Get a Pilsen Vintage 4-Bedroom Raised Ranch For Just $139,900: 717 West 19th Street

This 4-bedroom raised ranch at 717 West 19th Street in Pilsen recently came on the market.

Built in 1880 on a smaller than standard Chicago lot measuring 24×100, it has small bedrooms which were common at that time.

The listing says a den is being used as a pantry.

There is also a second kitchen in the back of the house along with a family room.

There’s a full basement with exterior access which has a full bath.

There’s no central air (window units only) and no parking.

But the house is east of Halsted and is near the galleries and restaurants on Halsted in both Pilsen and University Village.

Could this be a good condo alternative for someone who isn’t afraid of putting in some sweat equity?

Jennifer Liu at Jameson Sotheby’s has the listing. See the pictures here.

717 West 19th Street: 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, no square footage listed

  • Currently listed for $139,900
  • Taxes of $3393
  • No central air- window units
  • Full basement with “good” ceiling heights
  • Bedroom #1: 12×8 (main level)
  • Bedroom #2: 8×7 (main level)
  • Bedroom #3: 8×7 (main level)
  • Bedroom #4: 10×7 (main level)
  • Family room: 16×12 (main level)

Trying To Re-Sell 16 Months Later in Sono: 860 W. Blackhawk in the Clybourn Street Corridor

We haven’t chattered about Sono, the newer construction high rise at 860 W. Blackhawk in the Clybourn Street Corridor in the Near North Side in awhile. (yes- I’m probably getting the neighborhood wrong. What do you call this location?)

The building finally sold out and there haven’t been any recent resales until this 2-bedroom unit came on the market.

For some reason, I don’t have a picture of this building so we’ll have to do without.

This unit is a Southeast corner unit, which has views of the downtown skyline.

You can see from some of the listing pictures, that the new rental building, Sono East, that is nearly completed next to this building (originally it was supposed to be condos but now it’s apartments) does NOT block the downtown views from this unit.

This unit has all the finishes of new construction.

The kitchen has dark cabinets, stainless steel appliances and stone counter tops.

There are hardwood floors in the bedrooms and custom window shades (not a small thing in a corner unit.)

The unit is listed $26,900 above the 2010 purchase price.

With Sono East right next door available to rent, with granite counter tops and Poggenpohl cabinets, will it hurt this unit’s resale value?

You can see pictures, floorplans and amenities of Sono East here.

Joe Kennedy at @Properties has the 2-bedroom in Sono. See the pictures here.

Unit #707: 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1436 square feet

  • Sold in November 2010 for $473,000
  • Currently listed at $499,900 (includes 2 parking spaces)
  • Assessments of $620 a month (includes heat, doorman, cable)
  • Taxes are “new”
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Bedroom #1: 17×12
  • Bedroom #2: 13×12

Still Trying to Sell a 3-Bedroom Loft 10 Months and a $66K Reduction Later: 360 W. Illinois in River North


This 3-bedroom penthouse loft in The Sexton at 360 W. Illinois in River North has been on the market since May 2011.

It previously sold just 2 years before, in August 2009.

We chattered about this unit in September 2011 as the listing price was $225,000 higher than the 2009 purchase price with, apparently, no renovations done to the unit.

See our prior chatter here.

Back in September, all of you thought this was overpriced (even Clio).

Some of you were even surprised that Jennifer Ames had agreed to take the listing.

As predicted by all of you, the loft is still on the market (but has a new agent) and has now been reduced $66,000 (as the prior list price included one parking space and the current one doesn’t include any parking.)

If you recall, the loft is one of the bigger units in the building.

It has exposed brick and high timber ceilings with two outdoor spaces, including a 54 foot long deck.

All 3 bedrooms have windows and there is also a separate family room.

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

The loft has central air, washer/dryer in the unit and 2 parking spaces are available (for $35,000 each).

The loft is still priced $159,000 over the 2009 price.

What price will this loft eventually command?

Is the sale price being influenced by the new rental high rise that is being built across the street? (even if this unit doesn’t look directly on that building?)

Jennifer Mills at Koenig & Strey Real Living now has the listing. See the latest Youtube video here. (warning- music!)

You can also check out the Youtube video of the 2009 listing here if you want to compare. (also music)

Unit #601: 3 bedrooms, 3 baths, 2500 square feet

  • Sold in December 1999 for $536,000
  • Sold in October 2004 for $725,000
  • Sold in August 2009 for $725,000
  • Originally listed in May 2011 for $950,000
  • Was still in September 2011 for $950,000
  • 1 car parking included in the September 2011 listing plus second available for $35,000
  • Reduced
  • Currently listed for $849,000 (but now parking is extra for both spaces at $35,000 each) = $884,000 when compared to the prior listing
  • Assessments now $1203 a month (they were $1097 a month in the prior listing) (includes doorman)
  • Taxes of $12,804
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Bedroom #1: 19×18
  • Bedroom #2: 13×13
  • Bedroom #3: 10×15
  • Family room: 16×13

Trying To Sell a 3-Bedroom Lakeview Townhouse Less Than 2 Years Later: 2901 N. Lakewood

This 3-bedroom townhouse at 2901 N. Lakewood in Lakeview has been on the market since September 2011.

