Adventures in House Hunting, Buying a House, Location, Realtors, Selling a Home

Why Isn’t this house Selling

Back in October, I wrote about Stupid Seller Tricks. What I forgot to add to that post was that it isn’t always clear who is doing the driving: the seller or their agent.

Ready to Move In

Ready to Move In

The house is listed as MLS 08420018 (note: you may need to create a Redfin account to see all the history). Notice that it says (as of this posting) this property has been on the market for 45+ days.

You never really know the story behind a house, unless you have inside information, but you can make some educated guesses.  For one thing, the pictures have no furniture, so presumably the owners have moved.

This house sold for $237K in 1999. Now, 14 years later it’s listed for almost twice that amount. The listing says, and the photos confirm, that the house has been updated.

Newly refurbished & updated thruout w/ refinished hdwd flrs, repainted interior. New 2nd flr bathroom & 1st flr powder room. Lg kitchen w/ island & new granite counters. New ceramic tile flrs in mudroom & bsmt.

To be sure, based on what I know about the neighborhood and this type of house, the asking price isn’t unreasonable. In fact, this is a wonderful house if you like stainglass and woodwork combined with modern amenities like an updated kitchen and Central A/C.  So why hasn’t it sold in this hot, hot market?

Couple of things to consider. One, the house is about 200 yards away from Family Fruit Market, a neighborhood Grocery store that is known for its fresh fruit and vegetables at affordable prices. Kinda like a Stanley’s West. While this shouldn’t be a reason for concern, the fact of the matter is, there is a lot of traffic in and out of the small parking lot. And let’s be honest: where there’s traffic there is inevitably some Dbag who feels that his way of driving trumps common courtesy and/or standard rules of the road.
We actually passed on a house across the street from this one for that very reason. While we were looking at the home, we noticed several cars park on the permit only street, or fight to get into some of the few legal spots in front of Family Fruit Market.

The other thing is that while this house is on a nice tree-lined street, it is also a street that a lot of people seem to use to cut across from Cicero to Milwaukee Avenue. In the less than 5 minutes I spent there taking these pictures, almost a dozen cars came drive through, and not at residential speeds either.

Another thing that is hard to analyze but I would say the number of buyers looking in Portage Park is less than the number of homes available for sale.

Icarus Theorem of Realty: In many cases the person who can afford your Asking Price, doesn’t want to live in your neighborhood and most of the people who want to live in your neighborhood cannot afford or flat out won’t pay your Insane Asking Price.

Portage Park is a great middle class neighborhood in the northwest side of the city. It has reasonable proximity to downtown, O’Hare Airport and is accessible from the highway and the Blue Line.  But unless you grew up here, you probably don’t know it exists.  And most people who cannot afford to buy in the really hot trendy neighborhoods (aka The Green Zone — I’ll do a post on that soon) figure if they are going to go West, why not just move to the Suburbs and be done with it.

My prediction: this house will have to drop under $400K to sell.  Remember, all predictions correct or double your money back!


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