The Name to Know From Chicago Luxury Condo Sales in April: 9 W Walton

The new construction luxury market is alive and well, as April’s condo sales made clear. Sales were strong last month, with a healthy number of ultra-luxury prices. Eleven properties closed for more than $2.5 million.

For the luxury buyer, a high price point of several million is not an issue for the luxury buyer when it has everything to offer. A prestigious building, ample square footage and incredible views are just a few big-ticket features that buyers are willing to pay for. The great thing about Chicago is that these features don’t have to be a trade-off to live in the heart of the city. In fact, Chicago has a number of buildings in which a buyer can get 3,000 square feet, affording them the space that they could get in the suburbs. I always recommend my clients consider at least this much space when purchasing a luxury condo, as this will be easier to resell when the time comes.

Looking at the top condos to sell in April, you’ll notice there’s not much diversity—a single address was responsible for three of the top five most expensive sales.

No. 9 Walton: The Hottest Address in Chicago Luxury Real Estate
While there have been a number of new construction luxury buildings in Chicago over the last decade or so, it has been some time since one had the anticipation of 9 W Walton. Located at Walton and State streets, these Chicago condos were designed to offer a luxurious, comfortable lifestyle, and was carefully designed to tap into an authenticity and elegance that balanced modern living with the nostalgia of Chicago’s architecture.

The building design itself is incredibly thoughtful, with each unit bespoke and made to order, paying careful attention to detail and the sourcing of materials. The design is meant to engage with the city outside of it, paying tribute to the surrounding architecture while delivering a fresh standard for luxury living. No. 9 Walton was created to be a hospitality-driven building, akin to a high-end hotel—but without the hotel guests. The long list of features and amenities include everything a resort hotel has to offer, but are available exclusively to residents.

Each condo in No. 9 Walton is a home, not just a space, and is filled with impeccable details that create an unparalleled living experience. The completely finished terraces include overhead heat, letting residents extend Chicago’s famous short summers by a few months. The two- to five-bedroom floor plans are custom tailored with dramatic 10 to 12 foot ceilings.

And the building services have plenty to offer, as well, including a fully-staffed lobby and valet; a house car and driver; dry-cleaning service; full-service maintenance team; and indoor lap pool, hot tub, steam room and sauna; fully equipped fitness center; private wine storage in a beautifully detailed cellar; a large, private dining room; covered dog run; and two guest suites.

Top Chicago Condo Sales in April

There were a few other noteworthy sales last month as well. Let’s dive into a recap of the top five most expensive Chicago luxury condos to close in April:

676 N Kingsbury St676 N Kingsbury St, Unit PH608
Original list price:
$4,125,625
Sold price: $3,897,381
This spectacular new construction penthouse is a one-of-a-kind urban oasis, stretching across 4,648 square feet with a massive private roof deck. No details were overlooked, and features include floor-to-ceiling windows and private elevator access. This new boutique building is slated to have it all, with sleek modern homes, large outdoor spaces, a 24-hour doorman, garage parking and more.

9 w walton9 W Walton St, Units 1101
Original list price:
$3.425 million
Sold price: $3,791,730
The most expensive sale at No. 9 Walton is a 3 bedroom, 3.1 bath, spanning 3,172 square feet on the building’s 10th floor. The building boasts 66 condos in all, with expertly crafted interiors, five-star services and amenities and more.

9 W Walton St, Unit 1001
Original list price: $3.295 million
Sold price: $3,781,181
Another 3 bedroom, 3.1 bath unit, this one also on the 10th floor and 3,172 square feet.

9 W Walton St, Unit 1203
Original list price:
$3.365 million
Sold price: $3,708,728
This unit is clearly a winning floorplan—this is the third 3,172 square foot, 3-bedroom unit to sell during the month.

600 N Fairbanks Ct600 N Fairbanks Ct, Unit 3901
Original list price:
$4.5 million
Sold price: $3.7 million
This unique, contemporary home boasts a remarkable design, filled with unsurpassed finishes and 300 degrees of extraordinary views captured through floor-to-ceiling windows. With 4,500 square feet on the building’s 39th floor, there are a number of distinct features for luxury living. A custom library is equipped with a number of specialized features for hobbies and entertainment: a specialized exhaust system that lets you light up a cigar indoors; complete soundproofing for cranking up music; and an entertainment system with 6 cable boxes, 15 television screens and the ability to make the room completely dark. The Poggenpohl kitchen features island seating for five, and a grand dining area is adjacent to one of three stunning covered terraces. And the third ensuite bedroom includes a high-end gym and spa. And the book-matched black walnut millwork is featured prominently throughout, balancing other design elements like glass curtains and terrazzo flooring.

For more details on the Chicago luxury condos that sold last month or to see what’s on the market now, contact me at (312) 498-5080 or email me at ssalnick@dreamtown.com.

New Construction Condos at 9 W Walton Accounted for Nearly Half of the $2M-Plus Closings in March

Looking at each month’s condo sales, we can generally see some common denominators or indicators of what’s to come in Chicago real estate: a trend that buyers are gravitating toward, a hot neighborhood or even negotiating tactics between buyers and sellers.

And March’s closings definitely point to something worth watching in Chicago real estate: 9 W Walton. This new construction building is clearly making a name for itself in the luxury market already, snagging 6 of 13 sales that closed for more than $2 million during the month. The building’s popularity are a good indication that it could point to market trends in pricing for resale properties and other new construction projects.

