If you spend any amount of time reading the comments on local real estate websites, you frequently encounter mocking references to sellers who bought in recent years and are now attempting to resell for more than their purchase price.
Those jibes may be merited in some cases, but readers should investigate carefully before concluding that they are. The seller may have bought at a below market price, and might currently be offering a below-market price to achieve a quick sale.
Take the property currently for sale at 401 Sunset Dr in West Wilmette as a case study. According to the current listing at Redfin it was purchased for $1,011,588 in July of 2009 and came on the market recently for $1,047,900.
The 2009 sale, you can't learn from that skimpy record, was probably below the builder's cost for the lushly-appointed 6-bedroom, 4 ½ bath new stone home.
The builder paid $487,500 for the property in November of 2005, when it was in the state pictured above. Factor in teardown costs, architecture fees, permits, construction costs, carrying costs, taxes, etc. Add in the costs of defending the foreclosure proceeding filed against the property in March of 2009, and transaction costs in connection with the sale, and the builder was likely several hundred thousand dollars in the hole on the July 2009 selling price.
Visit the home and carefully investigate comparable recent sales in the area. You may well conclude that the current asking price is reasonable and, possibly, even a bargain.