What’s it like to shop for a $1MM 3 Bedroom condo in the heart of Chicago?
Pretend you’re looking to
Find a Million Dollar Condo in Chicago…
and join me as I recount my day on Monday….
Presidents Day – Weather: 50’s and Rain … ALLLLLLLL DAYYYYYY…..
8:30 am – Preparation
I reconfirmed all appointments yesterday – unlike just about EVERYWHERE ELSE, in Chicago, the listing agent meets us at a specific time to see each property. We don’t have lockboxes, and the time IS NOT fluid… If you don’t like the outside of a property, you still have to be polite and go inside, because the seller left and the listing agent is waiting for us!
I’m out the door – running first to the grocery store for water and snacks and then to the gas station to fill the tank… it’s raining so hard that I didn’t need to wash the car…
Pick up clients at Presidential Towers in the West Loop – the husband works in the loop – his wife still lives in Ohio until their daughter graduates from high school this spring… it’s common to see spouses separate to give kids a chance to stay in their schools.
9:30 – 25 E Superior St
The listing agent is waiting for us in the lobby, and she did a magnificent job of showcasing the property– The 3 BR condo was originally listed at $1,279,000 in May, 2017 and since has been staged and reduced in price to $1,150,000. It’s well located, with a city view. The unit – under 2100 SF – might be a bit too small…they liked the split BR floor plan.
We had a quick look at the indoor pool and fitness center before heading off to our next appointment.
It’s pouring rain – ughhh! – we parked in a loading zone with flashers on…the challenge of showing property in downtown Chicago!
10:00 1000 N Lake Shore Plaza
Located at the corner of Oak Street and Michigan Avenue overlooking Oak Street Beach – don’t confuse it with 1000 N Lake Shore Drive (just to the north). Built in 1964, it doesn’t look very pretty on the outside. I used to avoid showing here, but I’ve since come to appreciate this building – the units are lovely and the building’s well-staffed and the common areas have been updated.
The unit takes up the north half of building – it’s just under 2500 SF (agents have a way of rounding up the square footage!) In general, it’s a pretty unit – but it needs paint and trim clean-up. There’s a gorgeous view, but we can’t see it, as we’re socked in with fog.
I think the price is a bit on the high side for this tier ( C ), but the unit’s on a high floor and clears 1000 LSD to north, so that’s worth several thousand dollars.
The buyers like the size and aren’t fazed by the need for paint and trim work.
See the 1000 N Lake Shore Building Sales History Here: Select this link
10:20 950 Michigan Ave – “One Mag Mile”
We head across the street to our next appointment, located at the top of the “Magnificent Mile” – the stretch from the Chicago River to Oak Street. The unit needs work – it’s dated — older furniture and the owner was home -sitting in our way as we squeeze by from the dining room to the kitchen. I got the feeling we were “putting him out” by viewing his unit!
Although the listing agent is ALWAYS charming, the experience wasn’t charming, given the condition of the unit and the uncomfortable feeling with the seller at home.
We had a quick look at the pool/fitness room and ran through the rain back to the car…This could have been a contender for them, but showing experience ruined it for the buyers.
My clients are so sweet – I tried to have them wait under cover while I ran to get car, but they were right with me, running through the rain!
10:45 505 N McClurg Ct – “Parkview Condominiums”
I found loading-zone parking on Illinois St in front of a cupcake shop – no time to buy a treat, though!
An energetic and experienced agent meets us, and she does a good job showing the property, given what she has to work with. The floors have just been refinished, and they’re lovely! The unit looks small, though, because it’s vacant and there isn’t a view, thanks to the fog.
11:10 160 E Illinois St.
We arrived right on time and waited in the lobby but no agent showed up. I tried to text him; I tried to call. We can’t show without the agent… so at 11:25 we gave up and went on…
11:40 430 North Water St.
This is one of the townhomes near the Spire hole – (article) a peninsula between Ogden Slip, Lake Michigan, and the Chicago River. they were originally built on a 99-year land lease, but this unit’s owner bought the land. I couldn’t find parking after 2 passes, but luckily one of my Baird & Warner colleagues lives nearby – I parked in her driveway.
It’s raining hard now – getting soaked while we wait for the agent to show up.
This 4-story townhouse is dated – although the kitchen is newer, there’s no hiding the honey colored oak staircase.
Seeing this confirmed that they don’t want a townhouse- they want a one-floor condo.
I’m hearing this sentiment more and more with empty nesters- townhomes are out of style- perhaps a good bargain for the right YOUNG buyer?
Onward and upward…
To get south of the Chicago River, we drive to Lower Michigan Ave, threading our way through Stetson St and Columbus Ave, meandering up 2 levels to upper Randolph St. I feel like I have the secret key to the city, using streets that many don’t know exist!
