Looking for a 4-Bedroom Pre-War Beauty in Uptown? 4639 N. Beacon

This 4-bedroom top floor unit at 4639 N. Beacon in Uptown has been on the market nearly 2 years.

Built in 1915, it has most of its vintage features intact including built-ins in the living room and dining room along with a beamed ceiling and crown molding.

But it also has the modern conveniences buyers look for including air conditioning, in-unit washer/dryer and 2 car parking.

The unit has 2 large outdoor spaces and roof rights.

While the unit is technically a 4-bedroom, the fourth bedroom has been open to the kitchen so it is currently being used as a 3-bedroom.

The kitchen has maple cabinets, stainless steel appliances and granite counter tops.

First listed in April 2010, it has been reduced $69,100 in that time.

It is now listed for $30,100 under the 2002 purchase price.

What price will it take to finally sell this property?

Brad Lippitz at Prudential Rubloff has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #3: 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 2100 square feet, 2 car parking

  • Sold in January 1998 for $332,000
  • Sold in October 1999 for $395,000
  • Sold in September 2002 for $480,000
  • Originally listed in April 2010 for $519,000
  • Reduced several times
  • Currently listed for $449,900
  • Assessments of $266 a month
  • Taxes of $6950
  • Central Air
  • Washer/dryer in the unit
  • Fireplace
  • Bedroom #1: 12×16
  • Bedroom #2: 11×11
  • Bedroom #3: 13×9
  • Bedroom #4: 12×9 (currently open to the kitchen)


Market Conditions: Condo Buildings Struggle to Get and Maintain FHA Approval

Just as credit remains tight, especially for new buyers who might not have a large downpayment, comes word that some condo buildings in Chicago are losing FHA eligibility and others that are applying for it are getting turned down.

From the Chicago Tribune:

Since Feb. 1, 2010, condo buyers haven’t been able to secure unit-by-unit “spot” approval for FHA-backed mortgages if an entire building was not certified. Instead, the federal government set criteria to determine the financial viability of an entire building before deeming the project as FHA-approved, even if it had previously been certified. An approval lasts two years.

The number of rejected buildings is adding up, due to bad paperwork and bad balance sheets as an increasing number of condo associations struggle with rentals, short sales and foreclosures. It is jeopardizing the plans of condo sellers who rely on the FHA’s stamp of approval as a marketing tool and condo buyers who either want or need an FHA-approved building.

Since Oct. 1, almost a quarter of the 206 Illinois condominium communities that have gone through the certification process have been rejected by the FHA. Those 48 buildings, which range from three-flats to high-rises, add up to 1,900 units in Chicago and its suburbs. The national rejection rate during the same time frame was 38 percent.

An additional 863 condo communities in Illinois, including 563 in Chicago, were approved by the FHA in 2010, but their certifications are set to expire this year.

So all those buildings that rushed to get certification a few years ago, now face the process again. Some will be able to pass, some will not.

That will obviously impact buyers decisions. And condo boards also have a decision to make because it isn’t cheap going through the certification process.

For buyers like Kristy Fender, of Chicago, FHA certification is a must-have on her list, and not just because it lets Fender and her fiance, Dan Harvey, make a smaller down payment on a home purchase. She also figures that in approving buildings the FHA is doing the due diligence that she would otherwise have to do.

But the process has been much more complicated than Fender imagined, and she’s wasted a fair amount of her time. During the past few months that she’s looked at units in Chicago’s South Loop, she’s incorrectly been told that a unit can get spot approval and has looked at units that were listed as FHA approved, only to find out the certification had expired. Her real estate agent, Bette Bleeker of Prudential Rubloff, wound up routinely checking property listings against the FHA’s website of approved buildings.

“It’s been very frustrating,” Fender said. “There’s a lot of wishy-washy information out there.”

Fender and her fiance now plan to made an offer on a South Loop condo, but the offer will be contingent on the association getting the building certified for FHA financing. Bleeker has spoken with the building’s management company.

A high number of renters in a building can doom an FHA application, which requires that a building must be more than 50% owner occupied.

Financially, the 249-unit condo building at 1620 S. Michigan Ave. in Chicago is stable, said condo board President Jeanette Johnson. Nevertheless, she worries that the building won’t pass the test when its certification expires next month because of the high number of renters residing in units.

“I’m anticipating that the board will try to do the recertification, but I don’t know if we’ll qualify,” she said. “We’ll need to evaluate that before we spend any money. It’s definitely on the radar screen.”

