George Madison Millard Open House Sunday, June 23 1-3pm

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cottonwood
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Post by cottonwood »

[quote="pharding"]That FLW House is an unbelievable bargain at that price in that community.[/quote]
And now an even bigger "bargain" with the latest price chop to 799K. The asking price history thus far: $1.399M>$950K>$849K>$799K. At least the agent has slightly backed off emphasizing the land value and possibility of development.

pharding
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Post by pharding »

I have been following Frank Lloyd Wright properties on the market for the last 11 years. This is undoubtedly the best buying opportunity of a historic property in the last 11 years by a wide margin. The house is in superb condition and is in a great community with great schools just 2 blocks off of a secluded public beach on Lake Michigan. It has a wonderful, spacious floor plan on a beautiful lot. If you compare this property to the nearby Frank Lloyd Wright Mary Adams House that was recently rehabilitated this is much better value, has better Prairie Period historic design and building components, better lot, better location, in addition to its important historic significance as one of the finest Prairie Houses of the period. The kitchen is tired and it needs a garage. However at this price those elements could be added in a cost effective manner and the house with those amenities would still represent a great value. The house sat on the market because it was overpriced initially in a down market and the listing broker was hopelessly inept at selling a historic property. At $799,000 this Frank Lloyd Wright house in a great location is a wonderful buying opportunity.
Paul Harding FAIA Restoration Architect for FLW's 1901 E. Arthur Davenport House, 1941 Lloyd Lewis House, 1952 Glore House | www.harding.com | LinkedIn

cottonwood
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Post by cottonwood »

[quote="pharding"]The house sat on the market because it was overpriced initially in a down market and the listing broker was hopelessly inept at selling a historic property. At $799,000 this Frank Lloyd Wright house in a great location is a wonderful buying opportunity.[/quote]

I have no relationship to the listing agent, but it must be pointed out that an agent doesn't "sell" a property, they market it. The house will sell at a price that the market dictates. Also, the asking price is set by the seller, not the agent. We do not know the personal details that influenced the sellers' pricing strategy so it is pointless to assign blame for the home's prolonged market time.

pharding
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Post by pharding »

If the sale of the property is dictated by the market what do you need a real estate broker for? Real estate brokers promote themselves as professionals to justify their high fees. Some real estate brokers are clearly more effective than others.

I have a close personal friend that looked at the property that was a prime candidate to buy the house. The broker told him information that was factually wrong and basically talked him out of making an offer. It was truly bizarre. She also mishandled an offer with an overzealous home inspector. The right broker acting in a skillful, professional manner can make all the difference in the world.
Paul Harding FAIA Restoration Architect for FLW's 1901 E. Arthur Davenport House, 1941 Lloyd Lewis House, 1952 Glore House | www.harding.com | LinkedIn

cottonwood
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Post by cottonwood »

I am not advocating for the use of an agent. I have bought and sold properties without their assistance. I agree that not all agents are a credit to their profession, but a great one is worth their fee especially if they have the market savviness to attract qualified buyers. Most homeowners are not willing to take on the challenge of selling their home due to time constraints and security risks.

As for your friends and their experience with the agent, if they were represented by a buyer agent then their agent should have contacted the seller's agent (or have their managing broker elevate it to a broker level) and expressed their concerns. By IL law, an agent must present all offers to their clients. It is not optional. Also, it's up to the buyer to decide what level of risk they are willing to accept based on the inspection findings. Agents get in trouble when they recommend using an inspector who "make sure the deal goes through." Lastly, since the agent has had this listing for over two years, the sellers must believe in this agent's ability to close the deal as they've had ample time to change marketing agents in light of the home's prolonged market time. Ultimately, the sellers need to decide if they want their home to be "for sale" or "sold".

Patryko
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Post by Patryko »

QUOTE FROM PAUL HARDING: "If you compare this property to the nearby Frank Lloyd Wright Mary Adams House that was recently rehabilitated this is much better value, has better Prairie Period historic design and building components, better lot, better location, in addition to its important historic significance as one of the finest Prairie Houses of the period."

Being the owners of the Mary M.W. Adams House we find your comments offensive. Not only did we put a huge amount of time and effort into the rehabilitation, we have also worked hard to be great stewards. Publicly stating our house is inferior to the Millard House is untrue, extremely subjective and a matter of preference for one type of Wright prairie home, lot and location over another. We also feel this kind of comparison is especially disrespectful coming from an architect and another FLW home owner.

