I didn’t know where Sycamore was before listing the home

As I headed into the city yesterday I heard a real estate agent on the radio delivering the all-too-typical babble about how she worked “throughout Chicagoland.” To illustrate her point, the northwest suburban-based agent said “I listed a home in Sycamore the other day; didn’t even know where Sycamore was” before driving out there.

I just looked up the agent’s listing, which has been on the market for 37 days now. It’s a 3-bedroom, 2 ½ bath, 1,800 square foot home with a 2-car garage. The agent misspelled the home’s street name in the MLS – as two words rather than one. A minor point, I realize, but a frequent error that sometimes bites the seller in the form of an extended market time. The agent’s listing codes the lot size as .50-.99 acre although its dimensions are stated as 90 x 110. You do the math, and wonder what else the agent got wrong.

The home is in an incomplete subdivision at the edge of town. It’s listed as a short sale, priced in the $270s – about $100K over a recent sale in the subdivision, a 2,100 square foot, 4-bedroom, 2 ½ bath home with a 3-car garage on a larger lot. The builder is still offering lots and homes for sale in the subdivision.

New 1,800 square-foot, 3-bedroom, 2 ½ bath homes near the center of Sycamore are available at Reston Ponds (a former client of ours) in the $210s. It’s an attractive subdivision, being completed by Shodeen Residential, a builder with a solid track record in the far western suburbs. You can tour an open-concept 3-bedroom model in the above video.

I roam widely throughout Chicagoland, and there are only a few areas that I know well. And yet I often find myself knowing far more about a location than the agents I meet at their listings. I’ll wind up informing an agent that the school district her listing in is highly-prized or that his home is adjacent to a 100-acre park and so on – facts that contribute to the home’s salability that the agent never mentioned because he or she was ignorant of them. I recently reassured an agent that, yes I’m certain, “Miles van der Rohe” preferred to be known as “Mies van der Rohe.”

Sellers often suffer when they hire an agent with inadequate knowledge of their immediate area. Does anyone think things will end well for the seller who hired an agent who didn’t know where Sycamore was?

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