In service of Rookie Roosts Week and any eager first-time buyers out there, we've compiled a quick sampling of what the median asking price scores you in three distinct areas. Using Zillow's figures on condo and single family listings in Hyde Park, West Town, and Lincoln Square, we designated three pairs of attractive properties at or near the median. They're all condos because we couldn't throw a rehab your way, at least not as a first endeavor. The medians, as of the end of January, are: $168,800 for Hyde Park; $251,400 for West Town; and, $208,800 for Lincoln Square. Not that you couldn't afford more, but you're just getting started in this game called real estate. Why push your luck?
5100 S Hyde Park Blvd #1D
Asking Price: $169,999
Size: two bed/one bath
The Skinny: Our first Hyde Park pick faces onto Harold Washington Park along the lake. This very well-kept ground floor unit in a rather ornate sprawling condo building doesn't read like a standardized condo. It's got a new kitchen, bath, and mechanicals, and a large front balcony that mimics a proper porch. There's one head scratcher: we don't quite follow the claim of "soaring ceilings". Assessments? $540/month.
5421 S Dorchester Ave #1
Asking Price: $187,000
Size: two bed/ one bath, 1,200 sf
The Skinny: Another ground floor condo in a much larger courtyard building, this "vintage" unit has new hardwoods, an updated kitchen, a sun room, balcony, and a shared playlot (with sandbox for the kiddies). Right in the heart of Hyde Park. Assessments are $484/month.
744 N Willard Ct. #201
Asking Price: $265,000
Size: two bed/ two bath, 1,750 sf
The Skinny: Moving on to West Town, this Kennedy-bordering condo offers a ton of space for the price (thanks to the Kennedy, no doubt). It's "immense", it's "sunny", and it has a jacuzzi tub, wood-burning fireplace, rear deck, and garage parking. Oh, and a motivated seller. If you're able to acclimate to the drone of the highway, there's good news in it for you: the clearing affords unobstructed skyline views. Assessments are a reasonable $280/month.
2258 W Huron St. Unit O
Asking Price: $258,900
Size: one bed/ one bath, 1,476 sf
The Skinny: This is only a 1/1 plus den, but don't let that deter you. It belongs to one of West Town's coveted Church conversions. And it's one of the better units, in fact. The "penthouse" (third floor) has 13' ceilings, 9' windows, and a large kitchen. And dig the two-sided fireplace that divides the living and dining rooms. Assessments? $388/month.
2513 W Leland Ave #3W
Asking Price: $225,000
Size: two bed/ one bath, 1,500 sf
The Skinny: Here's another third floor "penthouse" for you, this one in Lincoln Square. The good-sized two-bed sits atop a handsome 1920 six-flat, and has the woodwork, crown moldings, and built-ins of that era. The unit also has a deck, skylight, and shared yard. There's one problem area: the building backs up to the Brown Line tracks. Assessments are $236/month and include all utilities.
4440 N Damen Ave #4W
Asking Price: $220,000
Size: two bed/ two bath
The Skinny: We don't have the square footage on this snazzy top-floor condo, but the pictures suggest a fairly compact dwelling. Good news is it's in great shape, having been renovated in 2007 along with the entire courtyard building. The renovation also added a balcony. In between the Montrose and Damen Brown Line stops, the address is proximate to lots of Lincoln Square goodies. Assessments are $166/month.