It has 20 foot vaulted ceilings in the living area.

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

The master bedroom is on the third floor (along with a rooftop deck) while the other two bedrooms are on the second floor.

There is a first floor family room and what appears to be a full basement.

This is a fee-simple townhouse and is one of the rare townhouses at this price point that actually has a 2-car attached garage (instead of 1-car parking.)

It is listed about 9% under the 2010 purchase price.

It also has competition from two other townhouses on the same block (one of which finally went under contract priced at $599,000 after being on the market for 3 years.)

Is this townhouse a good duplex down alternative for a similar price?

Suzanne Thomas at Dream Town has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #E: 3 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, no square footage listed, 2 car parking

  • Sold in October 1997 for $427,500
  • Sold in September 2002 for $565,000
  • Sold in March 2005 for $640,000
  • Sold in July 2010 for $640,000
  • Originally listed in September 2011
  • Was listed on March 19, 2012 at $599,900
  • Reduced
  • Currently listed at $582,777
  • Taxes of $9396
  • Central Air
  • Roof top deck
  • Bedroom #1: 14×13 (third floor)
  • Bedroom #2: 14×9 (second floor)
  • Bedroom #3: 10×9 (second floor)


With The Market Apparently “Improving,” What Properties Will Try To Sell Again? 2000 S. Michigan

Longtime readers will remember this duplex up penthouse loft in the Locomobile Lofts at 2000 S. Michigan in the South Loop.

We chattered about it several times because it originally came on the market in 2007 and stuck around until 2009 before it was withdrawn.

See our May 2008 chatter here (with interior pictures).

(What a difference 4 years makes in our attitudes about price declines and the market.  Wow.)

Now that the market is apparently “improving”- I’m not surprised to see some favorites come back on the market to test it again.

This corner loft is one for true loft lovers. It has concrete ceilings and large industrial windows with 15 foot high ceilings.

The listing says there is custom lighting.

The kitchen has maple cabinets and stainless steel cabinets. The loft has dark hardwood floors.

A highlight of the property is the 1300 square foot private roof terrace.

It has the usual newer construction features including central air, washer/dryer in the unit and 2 parking spaces.

Reduced $226,000 since we last chattered about it in 2008, is this priced to sell in the current market?

John Astorina at Keller Williams Preferred Realty now has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #307: 2 bedroom, 3 bath, 2150 square feet, duplex,  1300 square foot private roof terrace

  • Sold in November 2004 for $567,000
  • Sold in October 2006 for $727,500
  • Listed in December 2007 for $749,000 (two car parking available for $35k)
  • Reduced
  • Was listed in May 2008 for $675,000 (parking now $50k for two spaces)
  • Withdrawn in July 2009
  • Re-listed and currently priced at $499,000 (2 car parking included)
  • Assessments of $641 a month
  • Taxes of $5715
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Rooftop Deck: 25×25
  • Bedroom #1: 16×14 (main level)
  • Bedroom #2: 16×14 (second level)



This 2-Bedroom St. Michael’s Loft is $51,100 Under the 2001 Price: 1660 N. Hudson in Old Town

This 2-bedroom St. Michael’s loft at 1660 N. Hudson in Old Town has been on the market since February 2012.

In that time it has been reduced to $309,900, which is $51,100 under the 2001 price.

No, it’s not a short sale nor is it bank owned.

The loft has 14 foot high ceilings with large windows.

The listing says there is a “new kitchen” with cherry cabinets and stainless steel appliances.

The second bedroom is lofted and open to the rest of the unit. According to the notes left by Redfin agents on the unit, the lofted bedroom has shorter ceiling heights (maybe around 6 feet?).

In the pictures, the lofted bedroom appears to be used as a family room.

The loft has central air, washer/dryer in the unit and head, indoor garage parking.

Is this a deal for the location?

Paul Gorney at Prudential Rubloff has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #2J: 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, no square footage listed

  • Sold in December 1988 for $223,000
  • Sold in July 1998 for $247,000
  • Sold in July 2001 for $361,000
  • Originally listed in February 2012 for $344,900
  • Reduced
  • Currently listed for $309,900 (includes parking)
  • Assessments of $470 a month (includes cable)
  • Taxes of $5208
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Bedroom #1: 16×16 (main level)
  • Bedroom #2: 12×17 (second level)

56% Off This 3-Bedroom Short Sale Duplex Down: 1408 N. Artesian in West Town

This 3-bedroom duplex down at 1408 N. Artesian in the East Humboldt Park neighborhood of West Town (although someone once told me this was “West Bucktown”- but that was pre-housing bust) has been on the market since December 2011.

