The villages of Oak Park, River Forest and Forest Park are about as neighborly as they come. They share Harlem Avenue and Madison Street, grocery stores and restaurants, and their housing stock is made up of vintage homes, new construction and multifamily buildings.
A glimpse into some recent real estate listings around the $700,000 price point shows what your money can get you in each town if you’re looking for a newly renovated space.
In Forest Park, Baird and Warner broker Monica Klinke is listing 447 Hannah Ave. for $699,900. She says of the four-bedroom, 4.5-bathroom house, “It’s a little bit different from what you usually see in Forest Park. Everyone who walks in says, ‘Oh wow. I didn’t expect this.’ This house was built to entertain.”
The house was built around 1908 and rehabbed top to bottom in 2016. The renovation brought the house into the twenty first century.
“The most interesting thing about this house is that it’s so contemporary,” Klinke said. “It has a little more of that urban, city feeling. It also has so many luxurious features.”
In the living room, a coffered ceiling and sleek fireplace with a surround of white brick and salvaged wood set the room apart. The new kitchen has a large center island, a pot filler over the range, two sinks and a wine chiller. The refrigerator even has a built-in Keurig coffee maker — a feature that Klinke says she’s never seen before.
The first floor also includes a bedroom with an en suite bathroom, which makes for great guest space or aging-in-place opportunities. Upstairs, there are three more bedrooms, each with their own bathroom.
Klinke calls the primary suite spectacular, calling it “like something that Kim Kardashian would have.”
She says of the primary suite’s bathroom, “It’s a level of luxury that you don’t see with million-dollar homes in this area.”
On top of all-new electrical, plumbing and HVAC, the house also features great outdoor space with a wraparound porch, an outdoor kitchen and room for multiple seating areas.
“This house has all the good stuff that is hard to find in this area,” Klinke said. “They really put careful thought into what people want today.”
In Oak Park, a rehabbed home at 934 Gunderson Ave. is on the market for $709,900. Built in 1912, the home was recently gutted and rehabbed. It comes with a new 2.5-car garage.
The four-bedroom, 3.5-bathroom house sits on a double lot across the street from Rehm Pool and offers a welcoming front porch. On the first floor, the living room includes a gas fireplace.
The open chef’s kitchen comes with a Bertazzoni range, custom cabinets, a wine fridge, blue subway tile and quartz countertops with a quartz waterfall-sided island.
Upstairs, the primary suite includes a luxurious bathroom with an oversized shower and soaking tub. Two more bedrooms share a new bathroom. The finished basement includes a den, fourth bedroom and another full bathroom. There are laundry facilities on the second floor and in the basement. Outside, the home has a new patio with built-in fire pit.
In River Forest, a three-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom condominium at the 1970s era Valencia, 1005 Bonnie Brae Place, is for sale for $685,000. Unit 4E in the building has been recently renovated and comes with two heated parking spaces.
The living room features an electric fireplace as the focal point. There is new flooring throughout the unit, including a cork acoustical underlay to provide a sense of quiet throughout the home. There is pre-finished engineered flooring in the living spaces and new carpet in the bedrooms.
“My developer has created an open living area, not experienced anywhere else in this complex, with high end tastefully modern finishes. We are competing with the new builds, priced closer to $1,000,000, but we are substantially more affordable and ready to deliver now where others haven’t broken ground yet,” says Tom Carraher, the listing agent from the Gagliardo Group/Compass.
“This project is perfect for someone downsizing who still desires to stay in the River Forest area.”
The kitchen includes quartz countertops and white “no-slam” cabinets. The appliances are stainless steel and there is room for a breakfast area. The primary bedroom includes a newly renovated bathroom with a large shower with built-in bench seating. Two other bedrooms share a new bathroom, and there is a powder room for guests.
Throughout the unit, the closets are spacious and there is in-unit laundry as well.
Outdated stereotypes about the three villages may hold that River Forest has the more luxurious houses, Forest Park is more modest and Oak Park falls somewhere in between. Those stereotypes are starting to change, says Klinke, pointing to the luxurious finishes on her Forest Park listing.
The three listings range from roughly 2,200 to 2,800 square feet, are listed within $25,000 of each other, and each has been carefully renovated to appeal to today’s buyer.