Home Buying in Chicago>Question Details

Holly, Home Buyer in Chicago, IL

All other things being equal, which is the better deal: a condo with crown molding, cherry floors, and a same

Asked by Holly, Chicago, IL Tue Feb 10, 2009

floor large storage unit OR a condo with a balcony, oak floors, add'l 100sqft, but NO crown molding nor a storage unit for a higher cost of $25k?

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Dear Holly,

Give that the units are in the same building, I would just suggest negotiating very aggressively for the larger unit at the best price that you can get. If there is a 25K difference between relatively similar units, then there should be significant negotiating room on the more expensive (and larger) unit. Good luck.

Christopher Thomas
Broker Associate, Sudler Sotheby's International Realty
773-418-0640 (cell)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 18, 2009
I would agree with the previous agents' answers. You can always change floors, add molding, etc. You will never be able to add square footage to a condo in a large building. That is where the value is.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 13, 2009
Thank you to all have responded so far! Your advice is much appreciated! I should have mentioned in my original question that these condos are in the same building and that the building has a communal rooftop deck. I don't know if that influences recommendations or not, ie: balcony. Thank you!!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 11, 2009
Space truly adds value. Everything else is subject to taste.

As far as the deal is concerned, that's entirely your call. I would say make an offer at the price you think is reasonable on the unit you truly want to live in.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 11, 2009
Square footage really counts in the condo market.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 10, 2009
The storage issue completely depends on if the inside has adequate storage for you and to not discourage people when you go to resell.

100 Sq Ft can either be a lot or a little depending on how it's used. If it's an extra 10x10 bedroom/den then that's significant but if every room is a few inches wider and longer than it's not worth paying extra for.

Crown molding is not prohibitively expensive and you can have someone come in and put up exactly what you like at your convenience. It's a 1-day job for a condo at most.

The balcony is a nice thing to have, but again it depends on where it's at. If it's off a bedroom it's not great, but if it's off a main living space it is a tremendous feature to have. However, it's not worth $25,000.

Hardwood is also great but can be installed.

Look at it this way...what are you willing to pay for the differences? Here is an example:

Balcony- $10K
100 Sq Ft - $10K
Hardwood- $10K
TOTAL - $30K

In my example you're actually coming out ahead because you'd theoretically be willing to add $30,000 to the price of the cheaper condo if it had the above things. I think those numbers are good starting points and if you agree then you're actually saving time, effort, and money by going with the more expensive condo.

Scott Newman
Newman Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 10, 2009
I agree with Eric, square footage is better than anything (at $200 square foot that is extra 20,000 right there).
Chicago is a deck town, very few units don't have a deck or outdoor space.

Why not the larger unit at the same price as the smaller unit? That is what I would go for.

Just thought I would make it interesting. You should look up all the sales in the building to how aggressive you can be in your bid. Tell us what building it is and we can tell you what sales prices and sales velocity is.
Web Reference: http://www.1sthomegroup.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 10, 2009
It is all your personal preferance. Just remember, you can add crown molding and restain floors. You cannot add a balcony and add 100sq/ft. You can always rent storage as Kevin said below. Persoanlly, I would go with the one that is larger and has a blacony. If you want to restain your floors and add crown molding, you can always do it when you have some extra cash. Hope this helps.

Matt Laricy
Americorp Real Estate
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 10, 2009
IF all other things were equal (location?), it is hard to imagine the differences you describe as being $25k more valuable to the market.

One of our specialties is using regression analysis to answer specific questions like these. You can see an example at.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 10, 2009

It is difficult to fully answer your question. If the units are located in different buildings there are different values associated with each. The same disequilibrium occurs if these units are located in elevator buildings and they are located on different levels and they have different views. Bearing in mind your language that all things being equal - there is greater value associated with more square footage and a balcony. Is it $25k of value? Doubtful. This sounds like a situation where your real estate professional can analyze the market and assist you to determine what unit best suits you and assist you to calibrate your offer.

Best of luck with your search.

Thomas McCarey
Luxury Home Marketing Specialist
Accredited Buyers Representative
The Real Estate Lounge Chicago with @properties
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 10, 2009

It is relatively easy to add Crown molding or wood flooring to any room but additional square footage and balcony are features that are more difficult or impossible to add and therefore carry a greater value.

Good luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 10, 2009
Personally, I have to have good outdoor space. The unit is larger and had an outdoor space. The balcony/deck makes the home more marketable, enjoyable and easier to sell. You can rent a storage unit off-site and enjoy your deck on site.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 10, 2009
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