Below is a recap of the top five most expensive units sold, which includes three units in 9 W Walton. You’ll see that the price per square foot varies—this number is a good way to compare “apples to apples” in real estate, and the price goes up with more amenities, better views and covetable features. In the case of 9 W Walton, these units closed in March were all on lower floors, which cannot typically demand the higher price per square foot without the light and views you can find on a higher floor.

For my clients moving into the city, I’m finding that they are willing to spend more money per square foot for the right features—natural light, great views, generous ceiling heights and of course, a brand-new building. And most clients—even those making the move to condo living—want at least 3,000 square feet. This is the magic number as it relates to resale value, but also seems to be the minimum amount of space that a buyer wants if they are moving into the city from the suburbs.

In the March mix of sold condos, you’ll see that everything from location to views to square footage wooed luxury buyers. Here’s a closer look at the top five luxury condos that closed in March:

25502550 N Lakeview Ave, Unit 3301
List price: $3 million
Sold price: $2.7 million
Lincoln Park 2550 is the “grand dame” of luxury living in East Lincoln Park, and this one-of-a-kind, custom residence lives up to the name. This 33rd floor condo is a rarely available corner unit located on a transition floor, bosting 12+ foot ceilings and breathtaking views of the lake, city and park. The original floor plan was completely overhauled to bring in additional light, south and east views and to boost functionality of the space. The revamped space includes incredible design details like artistic lighting, custom millwork, wide-plank hardwood floors, stunning accent curtains and more. The space includes a master suite with sitting area and huge his-and-hers walk-in closets; kitchen with Wolf, Miele and Sub Zero appliances; and an oversized terrace. The building itself mirrors the services and amenities of a 5-star hotel, featuring an indoor pool, yoga and massage rooms, a dog run, billiard/reading/media rooms, a theater, gardens and more.

The next three condos were all sold in 9 W Walton, billed as the newest and finest building in the Gold Coast. The 66 units in this building feature private, heated terraces, high ceilings, expertly crafted interior design and custom tailored floor plans. The building also boasts five-star services and amenities for its residents, including a magnificent motor court with valet, and indoor spa and pool, a two-story exercise studio, a wine tasting room and private dining. Here’s a look at the units that sold:

9-w-walton9 W Walton St, Unit 502
Original list price: $2.6 million
Sold price: $2.6 million
With 3 bedrooms, 3 baths on the 5th floor, this 2,703 square foot unit went for $962 per square foot.

9 W Walton St, Unit 602
Original list price: $2.75 million
Sold price: $2,956,579
With 3 bedrooms, 3 baths on the 6th floor, this 2,703 square foot unit went for $1,093 per square foot.

9 W Walton St, Unit 604
Original list price: $3.8 million
Sold price: $3,880,152
This 3,715 6th-floor unit went to a cash buyer for more than $800,000 more than the list price, totaling $1,044 per square foot.

401NWabash401 N Wabash Ave, Unit 87A
Original list price: $9.95 million
Sold price: $9.4 million
This custom penthouse was completed in 2015 and built to standards rarely seen in Chicago. Spanning 6,850 square feet on the 87th floor, this unit sold for $1,372 per square foot. The unit’s design is inherently livable, thanks to perfectly proportioned rooms, 16-foot ceilings, massive floor-to-ceiling windows with panoramic views, plus every amenity imaginable. Finishes and details inside include exquisite millwork, built-ins, custom stone, inlaid and rift sawn oak floors, handcrafted hardware, designer paint and fabric wall coverings, motorized shades, remote-controlled custom lighting and a7-zone A/V system. This condo was built for entertaining with grand rooms and a top-of-the-line kitchen with butler’s pantry and wine cellar. Each bedroom has custom built-ins and luxurious ensuite baths, with a master dressing room that is larger than most bedrooms. The sale of this unit also included five garage spaces and private storage. And of course, the buyer of this condo can take advantage of all of the amenities and services that 401 N Wabash has to offer, including a world-class spa and lap pool and Michelin-rated restaurant.

For more information on 9 W Walton, the condos that sold in March or to see what’s on the market now, contact me at (312) 498-5080 or email me at ssalnick@dreamtown.com.

February Closings for Luxury Chicago Condos Were All About Square Footage

Square footage is something I bring up with my clients a lot. Whether you’re moving into the city from the burbs, or are a recent empty nester, buyers are often drawn to the convenience of amenities, services and location of a Chicago downtown luxury condo—but they don’t want to sacrifice space and square footage to get it.

If this sounds like you, don’t despair—Chicago has a lot of great options for luxurious high-end condos with generous interior space. Send me your square footage requirements and I can provide you with photos and listings that fit the range you’re looking for.

February Chicago Condo Sales Offer Generous Space

I’ve typically said that buyers want at least 3,000 square feet in a Chicago condo, but recent sales are proving I may have underestimated. February sales show that clients really want a huge amount of space when purchasing a Chicago condo. In the top five sales from last month, the lowest square footage in the list clocked in at 3,200 square feet, and the largest space was a gargantuan 7,100 square feet. It’s safe to say that luxury buyers want bigger, newer and more luxurious.

That’s just what buyers got among the top condo sales last month, with 38 condos sold and a sales volume of $69 million. Let’s take a closer look at the top five closings, in descending order.

9 W Walton St9 W Walton St, Unit 3400
Original sales price: $9,912,500
Sold price: $9,912,500
There weren’t too many details available about this top sale for the month, but we do know it was a whopping 7,100 square feet of raw space. That means the buyer can make this 34th-floor home exactly what they want.

