Rick Sobin and Rick Druker know how to find the best brokers for the most sought-after properties.
Chicago homes are selling fast. In fact, research released by the online brokerage Redfin at the end of September shows that in Chicago, 35.2 percent of offers written by their agents faced bidding wars. Baird & Warner’s Rick Druker (737 N. Michigan Ave., 312-981-2300) and Prudential Rubloff’s Rick Sobin (980 N. Michigan Ave., 312-368-5305)—both managing brokers of large Gold Coast flagship offices that specialize in luxury properties—give us the details on how to get the property you want and avoid a potential bidding war.
How long do luxury listings really last? RICK DRUKER: If they’re good, homes at the lower end of luxury—from $1 million to $1.75 million—are gone in a day or so. But at every level of luxury, the ones that are the most highly desirable sell before they even hit the market. RICK SOBIN: That’s right. By the time those special places come on the market, several agents have several buyers lined up, which is how the bidding wars start. So often the deal only hits the MLS once it’s completed to process the transaction.
What qualifies as “highly desirable?”
RD: Buyers at this level want everything turnkey. They’ll tweak but don’t want to renovate. That means state-of-the-art mechanicals, gourmet kitchens, beautiful bathrooms, and really well-done outside spaces are critical. And newer is an easier sell than vintage, unless the latter is totally renovated and pristine. But there’s so little that’s really new on the market that buildings such as the Palmolive, 270 East Pearson Street, 840 North Lake Shore Drive, 11 East Walton Street, and Olympia Centre are highly desirable again. And Water Tower Place is the hottest of all. RS: For new single-family homes, families are moving farther west and buying projects based on the lot and from plans, long before the developers break ground on them. Anything along the Blue Line—all the way to Logan Square or even the Belmont stop—is really hot right now because the housing along the Red Line is too dense. Families want land.
How do you know about these properties and deal with a potential bidding war?
RS: It’s important for luxury buyers to align themselves with luxury brokers because they’re in a tight circle of brokers that really knows what’s going on and talk to each other about their properties and what their clients are looking for. So unless you’re in that circle, you’re going to have a hard time finding things. RD: It’s not like brokers are trying to keep these properties off the market, which is what happens with pocket listings so sellers can pick and choose who sees the property. There are buyers waiting for certain things. So your broker has to be connected to the action or you won’t be privy to the best properties.
How do you find these brokers?
RD: Obviously, we’re both going to say all the brokers we manage are connected. But to be fair, look at a broker’s personal page and see what they have listed for sale, or as their recent transactions. There’s lots of data online about recent sales and brokers at chicagoagentmagazine.com. But relationship trumps all. Interview a few. Some young new brokers who are just building their business are under the radar and deserve a chance.