No one's getting lucky in Chicago condo market

heather hillebrand.jpg

Heather Hillebrand

Here’s the trick with selling a condo in Chicago: A lot of them are nearly identical. It’s not easy for owners to get their condos to stand out. It’s why veteran real estate agents tell their sellers to never list their condos for a pie-in-the-sky price in the hopes of landing a big sale.

In a glutted condo market, like we have in downtown Chicago, this strategy doesn’t work.

This is why Heather Hillebrand, a real estate agent with Chicago’s Dream Town Realty, says that pricing is so important for owners hoping to move their Chicago condos quickly.

Hillebrand has run into sellers who try to get lucky when pricing their Chicago condos. They may think that their Chicago condo will sell at $250,000 but want to price it at $300,000 anyway to see if they’ll get lucky.

Eventually, the sellers give up on their $300,000 hopes and move their asking price down to the more reasonable $250,000. By the time they’ve done this, though, their condo has acquired a stigma. Buyers wonder why the unit has sat on the market for so long. They wonder what problems have kept other buyers away, Hillebrand said.

“The problem with condos are that they are virtually identical,” Hillebrand said. “You are seeling the same thing over and over and over again. If I’m a buyer and I have that much choice, I’m going to lean toward one that just came on the market. Even if a condo has only been on the market for six months, there’s still a stigma associated with it. Buyers lean toward the newer places.”

The good news is that fewer sellers are trying this higher-price strategy today, Hillebrand said. Most of Hillebrand’s sellers understand that this is no market for experimenting.

This wasn’t always the case.

“I think the media have helped us with this,” Hillebrand said. “They’ve shared all the sob stories from people who haven’t been able to sell their condos. I’ve had some clients tell me that they would have insisted that their units were better than others on the market and that they would have wanted to set the price higher. Today, they tell me to price it right. They tell me that they need to sell it quickly.”

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    No one is truly getting lucky out there in this market. We recently bought a home and within the first month we needed our heater repaired in Castaic. Bummer, it was a true scare we had 3 different estimates and most companies just wanted to replace the entire thing. Quoting anywhere from 8-15k. I am just glad we got it repaired when we could.

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