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Landmark Prairie Ave. Manse Under Contract Again—Will it Sell?

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The Landmark Wood-Maxey-Boyd House in Douglas has gone under contract again — will the buyers be able to seal the deal this time? "It's hard to tell," says listing agent Fred Scovell, who says that despite the obvious appeal of the 125-year-old mansion, the cost of acquisition has been a deterrent for some buyers. The 6,000-square-foot home came on the market about a year ago, and in that time it has been the subject of several articles and blog posts. "I get more calls on this property than any property I've ever had in my eight years working as an active Realtor," says Scovell. Originally, it was priced at $850,000, but it was when the seller dropped the asking price to $599,000 in September that Scovell began getting a flood of inquiries. (The house is now priced slightly lower than that, at $594,000.) Whereas before, people would come just to "kick the tires," Scovell says now they seem to have a more serious interest in buying the place.

A buyer put the home under contract in the fall, but that fell through because of personal financial reasons. That buyer is back and has made another offer on the home, and two other buyers have also made cash offers, according to Scovell. "I think the market is absolutely changing," says Scovell. "The people who are looking at this property have significant assets. The stock market recovery has made these people more secure." Individual buyers aren't the only interested parties, though. Scovell says that other people have looked into converting the house into a bed & breakfast; Mercy Hospital has expressed interest in the property; and the same couple that is converting a University Village fire station into an art studio have visited it several times, and they even brought a contractor.

So, why haven't any of these potential buyers been able to close on it? "What happens is they bring their contractors in, and depending on who the contractor is, it affects the buyer," Scovell explains. Scovell estimates that the home needs about $750K-$1M in new electrical, plumbing and other upgrades. Even so, don't expect this place to stay on the market much longer.
· The Price is Right, But Is this Douglas Mansion Chicago's Nicest? [Curbed Chicago]
· Prairie Avenue’s Unlikely Survivor [Deal Estate]