans. It certainly appeals to a particular style and buyer. I loved the units and felt it was the best choice for my clients (who are very experienced in real estate and lived previously in a mid-rise and high-rise development).

    The current original elevators have been maintained/repaired, but mechanicals are scheduled for complete replacement (stated in the contract).
    The developer is in a great financial position on this building (we checked) and contributes an additional $5000 to the reserve account with each closing… on top of paying the monthly assessment for un-sold units.

    Look, bottom line is any building will need maintenance like any building needs maintenance. And assessments start out on an average of $316 for a two bedroom unit… how is this low? There is no garage or pool… not concrete balconies… no big ticket items other than elevator maintenance (which, mecahnicals will be new while keeping the vintage cabs).

    But the “condition” of this building as described by the above comments is completely exaggerated. For a development, I’ve never seen a cleaner, more organized work site than this past summer when we were viewing the building and negotiating an offer.

    Where else can you find 1600 nicely finished sq/ft, elevator building, two bed, two and one half bath in East Lake View, south of belmont, east of Halsted etc..etc.. for what they are asking now? You could live in unappealing new construction on the 2800 block of North Halsted for the same money. Loud street and no aesthetics. Smaller units, farther from the lake… and they sell for the same and more money.

    My point here is, in the beginning, they had a pricing and marketing issue when they hit the market. Now however, they have their crap together and these are really cool units in a killer location. If someone needs an elevator building, there are very, very few choices on a residential street… usually, you have to be on a commercial street or major road to get elevators.
    Not to mention this building is also only 34 units. Two bed, two bath units in 2800 N LSD ( a 1960s highrise with 100s of units) have sold easily for $599K this year with a $500-$600 assessment and less appealing units (nice lake views though). Its all relative to the buyer.

    My point here is, if I have one… don’t believe anonymous posters about a development. Go see it with an expert and make your own decision. I’d live in this building (can’t fit my family in a two bed anymore however!).

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  14. BTW, I think commenter Jim up there may live above or next to my clients unit (when my clients move in). Way to go Jim, I love the building and location.

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  15. Let me get this straight. Shills should be trusted just because they identify themselves?

    Is that the new NAR slogan?

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  16. I like that he calls himself an expert. I’d like to see his CV.

    “Go see it with an expert and make your own decision. “

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  17. Eric – thanks for your post – takes a little courage to use your actual name. However, that doesn’t make u right.

    Your description of the condition of the building seems very similar to Margo’s description – old elevators, old mechanicals, building that despite its squeaky clean appearance still needs work. You don’t mention roof, tuckpointing, fire escapes, or risers.

    What if the developer goes belly up? how are you going to get the work done then? In this environment “sound” developers can go poof in a very short period of time.

    if i were a developer i’d do all of thiw work before i sold the units, to remove doubt from the buyers’ minds. Doubt scares buyers. Plus, how is the developer going to replace all of the risers now that there are many finished bathrooms and kitchens? remove tile/cabinets then replace them?

    likewise with the elevator. Are the new tenants supposed to move in and then go through the inconvenience of being without a passenger elevator while it’s replaced?

    I’m curious about the language used in the contract for complete replacement of mechanicals. are they referring the “mechanicals” units in each unit? or building-wide? and what do they define as mechanicals?

    i just dont’ get this financially-sound-with-a-great-track-record developer’s approach to this whole thing. It’s done nothing but create doubt in my mind.

    Every vintage elevator building i’m familar with in this neighborhood has MUCH higher assessments, with or without doorman. Time will prove one side of this debate right.

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  18. Huh. So this developer owns the building directly, rather than through a single-asset LLC? No one does that, and with good reason. They need new lawyers. Is the developer providing a personal guarantee to the buyers for its obligations, or are those simply obligations of the LLC?

    BB–I only see that he was refering to *elevator* mechanicals. So neither unit-by-unit nor building-wide, just the elevator.

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  19. Guys,
    I agree these buildings can be bad and developers can go bye-bye.
    And I agree that people would be better off and more excited about a building if the entire work was finished. But this is not reality for most projects.

    You suggest I may be wrong about the condition of the building, yet we should believe people anonymously trashing a development they never went into?

    Yo “G”, thanks for the shill comment too “G”… Sounds like someone who has never owned nor never will. I’m not new to this and know this Internet game of commentors on web sites… its a joke.

