Why Wouldn't Anyone Buy this $10 House?

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Courtesy of Shodeen Inc.The president of the company that owns this property said he received scant interest before taking it off the market.
Even a $10 price tag couldn't entice anyone to buy the 101-year-old house in suburban Chicago that was offered for a sawbuck to anyone willing to move it from its lot in Geneva, Illinois, before a builder replaces it with a townhouse development.

"We got two calls," said David Patzelt, president of Shodeen Inc., who took the house off the market in mid-January after an abundance of no interest.

The American Foursquare house, a type of clean-line architecture popular in the mid-1890s to the late 1930s, is located on the fringe of Geneva's historic district. It was built around 1904, lived in by one family for about 60 years, then bought by Shodeen about 10 years ago with an eye toward someday developing the property.

The Geneva Historic Preservation Commission last August ruled that the house was unsuitable for historic preservation. Pictures presented to the commission show damaged and moldy ceilings, a roof and bathrooms in need of replacement, and a cracked foundation. In order to bring the house up to code, the house would need new plumbing, electrical wiring, siding, heating and air conditioning.

The commission gave Shodeen permission to raze the house on the condition that it try to sell the house to be moved to another location. Patzelt pasted a $10 price tag on the house, which seemed like a bargain. But a buyer would have to buy another lot, move the house, and rehab it to meet code, which Patzelt figures would cost another $450,000.

The historical commission wanted Patzelt to keep the house on the market until he was ready to demolish it in the spring. But when you subtract the time required to obtain permits and moving plans, the clock really ran out in mid-January.

"It's too late," Patzelt said.
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