We believe much of your posting is well-intended because the Millard House IS a good value. However, there was no need to tear our House down to build the Millard House up.

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

Paul is correct about a good real estate agent who knows what he's dealing with being able to sell property. If Crosby Doe, Los Angeles' premiere agent for fine architecture, had the Millard listing, it would have sold long ago.

Patryko, you needn't take umbrage with Paul's remarks. Everything about the arts is subjective. What you have done with Mary Adams is spectacular and a great gift to the FLW legacy.

pharding
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Post by pharding »

Discussing the great value of the Millard House and its significance here has helped get the word out. I received a phone call today from an interested party that wanted to discuss the Millard House. They were curious as to why I thought it was a great value. I shared my insights and I offered to meet him and his wife at the house along with the listing agent and answer any technical questions as they walked through the house.
Paul Harding FAIA Restoration Architect for FLW's 1901 E. Arthur Davenport House, 1941 Lloyd Lewis House, 1952 Glore House | www.harding.com | LinkedIn

SDR
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Post by SDR »

It really isn't necessary to utterly dismiss one property when comparing it to another -- is it ?

I am both amused and disappointed when such comparisons are made -- as when some Wrightians find it necessary to drag certain French and German modernists through the mud, supposedly in support of their preference.

But, as the man said, to each his own . . .

SDR

pharding
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Post by pharding »

What clearly seems to be blowing over many posters heads in this thread is that the house is sliding toward becoming a tear down. It is priced at the value of the land at this time. The esteemed posters here seem to be oblivious to the situation.

Here's a classic post in this thread that certainly does nothing for the fate of the house:

"Its a great house - but has some shortcomings that make it undesirable to the typical home buyer:
The second floor master bedroom is not attached to a bathroom - needs to share the eastern bathroom with the adjacent bedroom. Small master closet. The bedroom to the immediate west of the master has no closet. The kitchen was redone about 20 years ago, and white laminate cabinets look a little out of place. I'm sure many interested parties find it difficult to get beyond these issues. I didn't know about the taxes, and that's not helping either.

These are all problems that could, and should, be fixed in order to make the house desirable - but it involves constructing some additions (always controversial) and rehabbing - and those who are willing to take on a project like this are few and far between."

To suggest that isn't suitable for use as a house unless gets some sort of full rehab and multiple additions is both wrong and not helpful. The bedroom without the closet alluded to above is in fact not a bedroom. It is the original sewing room. The house doesn't need all of that proposed work and to advocate that here when it is on the market is silly.

Some posters can parse apart the details while missing the whole point of what I was saying. The Millard House is important historically and architecturally. It is a great value. The house is a great Prairie House for an important FLW client that commissioned him for two great, historically significant houses. The house has the original art class windows which are in excellent condition and extremely valuable. The house was published in the Wasmuth Portfolio. It is a 3,000 square foot large Prairie House in a super desirable location. It is in fact a great Prairie House and a great, rare bargain in a very wealthy community.

Instead of folks here being concerned about the house and the owners who have been great stewards of the house, the discussion drifts off and ignores the whole issue. Being able to sell Frank Lloyd houses is a big deal especially to the Owners. Part of the problem that is there is little recognition that these are intrinsically great houses to live in and that they don't need expensive rehabilitation in most cases. In many cases the best strategies for these wonderful houses is take a less invasive approach that is more geared to repurposing of rooms and accepting the houses for what they are. From a preservation point of view this is extremely logical and pragmatic.
Paul Harding FAIA Restoration Architect for FLW's 1901 E. Arthur Davenport House, 1941 Lloyd Lewis House, 1952 Glore House | www.harding.com | LinkedIn

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Aren't you about ready for a new project, Paul ?

Maybe the longer commute is a deal-breaker . . .

SDR

pharding
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Post by pharding »

You read my mind.