    I suggested going and actually seeing the building with an expert Mr. “homedelete”. Hire whoever you want. I never called myself an expert… so you should read more carefully. I walk the properties with my actual contractor before buying my personal homes. You can do the same.

    Anon, “bubbleboi”… This is not my listing, nor do I have to spend the time to list all the recent improvements and renovations of the building, nor will I disclose my client’s contract details.

    You can quite easily go to the building and see what has been done. The previous owner, and this owner, have the documentation of the work.
    I’m expert enough to know go see it for yourself and make a decison if you want to call it home.

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  20. Eric,

    If you know the internet game of anonymous commentators is a joke why are you blessing us with your presence here? 😉

    Also you are correct in that a lot of us have never owned, most of us aren’t current owners. And if going deep into debt making imprudent financial decisions via owning you can count me in the ‘never will’ category as well. At least any time soon.

    I’m happy you found a greater fool willing to spend 440k on a small box of a home in north center. You won’t find a knife catcher in me.

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  21. just saw this–“And by the way i know a thing or two about buying property, although it was overseas i did manage to make over $210,000 on my last place in approximately 3 years – almost 50% of the purchase price”

    Yeah, and I met a guy who would have made about 675,000 euro in 8 years–about 9 times the purchase price–if he could have sold and left the country. Most of Europe was a goldmine over the past decade for those who could afford to sell and move.

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  22. Eric– of course you don’t “have to spend the time” defending absurd contentions. Of course, the easiest way to avoid that is by not making them in the first instance. The only asset backing up any “guarantees” from this (or most other) developers is the unsold portion of the development. If you extracted a personal guarantee, the developer is seriously desperate and that’s not a good sign.

    Also, at least two of the people “trashing” the building *have* been in the building and one says they made an offer. Stones and glass houses, as they say.

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  23. anon,
    Well, Jim did state “I did my research.” And he was right before. Just like a stopped clock.

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  24. G–

    And of course past performance IS indicative of future results, at least when it comes to real estate. Provided, of course, that you know a thing or two.

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  25. anon, I think in the context of a ‘return to the mean’ that you are correct.

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  26. Ha, true enough, but not exactly applicable to Jim’s property buying knowledge.

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  27. I’ve been to the building, which is what originally aroused my suspicions. I have been in real estate in various capacities for 18 years (there – truth is out – i’m no longer a boi). I consider myself an expert.

    And i reiterate – if i were working with buyers, i’d steer them very clear of this building. Seven sales out of 34 units in 16 months. Let’s see, at the current rate of 0.4375 units per month, the remaining 27 units will sell out within the next 61.71 months, but hey, let’s be generous and round down to five years. And this is before you consider that the initial marketing period usually results in the highest velocity of sales.

    Unless, of course, the developer (assuming they are still in control) decides to SLASH prices in order to be done with it. At that point, I’m sure the earlier buyers will be very glad to have hired an “expert” to research the building for them.

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  28. Eric Eric Eric if you read my previous posts re: 433 you would see that our offer had indeed been accepted so not a “woman scorned” am I. In fact, we landed a terrific deal not only price-wise but with the upgrades. It was a done deal. However, on a random visit, we were permitted entry into the building by a woman who was accompanied by her small child. No questions were asked. She simply let us in. The broker was not present in the building at the time (their hours are/were specific). It was during this visit that we saw the refuse disposal method by a tenant and, simultaneously realized the lack of security (no cameras, no wired windows on the back door, etc). When we broached this subject with the developer, who by the way took 3 days to “get back to us,” we were assured the building security would be improved. If that has happened, bravo! We then pressed on with our inquries about the “guts” of the building. The lack of improvements in that area proved to be the deal breaker for us. So you see Eric ours was, for us, a well thought out bailout. Now alas, I fear I have rambled on way too long and, most likely have only an audience of one and that would be bubbleboi 😉 so I’ll close here. Eric, enjoy your new/old digs. Good that you threw your full name into the mix (if indeed that IS your real name). I’ll not go down that road. That, like the back door and entryway at 433 is,for me, a security issue.

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  29. Would appreciate advice if anyone has. I sold a unit about 2 months ago, I am supposed to go to closing on it in 2 weeks, had a commitment letter from Wells Fargo for the buyer and now just received an email saying it did not appraise for the necessary amount (BY FAR the most aggressively priced unit in the building also – I puked to get out) Any suggestions.. Yes a lovely market for those bulls out there.