If the building doesn’t qualify, Johnson said, it’s likely the board would look to change its declarations and bylaws, itself a difficult and lengthy process, to gradually reduce the number of renters allowed in the building.

The Community Association Institute believes the FHA’s requirements are having a “chilling” effect on the market, and the trade group has asked for flexibility in the guidelines.

“When it comes to the condo market, that is the gateway to affordable housing, and FHA should play a critical role in that,” said Andrew Fortin, a vice president at the trade group.

Will lack of FHA certification put a damper on the condo market in 2012?

And is this just the beginning on even tighter standards for buyers once Freddie/Fannie are restructured?

FHA approval a certifiable problem [Chicago Tribune, Mary Ellen Podmolik, January 22, 2012]

It’s Back: “Buyers Walked” from 4-Bedroom SFH at 3037 W. Belden in Logan Square

We last chattered about this 4-bedroom bungalow with 2 kitchens at 3037 W. Belden in Logan Square in September 2011.

See our September chatter here.

At the time, the number of bedrooms seemed confusing as the listing said 4 but only listed 3 bedrooms.

It’s now listed as 4 bedrooms with one on the second floor attic, two on the main floor and one in the basement.

In November, the house, which was a short sale, went under contract.

But now the listing says the “buyers walked” and it has come back on the market as an “approved short sale.”

If you recall, the house was built in 1890 on a rare double lot measuring 50×140.

It also has not just 1 but 2 kitchens, with the second one in the recently finished basement.

The listing also says the roof, electrical, heating and cooling have all been replaced. It has central air and a 2 car garage.

The house has come back on the market at the same price as before: $375,000.

With the market for starter homes being so hot, will this go under contract quickly once again?

Leigh Marcus at @Properties still has the listing. See more pictures here.

3037 W. Belden: 4 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1381 square feet, 2 car garage

  • Sold in March 1992 for $6,000
  • Sold in April 2005 for $110,000
  • Sold in April 2006 for $350,000
  • Originally listed in January 2010 for $550,000
  • Reduced numerous times
  • Was listed in September 2011 as a “short sale” for $375,000
  • Was under contract in November 2011
  • “Buyers walked”
  • Re-listed as an “approved short sale” in January 2011 for $375,000
  • Taxes of $4435
  • Central Air
  • Double lot of 50×140
  • Bedroom #1: 19×14 (attic)
  • Bedroom #2: 12×8 (main level)
  • Bedroom #3: 7×7 (main level)
  • Bedroom #4: 12×8 (basement)
  • Kitchen: 14×12 (main level)
  • Kitchen #2: 10×8 (lower level)

Historic West Ridge Mansion Reduced to $1.29 Million from $2.45 Million in the Last Year: 2100 W. Pratt Blvd.

We’ve chattered about this 12,000 square foot historic mansion at 2100 W. Pratt Boulevard in West Ridge several times in the last year.

See our June 2011 chatter here.

Back in June, it had been reduced to $1.89 million from $2.45 million.

Many of you thought that was getting more reasonable and that it might sell for $1.7 million.

Groove declared it his dream house and was ready to move in (with help from Sonies and the filming of a Reality TV show about the two of them living in the house being wacky d-bags. No- I’m not kidding.)

There were also the usual comments about how much more you get in “Oak Brook” (no surprise) and also whether or not the neighborhood could sustain this price.

One person guessed it would ultimately sell for under a million.

It’s 7 months later, and one year after it first came on the market, and it has been reduced further to $1.29 million.

If you recall, the listing (yes- it’s the same listing with typos) says it is the first time the home has been listed in 111 years.

Built in 1900, the listing says it was a summer home and took 4 years to complete.

The 5-bedroom home has hardwood floors throughout and 5 fireplaces.

Built on an oversize 187×150 lot, there is a 3-car garage which the listing says was also the original chauffeur’s quarters.

20 years ago an indoor pool was also added to the house (you can check it out in the pictures.)

The kitchen has white cabinets and some white appliances with black counter tops.

There is central air.

The house sits across from Warren Park’s golf course (you can also see the view in the pictures.)

It’s also apparently a “home with a lot of history.”

The lis pendens foreclosure on this property was filed over a year ago.

Will this house sell before going back to the bank?

And will the Groove (and possibly Sonies) end up living there?

Lydia Memeti at Re/Max City still has the listing. See the pictures here.