Chicago condos in Trump Tower401 N Wabash Ave, Unit 88A
Original list price: $9.5 million
Sold price: $7.7 million
A half-floor penthouse high on the 88th floor, this luxury condo in River North boasts the most luxurious panoramic views. Inside, you’ll find a truly great space for entertaining, with 16-foot ceilings, 3 fireplaces and a glamorous state-of-the-art kitchen with Miele, Bosch, Wolf, SubZero appliances. The Kohler master baths include large walk-in closets and a separate Jacuzzi room. Residents here can enjoy the five-star hotel amenities including a health club, spa, restaurant and room service.

800NMichigan800 N Michigan Ave, Unit 2501
Original list price: $3.1 million
Sold price: $2.9 million
Located in the iconic Park Tower Residences, this 3,200 square foot home is located on the building’s east side, offering sensational views from every room of Lake Michigan and the famous architecture that Chicago is known for. With 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths, the condo was custom designed with architectural details and a floor plan that assures every room is elegant, comfortable and enjoyable. Features include hardwood floors, custom millwork, granite and marble throughout, living and dining spaces ideal for entertaining, designer kitchen appliances from Viking, Dacor, Euro Cave, SubZero and Bosch, custom cabinets, a built-in family room TV and a terrace. A premium parking space was also included with this sale.

445-e-north-water-st445 E North Water St, Unit 2401
Original list price: $2.7 million
Sold price: $2.2 million
This beautiful, full-amenity building is in the heart of Streeterville, boasting a state-of-the-art fitness center, indoor swimming pool, large party room and catering kitchen. This unit in particular spans 3,983 square feet on the 24th floor, with 3 bedrooms and a den and 3.5 baths. With a south corner exposure and dual balconies, this Chicago condo has exquisite views of the lake, river and city below. Inside, you’ll find a chef’s kitchen with granite countertops, a living area with double-sided fireplace, a beautiful ensuite master with custom walk-in closet and spa-like bath.

647 w melrose647 W Melrose St, Unit 1
Original list price: $2.299 million
Sold price: $2.199 million
A brand new construction building built on a 50-foot wide lot in East Lake View, these condos live better than a single-family home. This unit’s 4,600 square feet offers a width and breadth of real living and entertaining spaces that are hard to find. A keyed elevator entry opens directly into a large, elegant gallery. Throughout, you’ll find extraordinary finishes, 10-foot ceilings, a gorgeous chef’s kitchen, a separate mudroom, laundry room, and a fantastic lower level with radiant heat and a large family room. There is also outdoor space: A huge, private 26 x 15 foot yard and a 430-square foot covered terrace with a fireplace. And the location can’t be beat, as this home is within walking distance to schools, the park, Lake Michigan, shops and cafes.

For more on the homes that sold last month or to see what’s on the Chicago luxury condo market now, contact me at (312) 598-5080 or email me at ssalnick@dreamtown.com.

Flex Space Becoming Critical for Buyers of Chicago Luxury Homes and Condos

In luxury Chicago real estate, the design of a home is of the utmost importance. Sure, buyers can make their own changes in line with their personal aesthetics, but things like a smart floorplan or architectural design are generally major markers of a dream home no matter what.

Because of that, the latest development in home design is a big one: flex space.

What is a flex space, exactly? Well, by nature of it, this room lacks a true definition but it does have a few common traits: It’s off the entry hall, near the main living space, near a bathroom. Above the garage is another common flex space that can be used as a theater, an in-law suite, or kids’ room.

But whether it’s called a bonus room, a multi-purpose area or a flexible living space, the idea is that this is undesignated square footage that can adapt to different uses and brings a forward-thinking element to a home’s floorplan. This space is intended to serve changing purposes over time, taking on considerations for structure, wiring or plumbing up front so the room is ready to transform into its future state when needed.

Flexibility is Key in Real Estate Value

While not every buyer is planning for the future when purchasing real estate, it’s still a consideration when thinking about the resale value of your home, as people discuss the floorplan with an emphasis on the future. Especially in ultra-competitive markets, these flex rooms appeal to buyers who want to trade up for more space, but can’t afford the extra square footage.

If you’re building your first home or unsure of your future needs (like say, the number of children you’ll have), having some flexibility is key. Not to mention, our lifestyles are constantly changing: Folks are living with their parents longer than they used to; or parents move back in with their grown children as they need care in their later years. Buyers definitely feel a need to consider such future living arrangements when building or buying a Chicago luxury home. A flex room helps a property stand out from the rest by offering the promise of never outgrowing the space.

Space helps with sale and resale value because it offers a customization that buyers typically can’t get in an existing home. Designating that room as a flex space signals a freedom to do with it as you wish, versus trying to get a buyer to envision a dining room as their home office. Younger buyers see flex space as a way to customize their home—for example, to forego the formal living room without losing the square footage. Older home owners see these as a space that can adapt as they age—for example, being able to move the master suite to the ground floor.

Whether you’re a homeowner, a prospective seller or a potential buyer, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on what’s “trending” in home design and its impact on real estate value. Especially if you opt to take on a remodel or renovation project, I highly recommend you consider how certain features or characteristics will affect a resale down the line.

For more information on the latest in home design in luxury Chicago real estate, contact me at (312) 498-5080 or email me at ssalnick@dreamtown.com.

Chicago Luxury Homes Closed in December Were on a Tear

Chicago luxury home sales hardly went on a winter break at the end of 2017. The month of December saw $107 million in total sales volume for homes sold for $1 million and up. And the ultra-luxury category showed healthy sales as well.

During December, there were 18 deals made for more than $2 million. And the top five single-family homes all topped $3 million in price.

