Chicago Homeowners Cash in on Being Obama's Neighbor

House Next-Door to President Obama's Chicago Residence Sells for $1.4 million A new real estate principle called "the Obama Factor" has been coined this week. After seven months on the market, the 14-bedroom home next to President Barack Obama's residence in Chicago's Kenwood neighborhood sold for $1.4 million.

"The Obama Factor," according to listing agent Matt Garrison, is the heightened interest the property garnered both across the nation and internationally, and the droves of people who visited the listing's Web site. The sellers, the Grimshaws, who paid $53,000 for the house in 1973, initially put the house on the market in late September without a price tag to see what kind of offers would roll in.

"We wanted to see if a non-traditional buyer would pay a big number," Garrison said, adding that what made this home different is that it needed a lot of work. "But it takes a special buyer to pay $1.4 million and then to put another million into a renovation."

Despite reining in interest nationwide and abroad, there was no bidding war. And the buyer -- a native Chicago family -- wants to remain anonymous. Before they move in and become the president's new neighbors, the unnamed buyers are planning an extensive $1-million renovation for the 6,000-square-foot home.

When the century-old brick estate and adjacent coach house were unable to reel in any record-breaking offers, the real estate agency, The Garrison Group, determined an asking price of $1.85 million. But Garrison admits that this was on the higher-end of the property's estimated market value and the former owners, the Grimshaws, were "very pleased" about the sale price.

In the past year 10 homes within a half-mile of the president's Chicago home and in the million-dollar range have sold, according to the MLS database, but almost all of them have been renovated. Since 2004, as far back as the database goes, 32 homes in that proximity of the Obamas have sold in the million-dollar-and-up range. The highest sale price $2.6 million, but that home was fully renovated.

President Obama's house in Kenwood, a subsection of Hyde Park, is on Greenwood Avenue, a street with large lots and pricey mansions. But overall, Hyde Park is an affordable place to live on the South Side of Chicago with a median home sales price of $212,000, according to

Even though President Obama and his family have not been back to Chicago as much as some may have anticipated when he took office, there are additional drawbacks to being a neighbor of the sitting U.S. president. The street is barricaded and guarded by the Secret Service, who identify everyone who enters and leaves the block, according to media reports.

When the 44th president is in town, the security measures are even more strict. But some neighbors have chimed in saying the upside is a safer, more secure neighborhood.

But the mystery buyers are not quite convinced that the Obama family is the ideal next-door neighbor.

"The person who bought it probably would have preferred it was not right next door [to the Obamas]," said Garrison.

See homes for sale in Kenwood, Chicago at AOL Real Estate.


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