It took 18 years to sell this suburban Chicago house

Nov 17, 2023
5 months ago
This photo shows the house in a 2018 real estate listing. When the house sold this week, agents removed photos from the present-day listings.

A house in Barrington Hills, Illinois, about 40 miles northwest of Chicago, sold 18 years, four months and five days after it first went up for sale.

The property, a six-bedroom house on about 21 acres, sold for just over $2.38 million on Wednesday. The sellers, identified in Cook County public records as William and Colleen Noyes, first put it up for sale July 11, 2005, asking $6.6 million.

The property had not been on the market the entire time but jumped on and off the market over the years. It was actively listed for all but about 26 months of the 18 years, real estate records show.

The sellers could not be reached for comment. John Morrison, one of two @properties Christie’s International Real Estate agents who represented the sellers, said he could not comment before he got permission from the owners. Erin Vondra, the WDH Real Estate agent who represented the buyers, did not respond to a request for comment. The buyers are not yet identified in public records.

The original portion of the house, built in 1910 and seen in this article about the property’s history, was nice but relatively modest, built on a hilltop by Chicagoan John V. Walker as a country getaway.

Walker later sold it to Bill and Frances "Bunny" Horne. Bill Horne was a lifelong friend of Ernest Hemingway. Colleen and William Noyes bought the house from Horne in 1993 and, according to the article, “embarked on extensive renovations and improvements to the landmark, expanding the small farmhouse into a graceful 8,000-square-foot estate home with a Nantucket vibe.”

Cook County property records do not show what the couple paid for the house 30 years ago.

The current condition of the house couldn’t be ascertained, as the agents removed all photos from online sources. The photo at the top of this article is from September 2018, when Crain’s Chicago Business, a sibling publication of Crain Currency, used the house as a prime example of the weakness in the Barrington area’s real estate market.

In the five years since that article, the Barrington area market has improved, like nearly all suburbs during the housing boom. So far this year, homes are selling in an average of 56 days on the market, according to Midwest Real Estate Data. That’s about one-third the time it took in 2018 to get a house sold in the Barrington area, which includes Barrington, Barrington Hills and South Barrington.

There’s no recorded longest-time-to-sell for a Chicago area home, but the Barrington property is certainly one of the longest. Crain’s could not find any report of homes in the region that were on the market for nearly as long. It’s difficult to get a precise count of the time a property has been on the market because they often go on and off the market several times, as this one did.

In July, a 46-acre Barrington Hills estate that doubled as a turtle sanctuary sold after two years and five months on the market. It sold for $5.6 million.