Lincoln Park Still a Hot Spot for Luxury Buyers
Of those 18 $2 million-plus sales, two-thirds of them were found in Lincoln Park. And of the top five, three were in Lincoln Park. While this beloved neighborhood has always been sought after by luxury buyers, it’s been especially hot in recent months, especially when a new construction property becomes available.

Lincoln Park is such a favorite for a few reasons:

Location: Lincoln Park is literally in the heart of it all. A quick jaunt into downtown. A short walk to parks and outdoor spaces. Nearby shopping, restaurants, nightlife and theater. But, the neighborhood boasts a residential feel that could be hard to come by in more urban areas. So Lincoln Park packs all of the convenience of city living with the comfort of the ‘burbs.

Plenty to do: You can spend a day in itself in actual Lincoln Park, home of the zoo, conservatory, North Pond and much more. And Lincoln Park is full of distinct blocks of boutique shopping, local eateries and other hot spots. There is always something to do, and it’s likely just steps from your front door.

Real estate options: Whether you’re looking for a full-amenity condo, a single-family home or a property with architectural significance, you’re likely to find it in Lincoln Park. This architecture of residential real estate in this area ensures you’ll find a property that sets itself apart in the luxury market.

Top Five Sales All Topped $3 Million
You can see why winter didn’t steer away luxury buyers from everything Lincoln Park and other Chicago neighborhoods have to offer. Here’s a closer look at the top five most expensive luxury homes that sold in December, in descending order.

1502 N Dearborn Pkwy1502 N Dearborn Pkwy
Original list price: $3.999 million
Sold price: $3.8 million
December’s top sale was a new construction property, which is always highly coveted with the luxury buyer. This 4-story, 5,200 square foot 3 bedroom includes features like a limestone façade, a top-floor master suite with double walk-in closets and a sky-lit level that brings in tons of sunlight. The extra-wide lot allows for plenty of green grass space between the house and garage.

1942 N Dayton St1942 N Dayton St
Original list price: $3.799 million
Sold price: $3.7 million
An extra-wide lot allows this Lincoln Park home to stretch across a generous 6,000 square feet, with 6 bedrooms and 6.1 baths. Features include a gracious entry foyer with a custom staircase that opens to spacious living and dining rooms; a huge great room with built-ins adjoining the kitchen area; and a large master suite with fireplace, dual walk-in closets, and a beautiful bath with steam shower. The showstopper of the home is the Christopher Peacock kitchen, featuring a walnut island, 48-inch Wolf cooktop, double oven and built-in desk area. You’ll also find a temperature controlled wine cellar, gigantic family/rec room with wet bar, an elevator to all levels and unbelievable outdoor space that includes a covered terrace, deck with pergola and planters, sunken stone patio and multiple rooftop decks. The home also has an attached 3-car garage—a must for Chicago winters.

2042 N Fremont St2042 N Fremont St
Original list price: $3.599 million
Sold price: $3.5 million
Located on a premier Lincoln Park block, this serene and understated 6 bedroom, 5.1 bath home has a highly functional layout across its 5,200 square feet. The home also has more than 1,500 square feet of outdoor space that includes a covered Loggia with outdoor fireplace on the penthouse level. The kitchen features custom slab-front cabinets, a giant walk-in pantry and a huge eat-at island. The great room opens up to a generous, stone-paved terrace leading to a garage roof deck. The lower-level family room includes oversized windows and a built-in wet bar with two additional bedrooms.

1804 N Leavitt St1804 N Leavitt St
Original list price: $4 million
Sold price: $3.4 million
You’ll see from the sales price that this home sold for a whopping $600,000 off of the list price—likely due to the buyer purchasing the home for case. Spanning 8,600 square feet, this 5 bedroom, 3.2 bath home is an architecturally exciting showpiece. Designed Miller Hull Partnership with heavy exposed timber and brick, the interior boasts soaring ceilings, and open central atrium that floods the home with light, a master suite on the top floor and a roof terrace. The kitchen’s two-story window wall opens to a full side yard with extensive landscaping. Other features include an elevator, 1,200 bottle wine cellar and an acoustically sealed theater room.

09061607_21489 N North Park Ave
Original list price: $3.1 million
Sold price: $3,061,310
This 6,000 square foot new construction home sold as quickly as it was listed. Touted as one of the most spectacular homes in the city presented by Urbane Home, this solid-brick beauty sits on wide, quiet, tree-lined street in the heart of Old Town. The location puts it just steps from popular shops, restaurants, transportation, parks and the lake. Inside, you’ll find artisan-caliber finishes in the professionally appointed interior that includes 4 living spaces. Outdoors, enjoy multiple outdoor spaces with skyline views. This home has luxury, comfort and convenience rolled into one, with a professional-grade kitchen, radiant heat in baths and exterior and electric car charging. Since this home was still in the final phase of development, the buyer even had time to make some customizations of their own from the builder.

Seeing what sold in the previous month is a great way for buyers to get a gauge on the market if they are looking to buy. If you’re looking for new construction or a particular feature, getting familiar with the recent sales can give you insight into what you might expect to pay for a property of the same stature.

For more information on December single-family home sales in Chicago, or to see what’s on the market now, contact me at (312) 498-5080 or email me at ssalnick@dreamtown.com.

Vista Tower: Newest Chicago Luxury Condo Building Expected to be Iconic

Over the last few years, Chicago has seen a number of exciting new construction projects for luxury buyers—but it’s been some time since something as exciting as Vista has been on the horizon.

