SELLING A HOME CAN BE TOUGH

SELLING YOUR HOME CAN BE TOUGH
By Stephen A Duncan

I just sold my home. It took seven long months to sell. I asked myself more than once why did it take so long? Was it the winter weather? The signs went in the yard in the tenth month of last year. Then we had that really ugly winter. You remember that ugly winter with cold, snow, more cold and snow and even more cold. You remember don’t you? Perhaps the economy was part of the problem. The home down the block sold in the first month it went on the market, and showed a “Pending Sale” sign for a couple of months then the “Pending Sale” sign disappeared and the house was back on the market. Perhaps the buyers didn’t have the necessary FICO credit score or enough money in the bank, who knows what the buyers didn’t have. The home down the block was back.

Years ago when I was in the mortgage lending business I was often asked, “Why hasn’t my home sold?” It always had a standard answer. I would answer with great authority and wisdom as if I really knew. “Everything will sell at the right price. It takes a willing buyer and a willing seller to sell a home.” I guess that is why doctors don’t operate on family, lawyers don’t represent friends. And home owners shouldn’t set the sale price on their own home.

My core belief of course was and still is; I’m hip and smart. I know the business of mortgage lending and real estate. I have seen it all for 30 years. How could I, as astute and sophisticated as I am about real estate not understand the market? Not going to happen. Well, it took seven months to find that perfect number, a sale and purchase price that would work for my home. So much for me being a real estate expert.

I’m not the only one in this boat. Everyone who owns a home knows what their home is worth. And we all start out thinking it’s worth what we think it’s worth. It seems like a lot of people have the same problem selling their home. Some people can sell almost anything regardless of price. You remember Ron Popeil? Now there is a guy who could sell. Popeil sold his Ronco Spray Gun and the Chop-O-Matic for years. Don’t forget Billy May’s sales efforts with promoting Oxi-clean.

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Michael Jordan is excellent when it comes to selling most products-from sneakers to T-shirts or Gatorade. But when it comes to selling his own house, Air Jordan came up short.

Michael Jordan’s sprawling home outside Chicago is off the market after several price cuts and a failed auction. The estate, in Highland Park, Ill., first came on the market in 2012 for $29 million. Who came up with that number? Now the home has been withdrawn for a cooling off period.

Jordan placed a 16 million price tag on his home following a failed auction in December, which did not attract a buyer at the expected price of $13 million or more. Brokers say it may be even more difficult to sell the home after a failed auction-especially at Jordan’s $16 million price tag.

“I’m not sure of the logic of raising the price,” said one broker. “If it didn’t sell at $13 million, how will it sell at $16 million?”

So why is the Jordan magic not working? Brokers say its main flaw is its location.

Homes near Jordan’s in Highland Park typically trade for $1 million to $5 million. So $16 million is a huge leap.

What’s more, Jordan’s home is located near a busy set of railroad tracks and high tension power lines. There is a $17.5 million listing in Highland Park, but that property comes with 25 pristine acres of farmland.

Brokers say the most expensive homes sold in Chicago over the past five years were both around $12 million-making the $16 million price tag look high.

Yes, there may be some basketball-loving billionaires and millionaires in Chicago who covet owning Jordan’s former house-along with the regulation-size NBA court that Michael and his buddies used to practice on.

“We’re a conservative, Midwest community so people aren’t super-impressed with celebrity ownership,” said Jennifer Ames, a leading broker in Chicago with Coldwell Banker. “And most people don’t need or want a basketball court in their house.”

Jordan, who moved out last spring, now lives primarily in Florida and North Carolina.

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Michael Jordan’s new home under construction in Juniper Florida.

There’s also the issue of taste. The compound is huge, with over 56,000 square feet of living space. 7.39 acres, 56,000 square feet, 9 bedrooms – 15 full and 4 half baths, 5 fireplaces, 15 heated garage spaces, 500+ bottle wine cellar, home theater, card room, a “gentleman’s retreat” with original doors from the Playboy mansion. Cigar room with walk-in humidor, pool pavilion and outdoor kitchen with separate entrance, basketball complex, state-of-the-art fitness center, tennis court, putting green, full-service beauty salon, guest wing with 3 en suite bedrooms and separate entrance, living fence of 150 mature evergreens.

In the end, it all comes down to price–and ultimately, the price’s alignment with a property’s investment potential. People are gravitating towards security, they want to be surrounded by comparable properties with similar price points.”

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Grand Entrance, When #23 returns to the compound from a golf tournament—or an away game—he passes through these gates. Keep in mind when you enter your home in Highland Park, you have $180,000 real estate tax bill to pay. That works out to $493 a day.

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First Impressions.  The entrance is marked by a glass-tile façade and a half-moon roof over the front door.

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Make Yourself At Home. The expansive L-shaped sofa with deep seats makes entertaining long-legged guests a cinch

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The Big Screen.  Michael’s 110-inch screen is a must for catching post-game highlights.

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Dinner Time.  An eye-catching abstract pendant and latticed chairs are just some of the geometry-themed details in the dining room.

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On the Table.  Designer Ezri Tarazi’s Baghdad table goes for an incredible $39,500—a fitting dining room accessory for a man known as His Airness

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Put It Away.  It looks like MJ couldn’t completely leave the locker room. Here, cubby-like shelves hold eclectic objects instead of uniforms and jerseys.

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Cook’s Kitchen.  No appliance went unaddressed in Jordan’s designer kitchen, from the custom wine refrigerator to the dual oven and vented range.

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Earth Tones .  The tan leather cushions, wood sculpture, and warm brown drapery in this sitting room are offset only by the fresh greenery just outside the windows.

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Piano Play.  We can just picture MJ tickling the ivories for his guests in this musically inclined room.

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We Have Company.  The guest house is awash in a mix of textures, from the grass cloth walls and leather cube chairs to the lacquered-wood coffee table.

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Another Media Room.  MJ sure likes his television. Here, a masculine room with a stylish black-and-gold palette and a quad of modern wingbacks puts the tube center stage (again).

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Head First. This minimalist guest room seems expertly conducive to sleep, with little to distract from your slumber but for a vibrant art installation as headboard.

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Court Side.  Of course, no basketball legend’s abode would be complete without an NBA-regulation court that’s protected from the elements.

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Manicured Green. Leave it to MJ to devise his own literal private island at the center of his estate.

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Unusual Suspects.  The contemporary vibe continues on the patio adjacent to the infinity pool, which features abstract seating arrangements and a bank of beautiful chaises.

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A Place To Relax. On the other side of the patio, streamlined sofas beneath a shady pergola look like the perfect place to beat the heat.

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Hole In One. With his own private putting green, the notoriously competitive Jordan has no excuse but to sink the putt every time.

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Pond Fun, A point of envy for fishermen everywhere: the serene stocked pond covered with verdant lily pads.

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Tennis, Anyone?  And just in case you didn’t think Jordan had enough on his athletic roster, there’s a full tennis court where we’re sure MJ always gets the first serve.

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From the air, Michael Jordan current home in Chicago, off the market.

About the author

Stephen A and Scott Duncan publish "ByDuncan.com" Scott photographs (Duncan Photography) and is the guy who keeps this site running. Steve (left) is a photographer (Duncan Photography) and writes to "ByDuncan.com"