Tuesday, January 16, 2007

2 Be 2 Ba Too Blah, blah, blah

My Broker and I are in complete agreement on the following bold (literal and figurative) statement: People don't buy '2 Bedroom 2 Bath Condominiums' on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago. They do, but not for the reasons you or most Realtors might think. And I'm judging this by the comments I've read on a daily basis for the past six years in the Remarks section of most downtown Chicago condo listings.

Consumers don't require a balcony for the balcony's sake any more than they require a Doorman to assist them with the actual ingress and egress of the building. And they definitely don't ponder the mechanical or engineering advantages of Grohe over Kohler or Toto over American Standard. What they do require my Broker and I believe, is what they desire...Lifestyle and Self Image.

Consumers wish to buy into the dream that helps define their domestic existence in a global city such as Chicago. They want 'Neighborhood' first---the cafes, the boutiques, the galleries, taxis in less than a minute. They don't care about the actual balcony. They care about raising a champagne glass into the air with a loved one outside their living room, 40 stories in the sky overlooking Lake Michigan on that first mild evening in April---which in case you haven't figured out, is another way of saying the unit has a balcony.

The types of people who move to, or stay in downtown Chicago do so because the neighborhood in which they choose to live is an extension of themselves; the Gold Coast Chic, West Loop Trader, and yes...even Lincoln Park Trixie are but a few local examples of these 'types.' Now, if someone would just let their Realtors in on the secret.

Consider the following two descriptions: (I lifted one from the 'Remarks' section of another agent's current listing while the second example is from the 'Remarks' section of a recently closed listing of mine in a different building on the same street.)

example #1:

2br/2bth, w/great city views, balcony, tastefully decorated, open kitchen w/ge profile ss appliances, granite counters, newer cabinetry; marble baths w/ double sinks. Side-by-side washer/ dryer. Parking space for sale $50k.

example #2:

Majestic Lake and City views pop from three exposures in the heart of Chicago's finest neighborhood--two king-sized bedrooms w/professionally organized closets, wetbar, frnch drs, hardwoods, marble spa, Chefs kit and tree-top terrace complete this perfect Astor Place home. Martinis at Gibsons, fireworks at home!

Example #1 above has been on the market for 171 days, listed at $759,000 and is really superior in almost every way to mine but that's not the point. Mine sold in 19 days at full price, $400,000 to another Broker. The phone rang off the hook for MLS showings the entire 19 days I had it. The only reason it didn't sell earlier was it really wasn't that great of a specimen.

My unit clearly sounded better than it actually showed as the appliances were a little dated and the cabinets a little worn but I only needed one buyer with a dream or at the very least, an open mind. And anyway,beauty is subjective...right? And who isn't a 'Chef' these days. He fell in love with it the second he walked through the door. When I turned around to speak I noticed he wasn't even looking at the kitchen...he was staring out at the sailboats on the lake.

photo by gb.inmage

Geno Petro


  1. Hey Sara, thank you for the comment and for the Tribune reference. I'll go back and take a look. G

  2. Geno, of course I enjoy the prose in your blog and it was a pleasure to see it in action with a listing, by the way, I always include a bottle of bubbly with all my buy side closing gifts, celebrate!

  3. Thanks Howard. On a sidenote, I was enjoying your piece on the 'unrepredented buyer' when I got called away from my computer. I'll try and get back to it later today or tomorrow.