This new luxury building is under construction now—but the anticipation for it is building even more quickly, as this is expected to be among the largest, most high-end condominiums in Chicago. Designed by famed Chicago architect Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang Architects, the Vista Residences will be a part of Lakeshore East, an idyllic community with an unbeatable location where the Chicago River and Lake Michigan meet. Its 90 floors feature 1- to 4-bedroom condos (starting at $1 million), including 18 floors of penthouse units.

But one paragraph certainly isn’t enough to summarize what’s to come with the Vista Tower. Let’s take a closer look at this sensational new building:

The Architecture


A celebrated Chicago architect, Jeanne Gang is no stranger to stunning silhouettes along Chicago’s skyline. She is the name behind many Chicago buildings, including Aqua Tower, City Hyde Park, and the Eleanor Boathouse at Park 571, plus projects in New York and all around the globe.

Vista Tower will transform Chicago’s famed skyline. The three towers take on a crystalline form in a striking design, unlike anything along the city’s panorama. Its glass façade will reflect the never-ending blues of the lake and sky surrounding it, making an elegant, visual masterpiece in the sky.

The Amenities


Many of Chicago’s residential buildings can enjoy the benefits of luxury hotel-caliber amenities, typically from an in-building or adjacent high-end hotel that offers its services to the building’s residents. Vista Tower will be no exception. This project will include the American debut of the Wanda Vista Hotel, a hospitality heavyweight in China that has won countless hospitality awards and will bring the epitome of luxury and indulgence to Chicago. Residents can enjoy direct access to the 5-star amenities that come with the Wanda Vista Hotel.

Plus, residents of Vista Tower can enjoy an exclusive amenity floor, called Club Vista, which promises a private oasis on the building’s 47th floor. The club will include just about every amenity under the sun without even having to leave the building: a fitness room, outdoor pool deck, theater room, wine storage and tasting room, a private dining suite, a demonstration kitchen, a sky lounge, a children’s room and activity space and game room.

The Residences


With all of this outside your front door, it will be no surprise that what awaits you on the interior is equally impressive. These single-floor Chicago condos are perfectly appointed, with spacious layouts, 360-degree views, 9-plus foot ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, wide-plank hardwood flooring and Snaidero cabinetry.

From the 73rd to the 90th floor, you’ll find penthouse units with 11-plus foot ceilings and a bevy of additional features with no detail overlooked.

The Location


At the heart of Lakeshore East is an enduring community that Chicago residents love to call home, all in the middle of an urban oasis. The master-planned community has one a number of awards for its thriving neighborhood, luxury living options with incredible views and near-it-all location at the intersection of the river and lake. It is home to an idyllic 6-acre park that wide, open green space, seating areas, a children’s play park, dog park, and beautiful gardens throughout.

And if a day alfresco isn’t your thing, just about any activity you might enjoy downtown is within an easy walk of Vista, including the Chicago river walk and lakefront, Millennium Park and Maggie Daley Park, the Magnificent Mile, the Loop, the Art Institute and Navy Pier. Work, play and everything in between are right outside the front door.

Buying New Construction Condos in Chicago

It’s incredibly exciting for Chicago to have a project like this in the works, and I have no doubt it will change the luxury real estate market here. One of the most important considerations for a potential buyer of new construction is to work with your own agent throughout the process as you visit the sales center and work with the developers.

A new development’s sales center is a great resource to introduce you to the building, but it’s also important that a potential buyer has someone working with their interest in mind. I’ve visited many sales offices with clients to help review floorplans, choose product selections that will maximize resale value or to guide them around the nuances of different units or parts of the building. Visiting with your own agent will ensure you are being represented as a potential buyer only.

My experience with buyers of new construction properties has been honed by working with some of Chicago’s major developers and helping buyers make important decisions off of floorplans, renderings and models while the “real thing” is still in production. If you’re looking at a development like Vista Tower or other, I can represent your interests to make sure you negotiate the best deal possible and make the best decisions for your future home.

If you’d like to learn more about Vista Tower, I would be happy to introduce you to the project and show you what’s in store. Contact me at (312) 498-5080 or email me at ssalnick@dreamtown.com.

How to Close on a Chicago Luxury Home in a Bidding War

Picture this: You’re shopping for a home and finally find a property that is stunning, special and feels different from the rest. It’s perfect for you, and because you can picture yourself living in it already—well, it must be meant to be.

Odds are, you aren’t the only one who feels this way about that one special home. Because inventories on Chicago homes and condos are still fairly low, it is more the rule than the exception that a great home will go quickly, and buyers will find themselves in a multiple-offer situation with any home they bid on.

Because of this increased competition, I am working with my clients more than ever on how to stand out as a buyer. While it once might have been as simple as throwing more money into an offer, I find it important to explain the different approaches to overcome multiple bids.

The Power of a Real Estate Letter

One strategy that is becoming more commonplace for buyers is penning a letter directly to the seller of a home. Referred to as a cover letter or even a love letter, this more personal communication is said to increase a luxury buyer’s chances of having their offer accepted by 75%. This personal approach can go a long way, which I think speaks to the emotions that are often involved in real estate.

While it might seem to be all about the numbers—highest bid wins, right?—a letter plays into a less black-and-white approach. For one, it gives you the opportunity to stoke the ego of the seller with compliments of their beautiful home. It also shows that a buyer is serious and will be diligent throughout the sales process if anything should come up. And third, it shows that there is a real person behind all the paperwork, and can help the seller feel like they are leaving the home in good hands if that is important to them.

Ultimately, it’s ultimately up to the seller to choose an offer for any reasoning they like. So anything that a buyer can put out there to connect with the seller is a possibility, whether it be to tell them about their family, their work, or their connection to the home or neighborhood via a personal note.

