The villages of Oak Park, River Forest and Forest Park are about as close together as you can get. They share Harlem Avenue and Madison Street, grocery stores, and restaurants, and their housing stock is made up of older homes, new construction, and multi-family buildings.
A look at some recent real estate listings around the $700,000 price point shows what your money can get you in each city if you’re looking for a newly remodeled space.
In Forest Park, Monica Klinke, broker for Baird and Warner, lists 447 Hannah Ave. for $699,900. She says of the four-bedroom, 4.5-bathroom home: “It’s a little different from what you usually see in Forest Park. Everyone who walks in says, ‘Oh wow. I did not expect that. This home was built to entertain.
“The most interesting thing about this house is that it’s so contemporary,” Klinke said. “It has a bit more of that urban, city feeling. It also has so many luxurious features.
In the living room, a coffered ceiling and a sleek fireplace surrounded by white brick and reclaimed wood set the room apart. The new kitchen has a large center island, stovetop pot filler, two sinks and a wine cooler. The fridge even has a built-in Keurig coffee maker — a feature Klinke says she’s never seen before.
The first floor also includes a bedroom with an en-suite bathroom, making it a great space for guests or aging-in-place opportunities. Upstairs there are three further bedrooms, each with its own bathroom.
Klinke calls the master suite spectacular, calling it “like something Kim Kardashian would have.”
She says of the master suite bathroom, “It’s a level of luxury you don’t see with million dollar homes in this area.”
In addition to all new electrical, plumbing, and HVAC, the home also features ample outdoor space with a wrap-around porch, outdoor kitchen, and room for multiple seating areas.
“This house has all the good stuff that’s hard to find in this area,” Klinke said. “They really thought about what people want today.”
In Oak Park, a renovated home at 934 Gunderson Ave. is on the market for $709,900. Built in 1912, the house was recently emptied and rehabilitated. It comes with a new 2.5 car garage.
The four-bedroom, 3.5-bathroom home sits on a double lot across from the Rehm Pool and offers an inviting porch. On the first floor, the living room includes a gas fireplace.
The open chef’s kitchen features a Bertazzoni range, custom cabinetry, wine fridge, blue subway tiles and quartz countertops with a quartz island alongside a waterfall feature.
Upstairs, the master suite includes a luxurious bathroom with an oversized shower and soaking tub. Two other bedrooms share a new bathroom. The finished basement includes a boudoir, a fourth bedroom and another full bathroom. There are laundry facilities on the second floor and in the basement. Outside, the house has a new patio with a built-in fireplace.
In River Forest, a 1970s three-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom Valencia condominium, 1005 Bonnie Brae Place, is for sale for $685,000. Unit 4E of the building was recently renovated and comes with two heated parking lots.
The living room has an electric fireplace as a focal point. There is new flooring throughout the unit including an acoustic cork underlay to provide a sense of calm throughout the home. There is pre-finished engineered flooring in the living areas and new carpet in the bedrooms.
The kitchen features quartz countertops and “no-slam” white cabinets. Appliances are stainless steel and there is room for a breakfast nook. The master bedroom includes a newly renovated bathroom with a large shower with built-in bench seat. Two other bedrooms share a new bathroom, and there is a guest shower room.
Throughout the unit, the closets are spacious and there is also a laundry room in the unit.
Outdated stereotypes about the three villages may claim that River Forest has the most luxurious homes, Forest Park is more modest, and Oak Park falls somewhere in between. Those stereotypes are starting to change, Klinke says, pointing to the luxurious finishes on his Forest Park listing.
All three listings range from approximately 2,200 to 2,800 square feet, are listed within $25,000 of each other, and each has been thoughtfully renovated to appeal to today’s buyer.