Vintage in decline? Nine steps you can take to sell

The market for vintage condos in Chicago has been on a steady decline for the last 5 years. In 2007 vintage sales, as a percent of total sales, were 3.4% and in the 1st quarter of 2012 they dropped below 2%. This is not a one year or one quarter anomaly. Since 2007 when vintage sales were 3.4%, they have dropped each year.

  • 2007 3.4%
  • 2008 2.9%
  • 2009 2.5%
  • 2010 2.4%
  • 2011 2.1%
  • 2012 1.9% YTD
  • It is possible that the development boom of the early 2000’s brought styles that were reminiscent of vintage features: tall ceilings, crown moldings and mullioned windows. But the new construction doesn’t come with some of the vintage issues: old pipes, old electrical, layer upon layer of painted woodwork, old windows. New construction also comes with new features that consumers are looking for such as laundry in the unit / near the bedrooms and open plan layouts.

    If you are living in and trying to sell a vintage home, here are nine things you can do to make sure the special features are emphasized and buyers’ perceived issues are minimized.

    Highlight the history. Is there a story to your building? People love to feel as though they are buying something special and your building may have a special place in Chicago’s history.

    Dining room. – A formal dining room adds a great deal of space to a home, and is not typically in newer construction.

    Big rooms and tall ceilings. Does the photgraphy and staging really show off the value of these features?

    Kitchen. You are selling, so you may not want to do a whole house makeover, but consider adding the items most visible to buyers, such as granite countertops.

    Laundry. Is there a closet that can fit a washer and dryer, do you at least have board approval for a washer / dryer hookup in the unit?

    Bath. Can the old tub/shower in the bath be refinished so that it sparkles?

    Moldings. Baseboard moldings should be pristine because they’re what people notice first.

    Hardware. Window, bath and kitchen hardware should be in perfect working order and, if possible, updated.

    Floors. Your home probably has wonderful real hardwood flooring. It may also have stains, or nail marks from old carpet tacking – hey, it has been walked on and spilled on for 100 years. A darker stain can update the look to a buyer preferred color and mask some of those “character” flaws.

    Check out a Lakeview vintage done right this weekend at a public open house, Sunday, March 18, from 1 to 3 pm. Unit 1 at 1110 W Wellington is a 3 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath duplex with laundry, an updated kitchen, a garage and outdoor space, offered at $485,000.

    Jody Wise is affiliated with Prudential Rubloff. Visit her profile or her website for more information.

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