Other Strategies for Purchasing with Multiple Offers

While a letter may be effective for some, real estate is a business after all, and many sellers are just as motivated by knowing that the transaction will go smoothly. The Wall St. Journal recently reported on the various tactics that buyers are using to make their bids more competitive, with more common approaches including:

All cash: Yes, it’s still king. And it’s not just more cash that seals a deal. Cash rules in real estate because, the lower the risk of a sale going through without issues, the greater the appeal of the offer will be to most sellers. Paying in cash ensures a seller that a deal will close, and will do so quickly. High-end sellers in particular tend to be less price sensitive and might take less money for the promise of an all-cash offer.

Escalation clause: This is an arrangement that automatically increases a buyer’s bid if a competing buyer bids higher. It’s like an upfront guarantee to the seller that they’ll get the very best price for their property.

Waiving inspection contingencies: This means the potential buyer cannot cancel or renegotiate the contract based on the results of a home inspection. Not only does this cut down on the time to close, it ensures the seller won’t hit any snags if the home inspection reveals anything that might make the buyer want to rework the terms of their offer.

Waiving financing contingencies: This means the potential buyer’s offer is not dependent on his or her ability to obtain financing. With the influx of all-cash offers, this is becoming less effective of a strategy for buyers, and in some areas might even be mandated for your offer to be considered.

Pre-inspection: This is when a potential buyer commissions an inspection before making an offer. This ensures the seller that the buyer is confident in the property upfront, and that the closing process won’t be held up by an inspection timeline or any issues that get brought up.

If you’re in the market for a Chicago home or condo, it’s important to walk through some of these strategies with your agent so you know exactly what you’re able to offer when you find that home you love. Transactions move quickly and competitively, and my 25+ years of experience can help you navigate some of the less-charted territory we’re seeing in the luxury market today and help you close a sale on a great Chicago home.

For information on purchasing a Chicago luxury home or to see what’s on the market now, contact me at (312) 498-5080 or email me at ssalnick@dreamtown.com.

11 Luxury Chicago Condos Sold Between $2 and $3 Million in December

Considering the cold spell we’ve been having in Chicago, seeing the luxury condos that closed in December was a welcome surprise. During the month, a total of 61, $1 million-plus condos sold, reaching a total sales volume of $95 million. Twelve of those properties fell into the “ultra-luxury” category, priced between $2 million and $3 million.

Square Footage, Discounts Key to Top Condos Sold
As we’d expect, the top five condos (by price) had one common denomina
tor: close to 3,000 square feet or more, and going all the way up to 4,800 square feet. I have consistently recommended to my clients purchasing luxury property to aim for that amount of square footage at a minimum, as that is what helps high-end Chicago condos retain their resell value.

Many buyers are coming from the suburbs and trading their single-family home for something with less upkeep. But even as they are consolidating their belongings and trading in yard work for the convenience of assessments, many of them don’t want to find themselves cramped for space if they are moving from a 4,000 or 5,000 square foot home.

Another important note about the top condos that sold is the difference we see between asking price and list price. The buyers of the most expensive condos sold were able to obtain the properties for anywhere from $200,000 to $395,000 off their respective list prices. This is likely due to a few things: it was the end of the year, and many sellers are eager to make a deal and close the sale; and these buyers were able to offer cash, which helps negotiations in their favor. But in the end, the final purchase price appears to have worked in the buyer’s favor.
With that, let’s take a closer look at what the top properties had to offer those year-end buyers:

1201-s-prairie1201 S Prairie Ave, Unit 2301
Original list price: $3.395 million
Sold price: $3 million
Discount: $395,000
This half-floor condo on the 23rd floor boasts 5 bedrooms and 5.1 baths, making it a great alternative to the single-family home. The property has captivating views of Grant Park, Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline—a must for a luxury condo in the city. Inside, you’ll find a top-of-the-line kitchen with Ernestomeda custom cabinets, Wolf and Subzero appliances; a generous master suite with two walk-in closets and a marble bath with heated floors, steam shower and freestanding tub. Other features include wide-plank herringbone floors, motorized shades and surround sound throughout. And for what you don’t find in the unit itself, you’ll find in the building: The Grant has a 24-hour door staff, indoor pool, gym, sundeck, lounge, catering kitchen, children’s playroom and theater room.

180-e-pearson180 E Pearson Unit 6402
Original list price: $2.875 million
Sold price: $2.8 million
Discount: $75,000
Spanning 2,975 square feet high on the 64th floor, this 3 bedroom, 3 bath Chicago condo in the Water Tower Residences has been renovated into an exquisite home. The Water Tower Residences sit atop the Ritz-Carlton hotel, ensuring its residents privacy, discreet service and top security alongside access to the hotel’s renowned five-star amenities like room service, spa, gym and pool.

340ERandolph340 E Randolph St, Unit 4503
Original list price: $2.95 million
Sold price: $2.73 million
Discount: $220,000
Spectacular views are the cornerstone of this downtown building, with unobstructed southern views from every room, including vistas of Millennium Park, Buckingham Fountain and Grant Park. This 45th floor 4 bedroom unit spans 2,750 square feet and includes $200,000 in upgrades from the developer: bamboo flooring, extra built-in cabinets, designer lighting, electric shade, top-of-the-line appliances, and a remodeled master bath. The purchase even included two side-by-side parking spaces. 340 E Randolph is a full-amenity building that includes a spa-quality, 4,000 square foot exercise facility, sauna, steam room, lap pool, sky garden atrium, full-service business center and a 24-hour doorman.