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  30. BTW Jim and Eric: Our previous building on one of the lovliest streets in the GC was built in 1967. In our 8 years as unit owners, our monthly assessments doubled+1/2 and we were special assessed $27,000. Mind you, there were others whose specials had to have exceed infinity times infinity since they owned the largest units. I have now heard through the building’s vine that the 2 elevators must be replaced per City of Chicago; the lobby and mailbox area will be redone per the building’s BOD; the garage roof is crumbling; the pipes are emiting a putrid odor and color (nothing to do with shut-offs); and, icing on the cake, the resident engineer is moving out though still maintaining his position as Head Engineer. Can you possibly fathom how those specials will be received? Had we initially requested the Board Minutes prior to our purchase, we would have seen just how many pertinent issues (i.e.back-up boiler system) were addressed but ultimately shelved. So you see, when we thoroughly checked out 433 we simply did the math. The low assessments were enticing. Ours, previously were equally enticing. In the end, after completly rehabbing the unit over time we were able to eke out a modest (read really really small) profit. A previous post read something to the effect of “if you can’t afford the specials and monthly assessments in an older building you don’t belong there.” I am paraphrasing but you get the gist. We just don’t belong and that’s OK. We are sublimely thankful to have learned the lesson before it returned to bite us once again.

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  31. Margo:

    “small profit” capitalizing the specials, or not? Just curious.

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  32. anon:

    Factoring in the specials we still managed to depart our GC condo with a bit of pocket change. Here’s something you may find interesting though not surprising. We sold our place for $1,000 ABOVE what the broker had originally urged (!)us to list it for. Now don’t get me going down this road anon. I could stay up and dis this guy and his “team” all night. Instead though I’ll go have a look at Dragon’s Den. It’s almost as much fun as CC.

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  33. “Would appreciate advice if anyone has. I sold a unit about 2 months ago, I am supposed to go to closing on it in 2 weeks, had a commitment letter from Wells Fargo for the buyer and now just received an email saying it did not appraise for the necessary amount (BY FAR the most aggressively priced unit in the building also – I puked to get out) Any suggestions.. Yes a lovely market for those bulls out there.”

    You should:
    1) Ask you lawyer for advice;

    You could:
    2) Bring money to the closing table;
    3) Lower the price further;
    4) Take a 2nd (or 3rd) mortgage on the unit – but don’t expect to be paid any time soon, if ever, if the guy defaults on your loan.

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  34. Eric, I appreciate realtors posting here to give us their perspective on this market. Some people believe that nothing is selling in this market, or if it is, it’s selling for 40% below the asking price (which we know not to be the case.)

    But just keeping it real, you said:

    “Two bed, two bath units in 2800 N LSD ( a 1960s highrise with 100s of units) have sold easily for $599K this year with a $500-$600 assessment and less appealing units (nice lake views though). Its all relative to the buyer.”

    I only see 1 unit that sold for over $500,000 so far in 2008 in 2800 N LSD and it was unit #2516 for $527,500. I don’t know if that’s a 2/2 or not. There have been 16 sales in that building in 2008.

    It doesn’t seem to me like units are selling “easily” for $599k.

    But maybe you are thinking of sales in prior years.

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  35. HD,
    Thanks… I already know well what the lawyers comments will be. The majority of the times I have posted on here I have repeated the same mantra “banks are insolvent, the final crash will be a solvency issue” Kind of ironic to get bent over by exactly what you say. I mean I got super aggressive getting this off so everyone else in the building is in even deeper poo. I was thinking more on the lines of trying a different financing alternative but I am was set to leave the country, for good, in 2 weeks which makes it rough. I really am more bearish than ever, I have no reason but to be biased upwards but I am so incredibly bearish. The ice is really cracking and to steal one from Steinbeck I really believe “this will be the winter of our discontent”
    HD if you missed it earlier I posted that their is now ground testing in the lot across form 600 Fairbanks… That should do wonders for south facing.. thought you would get a kick out of that.

