Four Real Estate Horror Stories... And What You Can Do To Avoid Them

A house doesn’t need to be haunted to be scary!

Sure, it helps crank up the creepiness dial if there are cobwebs dangling from the ceiling, black cats hissing and mewling around every corner, and maybe a mummy or two in the basement.

But for home buyers and sellers around Chicago, there are plenty of other factors that set their hair on end and provide endless fodder for nightmares – and most of them aren’t supernatural, but all-too-common parts of the real estate process.

In honor of the spookiest season of the year, let’s conjure up a few common real estate horror stories, and break down what you can do to avoid them.

The Buyer Who Wasn’t There!

It was a dark and stormy night when Lisa first reached out to a real estate agent to list her home. And then it was sunny. And then it was dark and stormy again. And so on, and so on, for weeks and weeks on end… Because, though many came to look upon it… NO ONE WOULD MAKE AN OFFER ON LISA’S PROPERTY!

Here at Real Group, we believe that it’s essential to sell your home at the right price from the beginning. Now, what’s the right price? The one that leaves you satisfied, while also appealing to as many motivated home seekers as possible. With that said, we are typically able to sell our clients' homes at within a few percentage points of list price, and generally above the MLS average.

Understanding how to price homes the right way comes down to a number of factors, and a fair bit of hard work on the part of your real estate team, including a careful analysis of timing, season, neighborhood, and current market conditions.

It’s also important to remember that there are no shortcuts when it comes to successfully selling a home; you’ll want an agent by your side who thinks like a marketer, and who isn’t afraid to use every tool at their disposal – including staging, photography, and social media – to help connect your home with the right buyer.

The Bid That Got Lost In the Crowd!

Alex and Mac found the home of their dreams. It was in the right neighborhood, it was the right size, it had top-of-the-line finishes… It was perfect. So perfect, in fact, that it was the envy of the whole city. And so, as the pair finished up their offer – boom! Another family made an offer on the property! Smack! Another! Before they knew it, Alex and Mac were competing with a mob of other buyers for the house… AND ALL HOPE SEEMED LOST.

In a marketplace like Chicago’s, multiple offer situations – sometimes ruefully referred to as home bidding wars – are going to spring up. So what can you do if the property that you’re eyeing is in demand?

In addition to the essential steps (being pre-approved for a mortgage; working with a real estate agent who can act as your negotiator and representative), there are several things you can do to make your offer stand out. You may wish to personalize your offer with a note or cover letter; you may also be able to offer some financial incentive that can help your offer along, including an escalation clause or a substantial earnest money deposit.

The Incredible, Vanishing Room!

Toni and Tony looked high and low for the right Chicago condo within their budget. But the more they looked, the more it seemed that they would never find anything that suited their needs. Until… They found a place within their budget, close to Toni’s work and conveniently located near public transportation. It was perfect! It was heaven! Could it really be? Excited to take a look, Toni and Tony set up a viewing with a broker – only to find that the rooms were smaller than they would have liked! IS DEALBREAKER REALLY SPELLED “C-O-Z-Y?!”

While the amount of living space available can and should be a factor in your home search, it’s important to realize that cozy spaces don’t have to be a dealbreaker in this day and age.

For the right buyer, a snug space isn’t necessarily a drawback, but an opportunity to flex their design savvy and maximize the room’s potential. From innovative furniture to painting hacks, from hidden storage solutions to clutter-minimizing habits, there are all sorts of ways that you can make a cozy room or two feel bigger, brighter, and better overall.

The Ghoul In the Attic!

It was a spacious Queen Anne located near parks and one of Chicago’s best elementary schools; it came complete with green, smart home automation already in place and featured a detached garage. There was only one problem… THE LAST HOMEOWNER REPORTEDLY SAW GHOSTS!

While we’ve mostly been keeping our tongues pretty firmly in our cheeks here, the reality is that some people do believe that their homes are haunted by spooky ghosts or creepy monsters – and there is actually a precedent on the books about how to proceed when it comes time to sell!

If you’re a seller who believes that your home has a spectral resident or two, it’s not all doom and gloom; in fact, you should still be able to sell that home, no problem. According to research from, more than a quarter of buyers would consider buying a listing that was haunted; 12% of those would even be willing to pay full market price, and 34% would act if the price were lowered by as little as one.

And we mean, for footsteps in the attic and rattling chains at all hours of the night... one percent seems pretty reasonable, doesn’t it?

Who You Gonna Call?

Whether your real estate concerns are practical or paranormal, the Real Group team is here and ready to help! Drop us a line, day or night, when you’re ready to get started with buying or selling in Chicagoland! Happy Halloween!

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2526 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60614

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