1500 N Lake Shore Dr1500 N Lake Shore Dr, Unit 20B
Original list price: $2.95 million
Sold price: $2.6 million
Discount: $350,000
This iconic Gold Coast co-op has been meticulously renovated. Its 3,150 square feet include a spacious adjoining living and dining room with expansive lake views, high ceilings and beautifully finished hardwood floors throughout. Other features include a cozy lacquered library that overlooks the lake; a master bedroom with huge walk-in closet; new windows, electric, plumbing and zoned air conditioning with humidity control. The building is full-service, with 24-hour door staff, valet parking, guest parking, an on-sit engineer and is pet-friendly.

The Fordham Chicago25 E Superior St, Unit 4401
Original list price: $2.75 million
Sold price: $2.55 million
Discount: $200,000
Ah, the Fordham. This is a one-of-a-kind, half-floor penthouse in a one-of-a-kind building. Located just steps from Michigan Avenue, this 44th floor Chicago condo offers a generous 4,800 square feet of luxurious space. The property is bright and sunny throughout, with oversized windows in each room that bring in spectacular views of the lake and city in all directions. The floor plan is ideal for entertaining, with a large, open chef’s kitchen, a master bedroom with large bathroom and dressing room, plenty of closets, high-end appliances and more. The Fordham is a full amenitiy building with 24-hour door staff, theater, party room, indoor pool, sun deck, fitness center, sauna, massage room, wine cellar, humidor room and a dog run.

Even though December is a busy, busy time—wrapping up the end of the calendar year, holidays, travel—it’s also proven as a great time to take on making a home purchase, as shown by last month’s sales. These opportunistic buyers were able to work the timing in their favor for big discounts off the asking prices of the city’s top Chicago condos for sale.

If you’re considering a purchase this year, I’d recommend getting started before spring is in full swing. With less competition from other buyers, there’s a good chance that we can negotiate a good deal on a home before the real estate market season is in full swing.

For more information on what’s on the market now or to get started on your home search, contact me at (312) 498-5080 or email me at ssalnick@dreamtown.com.

November Luxury Chicago Home Sales Slowed Slightly

While luxury Chicago condo sales saw a strong November, single-family homes seemed to experience the seasonal slowdown we often see this time of year. But that doesn’t mean there weren’t some noteworthy sales: The highest-price property traded for $4.2 million, and the top five sales were all around $2 million or higher.

The top five most expensive homes that sold each have their own list of unique and special features, from square footage, to location, lot size, or other features. This is the key in luxury real estate today. Upscale properties must have a healthy number of factors that differentiate it from what else is on the market to attract luxury buyers—and this month’s homes certainly did that.
Total luxury homes sales in Chicago totaled $56 million for November. Let’s take a closer look at the details and characteristics that set these apart with a recap of the top homes sold in descending order.

456-w-huron456 W Huron St
Original list price: $4.6 million
Sold price: $4.2 million
November’s most expensive single-family home sale also offered the most square footage: a whopping 10,000 across 6 bedrooms and 4.3 baths. Located on a quiet, tree-lined street in River North, this stunning home showcases quality construction and immaculate attention to detail. The space in an entertainer’s dream, equipped with a 750-bottle wine cellar, recreation room with full bar, elevator, custom staircase and 3-car attached garage. In addition to the generous interior, there are also three enormous outdoor spaces. The River North location offers easy access to the highway and is a short walk to shops, dining and all of the neighborhood’s offerings.

457-W-Deming-Pl457 W Deming Pl
Original list price: $3.795 million
Sold price: $3.625 million
This extra-wide, custom single-family home spared no expense through a long list of upgrades, including a first-floor marble foyer, elevator, high ceilings, an attached two-car heated garage, and hardwood floors throughout. The sunlit building boasts three levels, including a second-floor maginircenty living room with custom built-ins and wood-burning fireplace, plus a deluxe gourmet, eat-in kitchen. The top floor master suite includes an office/sitting room, massive walk-in closet with island, Calcutta master bath and oversized separate steam shower. Outdoors, you’ll find three private spaces with a one-of-a-kind, 900-square foot private side deck. And the new owners can enjoy all of the luxury amenities at the coveted 2550 Lakeview building.

214-W-Erie-St214 W Erie St
Original list price: $3.25 million
Sold price: $2.69 million
This is an ultra-unique property in River North—the distinct and recognizable Flair House, an 1883 masterpiece that formerly served as the office of Flair Communications. With 7,000 square feet, this home was ready to be created into a home or office across its 7,000 square feet.

3738-N-Lakewood-Ave3738 N Lakewood Ave
Original list price: $2.395 million
Sold price: $2.25 million
Located in the Southport Corridor (and in the coveted Blaine school distict!), this custom Greystone spans 5,360 square feet, with 5 bedrooms and 5.2 baths. Features include a commercial-grade, eat-in chef’s kitchen with luxury appliances, Amish custom cabinetry, oversized quartzite tile, a walk-in pantry, Butler’s pantry with full-size SubZero wine fridge. The expansive floorplan includes a sun-drenched family room with fireplace and coffered ceilings, while an incredible master suite boasts his-and-hers walk-in closets, gas fireplace, wet bar, marble spa bath, radiant heat and separate steam shower. Outdoors, there is a new limestone porch and walk-out balcony as well as a rooftop deck.