450 Waterside Dr – “The Chandler”
This is the “most northeastern” building in the Lake Shore East area (See area information here). I sign in with the doorman, and we chat with a seller who’s about to list her condo. She offers to show us the unit, and we agree to see it. It’s a south view, looking into the lot where 2 buildings will block the view- not for us!
Back downstairs, and the listing agent isn’t there. She texts to tell me to show without her, but the doorman won’t let me in. Even with ID, the permission form requires the listing agent to be present. Time’s up, so we leave and go next door to stay on schedule.
420 Waterside Dr – “The Regatta”
Okay – it’s just next door, but I move my car anyway!
One of my favorite agents meets us – very experienced and knowledgeable. It makes such a difference to be greeted by a great agent!
Sellers who choose to work with a TEAM instead of a seasoned agent run the risk of having an inexperienced assistant “opening the door” for the buyer and not truly showcasing the property.
The unit is traditionally furnished – a bit out of character with this newer building, but it still looks lovely. It’s a northeast view, overlooking the Chicago River and Navy Pier. The buyers like it a lot.
Next, we go to another unit in the building – the same TIER – meaning same floor plan and view – just a different floor height. It’s priced less. However, the parking is not included in the list price. The seller’s asking $55K for each of the 2 spaces , so it’s not as inexpensive as it originally appeared. This is annoying – there really should be consistency in pricing!!!
The unit doesn’t show nearly as well as the previous unit – an oversized sectional couch and huge entertainment center make the unit seem much smaller than the other one. What a difference well-proportioned furniture can make in enhancing a condo’s appearance!
I was distracted, though, because I was texting and calling, trying to get us back into 450 Waterside Dr. In the end, a different agent from the company drove over to meet us and showed us the unit.
See what condos have sold for in 420 Waterside – Select this Link
450 Waterside Dr – Second attempt to see the condo there…
The buyers liked it very much – good size – good view – good finishes… the listing sheet warns us that there is a lawsuit due to “safety issues” need to check that out!
We’re all starving!
I drive us over to the Union League Club and run through the lunch line – 30 minutes to inhale lunch… the 450 Waterside debacle cost us on 30 minutes in our schedule.
Check out sales history at 450 Waterside: Select this link
2:00 pm 6 N Michigan Ave.
I’m really brave now – I park on Madison St. – ½ block West of Michigan Ave – with my hazard lights on… There are 2 units for sale in the building, and I chose to show the higher floor unit. This is a “sleeper” building- not many people know about it. It’s not floor to ceiling glass windows, but It has great views and lovely units. They liked it but didn’t LOVE it.
See the Pricing Study for 6 N Michigan – Select this link
2:30 1160 S Michigan Ave.
I think 1160 Michigan is a good value. Some think it’s too far south (on Roosevelt Rd – 1200S), but the views are great and the price per square foot is terrific. Here, the tenant, who’s renting from the condo owner, isn’t thrilled to be interrupted on the President’s Day holiday. We take our shoes off and try to be invisible.
The owner bought the condo for $1.5MM from the developer, and is now motivated to sell. It has been on the market off and on since 2008, originally listed at $ 1,825,000. Because it’s a high floor, it clears the building to the north, and has terrific views of Grant Park, the Museum Campus, and Monroe Harbor.
The buyers were impressed – they have good vision to see the possibilities in this 2567 SF gem.
Check out the sales history and price per square foot of 1160 S Michigan here: Select this link
3:15 2130 N Lincoln Park West
The buyers wanted to see a unit in Lincoln Park, and at the last minute, they asked to see 2130 Lincoln Park West. This is an altogether different building – a 1920’s vintage condo, with a charming view of The Lincoln Park Zoo. The plaster work in the gallery is awesome!
My sweet clients from Ohio thought the listing agent was making a joke when she showed the “maid’s room… “ – I’m so used to this terminology that I forget that the very small bedrooms off the kitchen in vintage apartments – designed for staff to sleep in – really WAS the MAID’S Room!!
3:45 pm – back at Presidential Towers
The buyers were soaked but content that we saw many great units and they’re closer to understanding the market.
In the end, they most liked 1000 Plaza, 420 and 450 Waterside, and 1160 S Michigan. They feel most comfortable in split bedroom floor plans of 2100-2500 SF. View is important, and they are willing to undertake painting and floor refinishing, but not major renovations.
Our tour gave them a good look at the current inventory, and they’re confident they’ll find something that they’re going to love living in.
So – which are YOUR favorites?!
Check out condos for sale by neighborhood here… Neighborhood Search