I have thought long and hard about it buying it as an investment. My problem is that my architectural firm will likely be doing a large, high profile project in the Middle East and I need the cash to do that work. My enthusiasm for the house at that price is real. I know what a great deal it is and how simple and low risk the small projects are that it needs. It just an ultra-cool Frank Lloyd Wright gem in the rough of a work of art. Unfortunately I let my enthusiasm bubble out and I inadvertently annoyed a fellow Frank Lloyd Wright Homeowner. For that I apologize. I have been posting here for 10 years and that was the first time that I annoyed someone so I have to keep things in perspective.

Would anyone here like to participate in crowd funding the purchase of the house?
Paul Harding FAIA Restoration Architect for FLW's 1901 E. Arthur Davenport House, 1941 Lloyd Lewis House, 1952 Glore House | www.harding.com | LinkedIn

DavidC
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Post by DavidC »


outside in
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Post by outside in »

I thought it would be nice to have a civil response to all of this.
There are multiple concerns which help explain the long listing time, I merely pointed them out. The significance of the house is well-documented, and no one questions why the Millard House is important to Wright and the history of architecture. However, if we assume that these buildings are to remain homes, it is important that they be made comfortable for those willing to live in a great work of architecture. Many have toured the house, but few offers have come forward, so one must ask why. Addressing these problems will only make the house more desirable and ensure its ongoing maintenance and preservation. If the problems are NOT addressed, someone will inevitably have to deal with a tenuous resale once again. I have seen this time and again, wherein a great architectural work is compromised by lack of interest, difficult maintenance issues such as energy consumption, high taxes, excessive maintenance costs, etc. One would hope that a potential owner would address these problems, albeit in a sensitive manner, to ensure that the building will remain for future generations. Its not silly.

pharding
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Post by pharding »

The house has been on the market a long time for the following reasons in my opinion.

1. The original price was way, way overly optimistic in relation to the market. The price has now been dropped by approximately 40%, down to the value of the land. I have seen the exact same thing happen in Wright properties in Oak Park and River Forest. Wright houses that are priced realistically to the market, sell either before it hits the market in a private non-broker transaction or within a reasonable time frame. Those that are over-priced sit and languish, before selling for less than they should have. It has nothing to do with closets, whether it has a garage or not or whether it ha a master bedroom suite, large walk in closets, etc. What does matter is logical, realistic pricing and the overall condition of the property. Millard's condition is fine.

2. The broker matters a great deal. A good friend of mine was seriously interested in the Millard House and Frank Lloyd Wright. The broker effectively talked him out of it.

3. One Millard sale was killed by a naive, over-zealous home inspector. His comments were way, way over the top and were set to an impossibly high standard. He had absurd comments about the art glass windows and he misread a crack in the applied finish over the foundation wall as a serious structural issue for example. If he would have looked inside the basement at the foundation wall he would have seen that the foundation was quite sound and robust. The report was extraordinarily long and inappropriate with much misinformation. The listing broker and the buyer broker were ill equipped to deal with it in a logical rational manner.

4. The same broker has had the Millard House from the outset. If a broker doesn't sell a property in 6 months, regardless of how nice the broker is, one should re-list with different broker in my opinion. Our next door neighbor has an historic property on the market. After 6 months with the same broker the house just languished there with no new showings. The Owner changed brokers. The difference was night day. I could not believe the dramatic increase in showings. Plus the new broker has a high energy level and different network of potential buyers.

5. Once a house has been on the market for an extended period of time the listing becomes quite stale. The buyers become quite suspicious and see problems where there are none. In my opinion it is a good idea in that event to pull the house off the market for a period of time.

6. Wright Chat is very bad for properties on the market. I spoke with one potential buyer earlier this week and he basically played back silly comments from this thread. In my opinion posters when sharing their thoughts about a Wright Property on the market should exercise common sense and share their thoughts privately. If that doesn't work, discussions about Wright properties on the market should not be permitted.

In my opinion the FLWBC should do a study of Wright properties that are sold and develop a database and strategies to be shared privately with Wright homeowners. Sure the FLWBC should pat themselves on the back about their infrequent high profile successes. FLWBC needs to recognize that most Wright houses will never become house museums and that their future lies in continuing to be great places to live in. As such they should do more to assist private homeowners with strategies that are appropriate to aid in the listing and sale of Wright properties.

Cheers.
Paul Harding FAIA Restoration Architect for FLW's 1901 E. Arthur Davenport House, 1941 Lloyd Lewis House, 1952 Glore House | www.harding.com | LinkedIn

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