315-Wisconsin-St315 W Wisconsin St
Original list price: $2.05 million
Sold price: $1.925 million
A historic row home in the heart of Old Town, this 3 bedroom, 3.1. bath home is in an ideal location: steps from Lincoln Park and Green City market, buses to downtown, restaurants and shopping, plus within the Lincoln Elementary and Lincoln Park High School district. The home has a classic Chicago façade that has been completely rebuilt on the 4,500 square foot interior. You’ll find four levels of bright, luxurious living and entertaining space with tall ceilings and an unusually wide floorplan. A full-floor master suite includes a club-style family room with projection TV, paneled study, attractive millwork and built-ins. Four private outdoor areas include a roof deck with skyline views.

It will be in interesting to see how the end of the year shakes out for Chicago luxury sales and what trends will develop in early 2018. It’s clear that the differentiation factor is huge for the luxury buyer, and many Chicago properties are delivering on that need.

For more of November’s Chicago luxury sales or to talk about buying in 2018, contact me at (312) 498-5080 or email me at ssalnick@dreamtown.com.

Ultra-Luxury Chicago Condos Sell Well in November

When we checked in on Chicago condo sales at the close of September, the final quarter of 2017 was looking a bit unpredictable. The month saw relatively soft sales of high-end properties, but sales seemed to resume in October— and not move into the typical winter/holiday slump that November and December usually bring.

But, November proved to be a strong month as well for luxury Chicago condos. Total sales for the month topped $79 million, and nine of the properties sold were over the $2 million mark.

We also saw two continued trends among the month’s top condo sales. As usual, every condo sold in this category boasted generous square footage—the largest one being a 6,100 square foot gem that sold for cash. And, cash remains king for purchasing luxury real estate in Chicago, as buyers who can do so can usually get a considerable amount of money off the listing price.

With that, here’s a more detailed look at the top five most expensive Chicago condos to sell in November, in descending order:

189ELakeShoreDr189 E Lake Shore Dr, Unit 10
Original list price: $5.2 million
Sold price: $4.3 million
The month’s most expensive sale was also the most expansive—a whopping 6,100 square feet. A rare opportunity on East Lake Shore Drive, this 5 bedroom/4.1 bath condo is a full-floor unit with an amazien layout that includes an open living room, den and office with stunning views of Oak Street Beach and Chicago’s stunning lakefront. A large, private south-facing terrace brings in plenty of sun and breath-taking views come from all bedrooms. Other features include a deluxe, eat-in kitchen with attached breakfast area, separate family room, and 3-car indoor garage parking. This premier, full-service building includes a 24-hour doorman, exercise room and more.

77-e-walton77 E Walton St, Unit 27F
Original list price: $3.4 million
Sold price: $3.2725 million
This 3 bedroom/3.1 bath property is a stunning Gold Coast condo in the Residences at 900. It’s 3,486 square feet have been meticulously remodeled with thoughtful room design and the finest finishes. The unbelievable master suite includes a 13-by-12-foot organized closet, a master bath with heated floors, custom lighting and vanities, handcrafted tub and an oversized shower. The state-of-the-art home automation system controls sound, lighting, climate and windows. Building amenities include a 10th floor roof garden, private, on-site concierge, 24-hour door person, valet parking and bike storage. Residents here have access to the Four Seasons hotel amenities, like room service, spa treatments, exercise facility and more.

1340 N State Pkwy, Unit 1S1340 N State Parkway, Unit 3S
Original list price: $3.25 million
Sold price: $3.25 million
A recent renovation made this half-floor Playboy Chicago condo a turnkey home, with 4,300 square feet and 4 bedrooms/4.1 baths. The unit boasts a large private terrace, plus sun-filled rooms from 23 huge windows in all directions. The building itself has just seven residences in the Gold Coast, on a quiet, tree-lined street that is within walking distance to Lake Michigan, Lincoln Park and the Magnificent Mile. Other rooms include a living room, separate dining room, informal family room, eat-it kitchen, separate home office and an attached two-car garage.

50echestnut50 E Chestnut St, Unit 501
Original list price: $3.295 million
Sold price: $3.175 million
Located in a premiere deluxe building one block off of Michigan Avenue, this one-of-a-kind home spans 3,904 square feet on the building’s 5th floor. Inside, you’ll find a stunning interior with designer finishes throughout; outside is a huge wrap-around terrace with space for a dog run, putting area and alfresco dining, plus additional outdoor space. There’s also a deluxe eat-it kitchen with Wolf, Sub-Zero and other high-end appliances. Plus, this property’s Gold Coast location is ideal for walking to shops, dining, the beach and much more.

180 E Pearson180 E Pearson St, Unit 3805
Original list price: $3.425 million
Sold price: $3 million
This 3 bedroom/4 bath unit in one of Chicago’s top luxury buildings boasts 3,400 square feet on the 28th floor. The unit has been completely renovated, designed and decorated by a world-class designer to include luxury materials and finishes and meticulous attention to detail. Features include wide-plank black walnut flooring, sweeping views of the lake and city and a well thought-out floorplan that includes custom cabinetry, millwork and window treatments. The kitchen and baths have the finest fixtures and finishes, while the master suite hosts a separate sitting room/office/bedroom chamber with his-and-her baths and abundant storage. Residents here can also enjoy the superb service and discounted amenities of the Ritz-Carlton Club and Spa.

While this is just a snippet of last month’s sales, t’s a great idea for prospective buyers to take a look at what Chicago condos have recently sold, and see how sale prices line up with the location, space, features and amenities on their own wish list. Particularly for luxury condos, it’s a good idea to understand some of the most coveted features of upscale homes and what those features mean for a sale price. Doing this research will help you understand what you might find when you’re ready to hit the market as a buyer yourself.

For more information on the Chicago luxury condos that sold last month or to see what’s on the market now, contact me at (312) 498-5080 or email me at ssalnick@dreamtown.com.