2100 W. Pratt Boulevard: 5 bedrooms, 4 baths, 3 half baths, 12,000 square feet, 3 car garage

  • Last sold in 1900
  • Lis pendens foreclosure filed in October 2010
  • Originally listed in January 2011 for $2.45 million
  • Was still listed in March 2011 for $2.45 million
  • Reduced
  • Was listed in June 2011 at $1.89 million
  • Reduced several times
  • Currently listed at $1.29 million
  • Taxes of $14,225
  • Central Air
  • Indoor Pool
  • 5 fireplaces
  • Bedroom #1: 20×26 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #2: 15×15 (main floor)
  • Bedroom #3: 14×12 (main floor)
  • Bedroom #4: 20×19 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #5: 17×10 (second floor)

Market Conditions: December Sales Rise 6.4% YOY But Median Price Declined Again

It’s time for more monthly housing data from the Illinois Association of Realtors.

We already know from G and Gary that sales rebounded year over year but the median price continues to slide.

From the Illinois Association of Realtors:

In the city of Chicago, December 2011 home sales (single family and condominiums) totaled 1,536, up 6.4 percent from 1,444 homes sold in December 2010. The city of Chicago median home sale price for December 2011 was $156,000, down 6.2 percent compared to December 2010 when it was $166,250.

Here is a comparison of the last several years (thanks to G for the data and the percentage of REO/distressed sales).

Chicago’s median price is now under the 1999 median price of $165,000 (but median can vary greatly depending on the mix of what is selling, of course.)

  1. December 2004: 3,719 sales and median price of $267,000
  2. December 2005: 2,847 sales and median price of $283,000
  3. December 2006: 2,241 sales and median price of $279,000
  4. December 2007: 1,629 sales and median price of $287,000
  5. December 2008: 1,263 sales and median price of $235,000
  6. December 2009: 1,820 sales and median price of $208,000 (34% short/REO sales)
  7. December 2010: 1,475 sales and median price of $166,000 (43% short/REO sales)
  8. December 2011: 1,536 sales and median price of $156,000 (44% short/REO sales)

For Condos/Townhouses:

  1. December 2009: 1,024 sales and median price of $279,700
  2. December 2010: 827 sales and median price of $222,000
  3. December 2011: 841 sales and median price of $182,500

For the year, sales and prices also fell year over year.

For the year, home sales totaled 17,715 in the city of Chicago, down 7.2 percent from 19,089 sales in 2010. The year-end statewide median price for 2011 was $175,000, down 13.8 percent from $203,000 in 2010.

“December ended the year with an optimistic showing of buyers coming out and making decisions about investing in a home. While the year-end numbers for 2011 were down over 2010, a positive uptick in sales toward the end of the year is a great indicator of a strong winter and spring season for buyers and sellers, alike, looking to get off the fence,” said REALTOR® Bob Floss, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® and Broker-Owner of Bob Floss and Son Realty. “Still problematic is the downward pressure distressed properties are putting on the market and a trend we will continue to monitor this year as we observe changes in median pricing throughout the city.”

Chicago was weaker than the 9-county Chicagoland area and the state for the year.

Foreclosures and short sales continue to put pressure on prices. There doesn’t appear to be any indication this is going to change any time soon.

“Housing market forecasts for January, February and March 2012 for Illinois and the Chicago PMSA suggest that sales volume will be significantly higher than the same period last year, although prices will still be lower than a year ago. Until these foreclosed properties and additions expected in 2012 clear the market, sustained upward movement in prices will be unlikely,” Hewings said.

It seems as if some people are anticipating a much more buoyant spring market.

Is that just wishful thinking?

December Illinois Home Sales Mark Sixth Month of Year-over-Year Gains; 2011 Sales Close to 2010, Chicago PMSA Up 1.3 Percent [Illinois Association of Realtors, Press Release, January 20, 2012]


“Once In a Lifetime” Victorian Sells for $409K: 2633 N. Central Park in Logan Square

We last chattered about this renovated 3-bedroom Victorian at 2633 N. Central Park in Logan Square in August 2011 after it had been reduced $40,000 to $449,000.

See our prior chatter here.

This is one of the many properties that had been bank owned, was rehabbed and then came back on the market.

Even after the price reduction, many of you thought this was still way overpriced compared to other sold comps in the neighborhood. You also disliked the vinyl (aluminum?) siding.

Instead, it sold in November 2011 for $409,000.

