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High-end housing market picking up throughout DeKalb County

Published: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

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GENOA – When it comes to selling an expensive home, it’s all about finding the right buyer.

Jocelyn Kerbel, a real estate agent with Signature Real Estate Professionals, has been selling real estate in the DeKalb County area for the past decade. Her company has sold everything from mobile homes to million-dollar properties. 

She’s the listing agent for a 6,300-square-foot home outside Genoa that is presently the fifth-most expensive home for sale in DeKalb County, according to the real estate website Trulia. For this property, she has to work with a small group of buyers who can like or dislike a home for anything other than price. The listing price is $749,900.

“When you get a price range like this, your buyer pool shrinks a lot, because it’s not your run-of-the-mill pricepoint,” Kerbel said. 

After the economic downturn in 2008, the number of wealthy people declined and as a result, the high-end housing market slowed down. But the number of wealthy households has quickly recovered, leading to an increased number of sales, said Laurie Moore-Moore, CEO of the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, in an email. 

“For many of these buyers, the purchases of a luxury property was a financial portfolio play as well as a lifestyle decision,” she said. 

Nationally, the demand for homes considered luxuries has risen. Moore-Moore said the luxury home market has been leading the housing market recovery, with more buyers than properties for sale. 

“Some local markets may be experiencing different conditions, but the market in total has moved into a sellers’ market,” she said. 

In 2010, homes priced more than $500,000 represented just 10 percent of homes being sold, she said. This year, those homes represent 12.9 percent. 

The home on Pleasant Hill Road in Genoa has been on the market for about two years. The property itself is 40 acres, with a 2½ acre pond and a 20-acre wooded area that allows for hunting, Kerbel said.

The home, built in 1991, has a wine cellar inside, and outside it has a beautiful garden area with a fountain, a piazza and a gazebo 20 feet tall, she said. Everything at the home was custom-built by the owner, who is a carpenter. 

While the amenities help determine what the home can cost in the market, Kerbel said the price of the home is also based on a bank appraisal. An independent appraiser looks through the house and compares it to other properties. 

Finding the right buyer can be tough because even though the home is nice, there can be a lot to take care of. 

“Some people like the beauty of it, and some don’t want to maintain a property of that size,” Kerbel said. 

Meanwhile, a $900,000 home in Sycamore has been on the market for about four months. Kari Kohler, a real estate agent with RE/MAX Excels, said the traditional Midwestern architecture is exquisitely crafted, as is the elaborate staircase and custom bar in the basement, she said. 

“Every inch of it is magnificent,” she said. “It’s in impeccable condition.” 

Kohler, who has worked in DeKalb and Kane County for more than 10 years, said the upper end of the housing market in Sycamore tends to be any home worth more than $700,000. The luxury housing market hasn’t recovered well in the area, and there are not as many buyers for luxury homes as there are for homes priced more than $300,000, she said.

Last year, Tamara O’Connor, broker and owner of Premier Living Properties in St. Charles, found it hard to sell any home priced more than $500,000. She is working to sell a $799,000 home in Sycamore on a large estate with towering trees and fruit orchards.

The market is improving along with consumer confidence, she said. 

“I feel confident we can get this sold in a reasonable time,” O’Connor said.

On the market

Ten most expensive single-family homes for sale in DeKalb County

1. Moccasin Drive and Preserve Road, Shabbona 

Price: $1,629,000 

Size: 3,500 square feet

2. 348 Merry Oaks Drive, Sycamore

Price: $900,000

Size: 6,518 square feet

3. 7135 Snake Road, Kingston

Price: $899,999

Size: 2,306 square feet

4. 16385 Whipple Road, Sycamore

Price: $799,000

Size: 4,200 square feet

5. 32785 Pleasant Hill Road, Genoa

Price: $749,900

Size:  6,300 square feet

6. 10731 Somonauk Road, Hinckley

Price: $725,000

Size: 5,000 square feet. 

7. 13978 W. County Line Road, Lee

Price: $699,000

Size: 1,600 square feet

8. 9200 Finnie Road, Sandwich

Price: $669,900

Size: 3,500 square feet

9. 530 Hopkins Lane, Sycamore

Price: $650,000

Size: 7,010 square feet

10. 27645 Hunters Lane, Sycamore

Price: $625,000

Size: 3,500 square feet

Note: this list does not include farms, lots or homes in foreclosure.

Source: Trulia

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