Chicago Housing Styles

 

Chicago style bungalowReal estate agents and appraisers alike often struggle to define the architectural style for unusual or unique properties. Have you ever gotten a new listing, took one look and started scratching your head and asking yourself how you are going to describe this to prospective clients?

Even more basic properties can present a conundrum when they nod to more than one typical style. The web offers some great resources to both educate yourself on architectural styles and help make a decision once you start completing the listing form on the MLS. The National Association of Realtor’s website offers a good starting point (http://realtormag.realtor.org/home-and-design/guide-residential-styles).    This article covers common styles across the country but since many architectural designs end up including a number of different styles, it’s good to know your Craftsman from your Colonial. Sometimes it’s just a little bit of detail that turns a standard Cape Cod into a Tudor.

Chicago housing styles via Big Shoulders Realty

Chicago housing styles via Big Shoulders Realty

Fortunately, Chicago definitely has some set, easily identifiable housing types.  Big Shoulders Realty, a boutique brokerage firm in Chicago, has an excellent page on their website that provides brief histories and descriptions of housing styles common to Chicago that can be helpful when describing a property on MLS (click on the image above to go to the page).  Then click on the housing style and you are taken to a page that also shows you actual houses in Chicago that are of that style.  It really is the best resource online I have found for the Chicago market (it should be called “Chicago Housing Styles for Dummies”).

But what do you do when you have a more recently constructed property? How do you avoid using the catch-alls “Traditional” and “Contemporary”?  Really, I’m asking.  Feel free to comment below!  General consensus has it that “contemporary” means “of this time” or moment. Something funky, modern-looking or new could fall under that category. For a property where “traditional” seems like the only option, maybe pull out the most prominent feature, like a turret or full front porch or examine the roof line for any elements that point in one stylistic direction or the other.

Rowe Appraisal Group specializes in “non-lender” appraisals and we complete pre-listings appraisals for real estate agents and homeowners all the time.  Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you ever have any questions.  You can reach us at (847) 863-5776 or email us at roweappraisalgroup@gmail.com.

Social tagging: > > > > >
  • Great article Paul. In my area (Portland, OR), the styles are a little different, but the “catch-alls” of Traditional and Contemporary are the same. However, in my area another catch-all that I cannot stand is “Old PDX” and I see agents listing homes as this if it is anything built prior to 1960 and located in Portland. Maybe Chicago needs an “Old ORD” or “Old MDW”?

  • Ryan Lundquist

    Nice image, Paul. If you line up 10 local pros, they won’t all agree on what to call it. That’s why I always use “contemporary”. I’m kidding. Actually, “contemporary” connotes modern, so I’m not a fan of using it generally, though I understand how it is used that way. I sometimes use neo-eclectic too.

  • APPRAISALSOURCE

    Great post Paul. With the UAD requirements asking for more specific housing styles more appraisers are using some of these descriptions better than others. I still see some using the very descriptive 1.5 and 2 story style. 😉 Old habits die hard.

  • I agree completely! I still love when I see an MLS listing shows the style as “Old”.

  • Interesting take on “Contemporary”. It definitely sparked a discussion between my assistant and I. We ended up looking up the definitions of contemporary, modern, etc. Thanks for stimulating our brains and thoughts even more on this! I think at this point, as long as someone is putting forth more effort than “2-story”, I have to give them credit.

  • Interesting Gary. Thankfully, Old ORD isn’t a trend around here. However, just like Ryan mentioned, we have real estate professionals using several different names for the same style.

Shares