Buyers’ Wish Lists When Purchasing Chicago Luxury Real Estate

For buyers looking to buy a home, there’s an old tactic of creating a list of features they’re looking for: those that are “must haves,” and those that are “nice-to-haves.” Obviously, these vary from buyer to buyer based on their family, their work, and simple personal preference. but there are several characteristics that nearly all of my luxury Chicago real estate buyers put at the top of their list.
While things like layout nuances and interior finishes and brand-name appliances fall on the “nice-to-have” list for some buyers, there are certainly detail-driven folks who put these on a must-have list as well. But overall, buyers must-haves are those that couldn’t be fixed later–making it crucial that they find just what they’re looking for. Here’s a closer look at the top “must-haves” I’m seeing in Chicago luxury real estate:
Newer construction: Chicago has a number of buildings and neighborhoods with homes that offer a timeless vintage appeal, but I continue to find that buyers are looking for new–either brand-new construction or homes that have been built within the last 5 years or so. There are a number of reasons why, but many new construction properties allow the buyers to customize finishes, details and final touches into a home that is truly made for them. From newer buildings like Trump Tower, 10 East Delaware and The Elysian to brand-new homes in the Ritz-Carlton Residences and Lincoln Park 2520, buyers are gravitating toward those properties that allow them to be the first owner on the books.
Location: They say it’s everything, and buyers know it. Neighborhoods like the Gold Coast, Lincoln Park, Lakeview and downtown Chicago are coveted by buyers for their central locations near dining, entertainment, transportation and culture. Downtown Chicago condos are especially attractive to buyers who work in the Loop, eliminating the need for a long commute and putting them into the heart of what the city has to offer. Buyers also love neighborhoods that are walkable–websites like can grade an address by its walkability to the places you love.
Lifestyle fit: There are a number of addresses in the city of Chicago that not only signal where you live, but your way of life. Luxury buyers–those shopping for Chicago condos specifically–want a home that fits into their daily lives and offers them conveniences like on-site amenities and concierge services. Things like valet parking, room service, a 24-hour doorman, wine storage, etc. are often on the “must-have” list for today’s luxury buyers.
Size: Whether shopping for a single-family home or a Chicago condo, buyers want big. For single-family homes, the name of the game is lot size. Homes on oversized lots are moving quickly on the market, as these types of properties allow for more square footage inside the home and coveted yard and garden space on the outside. With condos, buyers want square footage. In some buildings, that comes in the form of penthouse units that span the entire upper floors, or buildings like 50 East Chestnut where each residence is on its own floor.
Schools: I’m finding that many buyers are increasingly concerned with living in a neighborhood with great schools. Even those who don’t yet have a family or school-aged children are preparing for this in advance. Lincoln Park and Lakeview both boast some of the city’s best schools, making these neighborhoods highly desirable for families.
A deal: While it’s not a characteristic of the physical property, all buyers naturally want a great deal when purchasing Chicago real estate. And now is a fantastic time to do just that. In this market, we’ve seen sold prices come down tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars from original asking prices, so it is certainly the right environment for buyers to negotiate and take advantage of the real estate market right now. Many sellers still want to avoid having their properties sit on the market, and this puts buyers in a great place to work out a deal on a home purchase.
What’s on your must-have and nice-to-have list? To take a look at what’s on the market and how it aligns with your own list, contact me at or (312) 498-5080.