Yes- it’s west of Western.

It is a short sale and is now listed at about 56% under the 2006 purchase price at just $169,000.

The listing doesn’t say if the short sale has been approved, however. A lis pendens foreclosure was filed in March 2011.

Built in 2001, the master bedroom is on the main level with the two other bedrooms on the lower level.

The kitchen has maple cabinets and granite counter tops but is missing the appliances.

There is central air, washer/dryer hook-up in the unit and rear, gated parking.

Short sales of newer construction condos dot the streets in this neighborhood.

Is this even a deal?

Jenny Caviedes at Re/Max has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #1: 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, no square footage listed, duplex down

  • Sold in May 2002 for $293,000
  • Sold in December 2003 for $320,000
  • Sold in May 2006 for $384,000
  • Lis pendens foreclosure filed in March 2011
  • Originally listed in December 2011 for $208,000
  • Reduced numerous times
  • Currently listed at $169,000
  • Assessments of $150 a month
  • Taxes of $5481
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer hook-ups
  • Outdoor gated rear parking
  • Bedroom #1: 10×13 (main level)
  • Bedroom #2: 10×10 (lower level)
  • Bedroom #3: 9×10 (lower level)



Market Conditions: Crain’s: Parents Are Trapped in the City Unable to Sell

As we were discussing in another thread yesterday, Crain’s is out with an article describing a select group of homeowners who bought a condo or other property in the city in their younger years, got married, had kids and now, because of housing declines, can not sell and move to the suburbs.

These are NOT people who have decided to buy a house in the GreenZone with the intent of staying in the city and sending their kids to the local schools.

These are people who otherwise would have moved to the suburbs (most likely those in the $250k to $400k price range – who are priced out of buying a single family home or even a townhouse in the GreenZone neighborhoods with “acceptable” schools.)

When Jill and Paul Syftestad’s oldest daughter was ready to start school four years ago, they put their South Loop townhouse on the market and planned to move to the suburbs.

One offer fell through at the last minute and a second was well below their asking price. “We had our hearts set on moving,” says Ms. Syftestad, an IT project manager at a nursing association. “We were devastated. We pulled it off the market and decided to stay.”

The recession dramatically slowed the number of people making the trek to the suburbs for bigger houses, safer neighborhoods and better schools. Unable or unwilling to leave the city, a small but growing group of middle-class families are turning to Chicago’s public and private schools, a development that holds both potential and peril for Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his efforts to improve the school system.

“I’ve had lots of clients who thought they would be able to sell their condo and can’t. So they are now trying to make it work” in city schools, says Christine Whitley, an education consultant who helps families through the Chicago Public Schools selection process. “They bought their condo way before they had kids and didn’t really factor schools into the equation. They figured they could sell and move to a better neighborhood or move to the suburbs. Now they can’t sell it, so they’re trying to figure out options” in the city.

“People are trapped,” says Tina Feldstein, a broker at Southport Sotheby’s International Realty in Chicago and president of the Prairie District Neighborhood Alliance, a South Loop association. “If they sell, they’ll take a major loss. They’re not in a position to do it. Everyone’s saying, ‘Next year, it will improve. Prices will get better.’ In the meantime, they’re forced to become involved in CPS schools.”

There’s no doubt that parental involvement is huge and has really boosted the prospects of some north side schools in recent years.

Rebecca Labowitz, a parent who blogs about the school system at, points to the district’s newly formed Portfolio Office, which has community liaisons work with parent groups at individual schools.

Parental involvement is particularly effective at the elementary level. Activist parents raise money, expectations and standards. Some of the best-known examples are Alexander Graham Bell, Blaine, John C. Coonley and Nettelhorst elementary schools on the North Side. Nonprofit groups such as Friends of Coonley routinely raise more than $100,000 annually for extra teachers, equipment and programs such as ecology.

“Coonley was going be a school that was going to close,” says Mr. Pawar, whose ward is home to Coonley, Bell, Waters and Audubon schools. “Now it’s one of the best schools in the city.”

“I have always said we’d stay in the city so long as the schools were working,” says Julie Kraft, a banker who works downtown and lives on the North Side and whose children go to Louis J. Agassiz School in Lakeview. “At this point, I could see myself staying in the city throughout their education. We never said outright that as soon as they go to school we’d have to be in the suburbs.”