If you recall, originally the house was bank owned and the listing called it “not habitable.”

The listing said it needed “to be rehabbed and brought back to life.”

It had some of its vintage features including trim, original hardwood floors and built-ins.

But as you can see from the pictures in the bank owned listing- it needed a lot of work. See those pictures here.

The house sold in February 2011.

It came back on the market in June totally rehabbed and was listed as a “once in a lifetime”.

The house was built in 1878 and was on a rare double lot of 50×125.

In addition to the original pine hardwood floors, it had leaded glass windows, oak moldings and an antique fireplace.

The house also had a new roof, siding, heat, a/c, electric, plumbing and garage.

The kitchen had white cabinets, stainless steel appliances and what looked like butcher block counter tops.

The basement was unfurnished. All 3 bedrooms were on the second floor and there was a 13×14 family room on the main level.

Is it surprising it sold for over $400,000 given its location?

David Bishaf at David Bishaf Real Estate Broker had the listing. You can still see the interior pictures here.

2633 N. Central Park Avenue: 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 2200 square feet, 2 car garage

  • There is no prior sales price
  • Originally listed in November 2010 for $99,000
  • Bank owned in December 2010
  • Sold in February 2011 for $162,500
  • Originally listed in June 2011 for $489,000
  • Reduced
  • Was listed in August 2011 at $449,000 
  • Reduced
  • Was listed in October 2011 at $419,000
  • Sold in November 2011 for $409,000
  • Taxes of $4692
  • Central Air
  • Bedroom #1: 12×12 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #2: 13×10 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #3: 14×8 (second floor)
  • Family room: 13×14 (main level)

Will This Short Sale 2/2 in Lakeview Sell for Under $200K? 3900 N. Pine Grove

We last chattered about this 2/2 in the Coronado at 3900 N. Pine Grove in September 2011.

See our prior chatter here.

Although the last chatter evolved into a discussion on if Chicago was becoming the next Detroit (!), some of you did manage to guess what this unit, then priced at $239,000, might actually eventually sell for.

Most guesses were in the range of $180,000 to $190,000.

Since September it has been reduced to $204,900.

If you recall, the building was converted into condos in 2006, at the height of the condo boom.

This particular unit has most of the upgrades that were common in that era including a newer kitchen with cherry cabinets, granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances.

The bathrooms are marble.

It has hardwood floors in the main living area and berber carpet in the bedrooms.

There is an in-unit washer/dryer but no central air. There are wall units instead.

In addition to the two bedrooms, the unit also has a 13×10 den.

Are these late-in-the boom Lakeview conversion 2-bedrooms destined to sell for around $150,000- or 60% off the 2006 price?

Peter Tortorello at Koenig & Strey Real Living has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #903: 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, den, no square footage listed

  • Sold in August 2006 for $335,000
  • Originally listed in June 2011 for $279,900
  • Reduced several times
  • Was listed in September 2011 as a “short sale” for $239,900 (included the parking)
  • Reduced
  • Currently listed at $204,900 (includes the parking)
  • Assessments of $518 a month (includes heat and pool)
  • Taxes of $5769
  • No central air- wall units only
  • In-unit washer/dryer
  • Bedroom #1: 13×11
  • Bedroom #2: 13×11
  • Bedroom #3: 13×10

“Complete Gut” For This 1-Bedroom in the Marlborough: 400 W. Deming in Lincoln Park

We actually last chattered about this 1-bedroom in the historic Marlborough at 400 W. Deming in Lincoln Park in February 2010 when the bank decided to try and rent the unit out.

See our prior chatter here.

That strategy was soon abandoned and the bank owned unit came on the market in September 2010.

But it took nearly a year and a $62,900 priced reduction to finally sell the unit for $112,000 in August of 2011.

I can’t find any original pictures, but from what I remember from the pictures for the rental, the kitchen and bath was intact.

Now, the unit has come back on the market as a “complete gut.”

And it is no longer just a 1-bedroom with a separate dining room but it is a 1-bedroom plus den and a separate dining room.

Here are the before and after room sizes:


  • Bedroom: 17×11
  • Living room: 18×12
  • Dining room: 12×11
  • Kitchen: 10×7


  • Bedroom: 17×11
  • Living room: 13×11
  • Dining room: 11×10
  • Kitchen: 12×11
  • Den: 8×7

There is now a double sided marble fireplace in the living room.

The kitchen is completely new with stainless steel appliances and “rare honed marble” counter tops.

