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Articles for ‘Bizarre’


Tuesday, September 28th, 2010 by Sari Levy

Around a year ago, I wrote about a 30,000 plus square foot home fit for only a king, Villa Taj in Burr Ridge.  In February, with a potential client trying to buy the place for $6mm, I learned that the seller wasn’t entertaining any potential buyers who can’t back up their interest with a $10mm documented net worth.

As of August 13 2010, the auctioneer has listed the property on the MLS for $13mm.  My guess of the place selling for $12mm may not be so far off.  As suspected, the co-op commission is listed as 1%.  That means buying the place using a traditional agent, the buyers agent gets paid $130k.  We think that is a bit much and under our model we’d rebate at least 50% of that amount to our client who closes on the purchase of this home.

Villa Taj Update

Monday, February 8th, 2010 by Sari Levy

Last October, I wrote about an outrageous mansion, Villa Taj in Burr Ridge.  Since then I have obtained some interesting tidbits of updated information.

  • The auction reserve price was $12 million dollars – the auction failed
  • The current broker thinks the place could be sold for scrap for a mere $6mm
  • The seller isn’t entertaining any potential buyers who can’t back up their interest with a $10mm documented net worth

While the cooperating commission is  not published my guess is about 1.0-1.5% on a sales price  around $10mm, which of course, we’d split with you if we represented you in the transaction. When I first wrote about this home, I thought it would sell for north of $12mm.  My optimism has diminished.

Villa Taj Auction Cancelled At Last Minute

Thursday, November 5th, 2009 by Gary Lucido

I know that many of you must have had your hearts broken yesterday when you showed up with your $250,000 checks to bid on Villa Taj in Burr Ridge, the house that once was listed at $25 million. Apparently, the auctioneer pulled the property from the auction at the last minute after several of you indicated that you didn’t want to bid on it but were interested in buying it the old fashioned way. So, this modest and unpretentious home will be relisted soon – for about $12 MM. I would appreciate an invitation to the housewarming from whoever buys it.

Villa Taj, Burr Ridge, Illinois

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009 by Sari Levy

Looking for a bargain? 



Take a look at Villa Taj located on the luxurious corner of  County Line and Plainfield Roads in Chicago’s western suburb of Burr Ridge.  In Burr Ridge the average home price is just under $1 million and while it is known for being an upscale suburb, even Villa Taj is too much.  According to the MLS, in the last five years, there have only been two homes that sold over $5 million in Burr Ridge and this one was listed at $25 million!  In fact, there has been no homes sold over $18 million in all of Illinois in the last three years.

The approximately 45,000 square foot home (including the 15,000 sf terrace) was listed for sale for $25 million on May 28th and the listing was canceled on August  27th. At a list price of $25 million with the seller offering 2% of the first $12 million to the buyers’ agent, the commission to the buyers’ agent would be $240k.  If you were a buyer who happened to be smart enough to be working with Lucid Realty we’d give you a rebate for about $200k!!  Yep, we’d give you 5 times the amount we’d make.

A few weeks ago my dentist (who is a long time resident of Burr Ridge) shared with me how loathed the home was within the community.  The house that originally listed for $25 million is now on the auction block with a starting bid of just over $6.2 million.  The place looks more like a  monastery or banquet hall than a private residence.  Why else do you need 9 bathrooms?  Seriously, who in their right mind needs to live with 9 bathrooms? Okay MAYBE Octamom or the Brady Bunch.

The developer named the home Villa Taj because it is a crown jewel and Taj is synonomous with royalty as in the “Taj Mahal”.  Additional photos of the place are found on the Villa Taj website which happens to be rather amateur looking – and if you listen long enough, the music will either totally relax you or drive you nuts.  Luckily enough, the photos  fall victim to one of our favorite pasttimes of identifying  “bad real estate photos” and a prime example is photo number 64 from the website shown below.


For that matter it is almost as if the photo tour digressed into a sales pitch for chandeliers.

Of  the nine photos of this home on the MLS , only one was of the interior.  Check out the entryway,somewhat reminiscent of the entry to a grand courthouse:


Here is one of the exterior photos which shows the home comes with several beautiful and mature trees.


But my favorite is the photo that I like to call “Stairway to Heaven” ….


On a positive note, it looks like the auctioneers have put together a better site than the original.  I will certainly be curious to see what this place sells for, anyone have an idea?  Personally, I think it will be north of $12 million.  There has to be someone out there with bad taste and deep pockets. According to an article in the Sun Times, Villa Taj cost over $18 million to build. Oh, in case you want to see for yourself, there is an open house this weekend on Saturday and Sunday 10/24 and 10/25 from noon to 3 pm but you will need to buy a $30 information booklet before you can enter.

If Your Realtor Gives You A Pumpkin…

Monday, October 19th, 2009 by Gary Lucido

It’s that time of year again when realtors do their annual pumpkin dropoff. Well…not all realtors – just the ones that follow the traditional real estate marketing model of ingratiating yourself with your clients. It’s an old realtor ploy popularized in the realtors’ bible: How To List & Sell Real Estate In The 21st Century. On page page 53 the author tells the story about how she learned about the success of Tommy Hopkins in Simi Valley a few weeks after she started in real estate: “For Halloween, he rents a truck and loads it up with pumpkins. Then he puts on a ghost costume and drives around his neighborhood giving away pumpkins.” She includes this strategy again under her “Full Year Farming Almanac” on page 93 under October SUPER-promotion.

Uhhhh…I refuse to go around in a ghost costume – even at Halloween. I’d rather discount my commission and give rebates to buyers.

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