Teardowns.com Owner Defends Sale of 122-year-old Hinsdale House

Brian Hickey said that if a beautiful home goes up on the property, "you won’t hear anything about the old [house]."

The owner of the company that facilitated the recent sale of a 122-year-old Hinsdale home for redevelopment says the most important aspect about the transaction is not the age or style of the home, but the satisfaction of the buyer and the seller.

Teardowns.com was behind the recent sale of the 206 N. Washington St. property, which got public attention last week when several members of the Village of Hinsdale Board of Trustees voiced disappointment that the home on that land, built in 1890 by a Civil War veteran, was slated for demolition.

READ: Potential Teardown of 122-year-old Hinsdale House Gets Trustees' Attention

Brian Hickey, who founded Teardowns.com in 2001 to connect sellers of property with redevelopment potential with interested buyers, said the house had been on the traditional market for two-and-a-half years with two different agents and had received no offers. A hidden-in-the-back chef’s kitchen and a master bedroom without a bathroom or a closet are among the hard-to-sell interior features of the home, Hickey said.

After the seller decided to list the home on Teardowns.com, the property sold in four days to a Hinsdale buyer interested in redeveloping it.

“The buyer’s happy. The seller’s happy,” Hickey said. “Really those are usually the two most important components.”

The Washington property sold for $1.5 million, Hickey told The Doings last week, which was significantly less than the $2.4 million the seller paid for it in 2005. The Doings reported that before being posted to Teardowns.com, the home had been listed at a price as high as $2.2 million.

“For that kind of money, I think buyers would expect a closet and a bathroom,” Hickey said. “It caused buyers to look at that home and not be overly thrilled about what they’re not getting.”

As far as the community’s attitude toward redevelopment, Hickey said people care more about what goes up than what comes down.

“If 206 is not within the character of the community … there’ll be a huge backlash,” he said. “If it goes up and it’s beautiful, you won’t hear anything about the old [house].”

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Paul J February 19, 2013 at 12:43 PM
Just because something is old, doesn't make it worth preserving. They made crap 100 years ago, too.
Tracey Bouton February 19, 2013 at 03:29 PM
Hi Brian! This happened in Naperville a few years ago with a very similar house that was not in the historical district. The neighbor of that home bought it and demolished it to give him a big side yard. It was before the crash, so it was around a million that no one could come up with. So it went. I lived in Hinsdale and loved the charm. It sure was fun building homecoming floats in someones big detached garage. Here's a thought, one hundred years from now, all new people. So then no one will care. Good for you for filling a niche in the market. Tracey Bouton :)
Jason Lewis February 21, 2013 at 06:33 PM
"Hickey said people care more about what goes up than what comes down." This couldn't be further from the truth and is a totally clueless comment. Hinsdale is a historically significant town and there needs to be more done to preserve its history. More needs to be done to keep companies like "teardown.com" from coming in and running rampant, motivated purely by profit. People move here for its historical charm and living history. This can not become a place for McMansion house flippers.
KGS February 21, 2013 at 07:05 PM
Hinsdale- more money than sense..
brian hickey February 21, 2013 at 09:19 PM
I was trying to stay out of this, but if I'm going to take a bullet, at least I want to face the shooter.....:) Jason, As Mr. Bohnen pointed out, Hinsdale's Historic Preservation Commission meets at 5:00 on the second Tuesday of each month in Memorial Hall - IMO, that's the best place to vent and talk solutions for preservation. While you're at the meeting can you tell them to run Starbucks out of town - the coffee is just too strong and expensive :) Brian


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