There is crown molding and walnut stained floors.

The bathroom has Toto, Robern and Grohe finishes.

Sound familiar?

See our chatter on 1104 W. Montana in Lincoln Park which was also recently gutted and went from a 1-bedroom to a 2-bedroom.

However, like the one on Montana, this unit is missing some features that buyers look for, including central air, an in-unit washer/dryer and parking (parking is rental in the neighborhood.)

Will the rehabber get $270,000 for this 1-bedroom?

Eugene Fu at @Properties has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #9N: 1 bedroom, den, no square footage listed

  • Sold in July 1991 for $102,500
  • Sold in October 1995 for $106,500
  • Sold in August 1998 for $126,500
  • Sold in March 2001 for $172,000
  • Sold in March 2004 for $209,000
  • Lis pendens foreclosure filed in June 2009
  • Listed for rent in February 2010
  • Bank owned in April 2010
  • Originally listed in September 2010 for $174,900
  • Reduced numerous times
  • Sold in August 2011 for $112,000
  • Re-listed for $269,900
  • Assessments of $605 a month (includes heat, gas, doorman, cable)
  • Taxes of $3455
  • No central air
  • No in-unit washer/dryer
  • No parking (rental only in the neighborhood)

Over 3 Years Later, This 3-Bedroom Bucktown Cottage Reduces to $389,900: 1641 N. Claremont

We last chattered about this 3-bedroom Bucktown brick single family home at 1641 N. Claremont in March 2010.

See our prior chatter here.

It came on the market in October 2008 and has been on and off ever since.

I didn’t have an exterior picture of it then and I STILL don’t have one. Sorry. Who knew we’d still be chattering about it nearly 2 years later?

Back then, with a list price of $459,900,  most of you thought the price was outrageous for a 1500 square foot house (regardless of its location.)

Most of you thought that it would have to be reduced into the $300,000s to sell.

Flash forward to 2012 and it’s still on the market.

And yes, there is now a “3” handle in front of the price. It’s been reduced to $389,900.

Built in 1988, this brick cottage is on a standard 25×125 lot.

It has central air and a 2 car garage along with a backyard.

The house has unfinished attic space and a slab basement.

The kitchen appears to have the original cabinets and white appliances.

Of the three bedrooms, 1 is on the second floor and 2 are on the main floor.

Is this finally a good condo alternative at this price?

Will this house finally sell in 2012 after nearly 4 years off and on the market?

Anthony Zaskowski at Property Consultants Realty has the listing. See the pictures here.

1641 N. Claremont: 3 bedrooms, 1 bath, 1500 square feet, 2 car garage

  • Couldn’t find any prior sales history
  • Originally listed in October 2008 for $549,000
  • Numerous reductions
  • Was listed in March 2010 at $459,900
  • Numerous reductions
  • Currently listed at $389,900
  • Taxes of $6507
  • Central Air
  • Unfinished attic
  • Bedroom #1: 10×11 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #2: 9×10 (main floor)
  • Bedroom #3: 8×9 (main floor)

Get a 3-Bedroom Duplex Up With Cathedral Ceilings for Under $900K: 327 W. Belden in Lincoln Park

This 3-bedroom duplex-up at 327 W. Belden in Lincoln Park recently came on the market (this picture above is actually of 329-333 W. Belden, the building directly next door. I thought I also had a picture of 327 W. Belden which looks nearly the same but I don’t. But it gives you an idea.)

It seems to live more like a single family home than your typical condo.

All 3 bedrooms are on the second floor and the unit has 3 outdoor spaces, including a deck off the master bedroom.

It also has 22-foot high cathedral ceilings in the living room with 4 skylights.

There are hardwood floors throughout and a main floor den/family room off the kitchen.

The kitchen is described as a “chef’s kitchen” and also has an eat-in breakfast area.

The unit has central air, washer/dryer in the unit and parking is included.

It is also in the Lincoln school district and close to the lakefront.

Is this priced to sell quickly at under $900,000?

Emily Sachs Wong at Koenig & Strey Real Living has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #3: 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, no square footage listed, duplex up

  • Sold in January 1993 for $430,000
  • Sold in June 2008 for $939,000
  • Currently listed for $899,000
  • Taxes of $11,800
  • Assessments of $973 a month
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Parking included
  • Bedroom #1: 14×18 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #2: 10×14 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #3: 11×14 (second floor)
  • Den: 16×11 (main level)