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  36. IB:

    I have a terrific RE attorney. Youthful, bright, and extremely “creative.” We have a solid business relationship with him. Otherwise, HD’s suggestion to further lower your price to what is now the “appraised value” is the way to go unless the contract had a contingency for financing or appraisal. If your contract did not include a mortgage or appraisal contingency I believe the contract must be consummated. In the meantime, toss it up to the Universal Gods of Realty one of whom is an amazing guy who chatters here. We used him to purchase our home. He also handled a short, quick sell at 3500 NLSD breaking the sound barrier for sure. A personal question: must you have the cash BEFORE you leave for points beyond? Remember it’s not necessary for you to be present at closing as the seller. Best of luck to you…

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  37. Margo,
    Thanks.. the buyer is a young guy, doing well, but not cash rich at the moment. I would never ever force a close and stuff him, it’s not my way. Will contract at new price and let him pay me the diff tax free over 2-3 years.
    But boy are these people who think this is a good market mistaken. My favorite.. “rates are going lower” .. haha my response.. “who cares if they won’t give it to you”

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  38. Kudos to you IB. Please know I never meant for you to do anything disreputable. Initially though, you sounded quite desperate. Just wondering, does tax free mean interest free?

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  39. yes.. interest free.. hadn’t had my coffee yet… :-)
    Not desperate.. crazy pissed to have found out a month after appraiser was here. these guys are so cash strapped and operationally impaired right now its almost a joke.

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  40. IB:

    Can you give us some figures? like how much comps are, how much below market you priced your unit, what the appriasial was, etc?

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  41. HD… Meaning no disrespect, I never discuss personal work or finances in specificity with people. No one who has met me within the past 10 years has ever even been asked what they do for a living no matter how long they have known me. All I can say is I have a lot of experience judging market value and know when I am the best offered (particularly easy when you are in a condo) which is why it sold in this market to begin with.

    Amazing thing is I just found out the mortgage guy had the assessment since end of August, never told me, and was trying to contest it.
    Or waiting to tell me when there was too little time for me to move the business to someone else might be more likely.

    Take your pick.

    Why is it that, with only two exceptions that i can think of, dealing with real estate people makes me feel dirty every time? Make that salespeople in general.

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  42. IB – this is an anonymous message board. Your prohibition on discussing personal work or finances doesn’t matter here. I don’t know you, I will probably never know you, and even if I did meet you in the ordinary course of business, it would be improbable that I could connect the username IB to the person. I too try not to talk about finances with people I know (mainly because people get jealous and will eventually try to steal it from you) but I feel confident that I have not ‘outed’ myself with my personal tidbits and professional advice.

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  43. Understood, but still choose to always conduct myself in the same way anonymously or not. Helps me avoid conflicts and grey areas.

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  44. Btw HD.. did you like the drill info in front of 600 N Fairbanks.. should take a good 5-10% off anything south facing the second they break ground (if they do)

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  45. Take another 1% off because it means the closing of Hot Diggity Dog.

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  46. “Btw HD.. did you like the drill info in front of 600 N Fairbanks.. should take a good 5-10% off anything south facing the second they break ground (if they do)”

    I agree. But I wonder how many prospective buyers will notice though?

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  47. No I am certain their Realtors will uphold their fiduciary duty and inform their clients. Oh wait Realtors don’t have a fiduciary duty.

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  48. FYI:

    The developer is back to the “fall special” incentive offering 20K off the next 5 executed contracts. Hopefully Jim will have a lot of new neighbors before long.

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  49. This is a MUST share. Yesterday, I received an email from an individual representing the broker. She kindly requested that I contact “Julia” with Absolute Properties (number included) to schedule a date for the intercom to be installed in my unit.

    Normally, that would be cool with me. However, as my previous posts will show, my husband and I cancelled our purchase agreement with 433 in JUNE!

    Sabrina, you are right in saying that is an awfully long time to go intercom-less ;-0

    Enjoy.

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  50. Margo,

    Hardly a “must share” – the entry system dials through to the landlines in the units….so there would be no need for any intercom to be installed in your unit which you weren’t buying anyway…

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  51. The email date 10/09 reads exactly as follows:
    “Hi Margo,
    Plese call Julia at Absolute Builders to have the intercom set up for your unit XX at 433 Briar. Julia’s number is 847-859-XXXX. Her email is julia@absolute builiders.us.
    Thanks,
    “Susie” ”

    It’s a “must share” created especially for you Jim!!! Dude, you’re gettin’ a Dell…I mean an intercom. :-)

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  52. My husband and I are seriously considering buying a unit at 433 W. Briar. We are first time buyers and our real estate agent put a little bug in our ear regarding potential issues that may arise. Such as unaddressed structural problems and roaring assessments down the line. What else should we know? Please be honest! Thanks!

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  53. Two years later:

    Looks like price of some of the 2/2.5’s is down to $349 (not sure if the B units are the same as the C units).

    Maybe they’ve got some more special buyer incentives…

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