2011 Homebuying and Selling
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What will $200,000 buy: Chicago

Real Estate » 2011 Homebuying and Selling » What will $200k buy? » Chicago

The sales pitch
This high-rise condo is situated in Chicago's Edgewater Beach neighborhood. The two-bedroom unit features an open floor plan and hardwood floors throughout. "It just has a cozy, homey feeling -- and the building does, too," says Sara McMurray, real estate consultant with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Lincoln Park Plaza. "It's beautiful."

Price: $199,900
Area median price: $183,400 (down 4.2 percent from one year earlier)
Amenities
2 bedrooms/3 baths
Approximately 1,125 square feet
One space in parking garage
Features
End unit
Hardwood floors
Balcony
Listed by: Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage-Lincoln Park Plaza

The kitchen has granite counters, maple cabinets, a slate floor and a smooth-top range. Both bathrooms are appointed with vessel sinks, hardwood cabinetry and marble floors. The balcony has views of Lake Michigan and Lincoln Park.

The building includes an indoor pool, a gym, tennis courts, sun decks, a laundry room, picnic and grilling areas and a covered parking garage.

What else you can get for $200,000
Buyers in Chicago and surrounding environs will find "more house and a better deal this year," says Mabel Guzman, president of the Chicago Association of Realtors and president of business development and sales for Envision Real Estate.

"Basically what's happening is we have quite a few distressed assets in our books," she says. "So there is downward pressure on the median price. It allows the buyer to have competitive pricing."

As with a lot of areas, what you get for the money depends on "location, location, location," Guzman says. For $200,000, buyers in the suburbs south of the city rim can "get a single-family, four-bedroom, three-bath for $180,000, completely rehabbed," she says.

Closer to the city, for $200,000, "you shift from single-family to condo," Guzman says. Depending on the location, you could be looking at anything from a two- or three-bedroom to a studio, she says.

And there are also plenty of short sales and foreclosures throughout in the metro area, she says.

For $200,000 buyers, "there are options and it depends on what they want to do," Guzman says. "If they're not tied to a location and want some bang for the buck, they really do have a lot of choices."

In the greater Chicago area, with patience and some careful shopping, "you will find caviar on a tuna budget," Guzman says. "But you're not the only one looking for those properties. You have competition."

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