Parochial schools are benefiting, too. Enrollment at Catholic elementary schools in Chicago is up in each of the past two school years, the first time that’s happened since 1965. Suburban enrollment fell by 5.3 percent over two years, according to the Archdiocese of Chicago, mirroring a national decline in Catholic school enrollment.

One of the fastest-growing schools is Old St. Mary’s in the South Loop, where the Syftestads’ daughter Olivia is a third-grader. She started kindergarten in a CPS school but transferred because of large class sizes, Ms. Syftestad says, highlighting one of the challenges facing the mayor.

“We’re OK through elementary school. We’ll stay in the city as long as we can, provided we can navigate through CPS” for high school, she says. “If not, we’ll have to make the move. It’s a question we talk about all the time. We have about three years to figure it out.”

This article raises a whole host of questions such as:

1. What happens as  more condo dwellers realize that housing is not going to rebound “next year”?

2. What happens with all those kids at Bell, Blaine and others when high school is looming? Do they all try and sell and move to the suburbs at the same time? Because they’re not all getting into the top city high schools or the top city private schools.

3. As the article indicates, could this really be a boom for the city as, at least in some neighborhoods, trapped parents are forced to improve the schools? (I realize this only really applies to the GreenZone.)

The Parent Trap [Crain’s Chicago Business, John Pletz, March 26, 2012]

Nate Berkus Reduces His Vintage 3-Bedroom Again: 1325 N. Astor in the Gold Coast

We’ve chattered about Nate Berkus’ 3-bedroom at 1325 N. Astor in the Gold Coast several times since it came on the market 14 months ago.

See our October 2011 chatter here.

But the Tribune is now reporting that it has been reduced again, so I figure we’d chatter on it again (since some of you were posting about it in the comments of the old thread.)

The unit has now been reduced a total of $655,000 to $1.995 million.

In our last chatter, some of you thought this might move around $1.75 million.

If you recall, Berkus renovated it but kept the original St. Charles metal cabinets in the kitchen and the Samuel Marx paneling.

According to the listing, there are new hardwood floors, a rehabbed master bath with custom English tub and a reconfigured master suite.

It also has two-zone air conditioning and new electrical.

The unit has an in-unit washer/dryer and a coveted deeded parking spot.

It also has competition, not just within the neighborhood, but even in the same building.

As someone pointed out in October, Unit #7 is also on the market.

It is also a 3-bedroom with 4270 square feet. It also has a highly coveted parking space within the building.

It is still listed at $2.65 million. See the pictures here.

Is it a deal compared with the other unit on the market in the building?

Or will this go back to the 2003 price?

Katherine Chez at Coldwell Banker still has the listing. See the listing here.

Unit #8: 3 bedrooms, 4 baths, 3980 square feet, 1 car parking

  • Sold in June 2003 for $1.5 million
  • Originally listed in January 2011 for $2.65 million
  • Reduced
  • Was listed in March 2011 at $2.399 million
  • Reduced
  • Was listed in August 2011 at $2.15 million
  • Reduced
  • Currently listed at $1.995 million
  • Assessments of $3816 a month (includes heat and doorman)
  • Taxes of $30425
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Bedroom #1: 14×20
  • Bedroom #2: 14×11
  • Bedroom #3: 17×12

Is The Price Decline of This 3-Bedroom a Sign of the Times? 2731 N. Whipple in Logan Square

This 3-bedroom duplex down at 2731 N. Whipple in Logan Square has sold 2 times in the past 7 years and is now on the market for the third time.

At 2100 square feet, the listing says the unit had a full rehab in 2005.

The kitchen has granite counter tops, a tile backsplash and stainless steel appliances.

The master bedroom and family room are on the lower level with the two other bedrooms on the main level.

It has central air, washer/dryer in the unit, security and a garage parking space plus one outdoor parking space.

The property is close to the El and the shops/restaurants of booming Logan Square.

This unit has sold for less than the previous purchase price the last two times and is set to do so again as it’s already listed $59,000 under its 2010 purchase price.

That is about 15% under the selling price of just 20 months ago.

Is this now a deal for this square footage and location?

Or is the falling price simply another sign of the times with more to come?

Rebecca Meiselman at Conlon has the listing. See the pictures here.

Unit #1: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 2100 square feet

  • Sold in March 2006 for $431,000
  • Sold in May 2010 for $399,000
  • Currently listed for $340,000 (came on the market in March 2012)
  • Assessments of $249 a month
  • Taxes of $5229
  • Central Air
  • Washer/Dryer in the unit
  • Security
  • 1 car garage parking plus 1 outdoor space
  • Bedroom #1: 15×14 (lower level)
  • Bedroom #2: 11×17 (main level)
  • Bedroom #3: 9×11 (main level)
  • Family room: 13×12 (lower level)