Local Property Gurus Bestow Invaluable Advice to Elmhurst Homebuyers


by Dave Noble, City News Editor

ELMHURST – Calling themselves humanitarians who only want what is best for Elmhurst, self-appointed representatives of citizens who are “worried sick” about the number of teardowns occurring throughout town told reporters on Monday that they are generously donating their time and astute wisdom to homebuyers who intend to knock down an existing house and build a new one in its place.

Blessed with the ability to tell others what to do with their purchased property and intent on preserving “historic” homes despite their need for updated wiring, plumbing, roofing, drainage and insulation, these do-gooders are stepping forward to advise property owners on the virtues of restoring the existing home.   

“Our history is being erased with all these teardowns,” said emissary and lifelong Elmhurst resident Dick Potter, who follows every local real estate transaction and contacts the buyers of older homes to find out what they intend to do with the property. “Everyone thinks they need multiple bathrooms and central air conditioning. Wouldn’t they rather forfeit some of those luxuries in favor of pleasing strangers who like to see the older homes?”

For resident and chief busybody Meredith Polly, intervening is a natural reaction when homebuyers pass up the opportunity to pour more money into an older house than what it is actually worth.   

“I know firsthand what it’s like to invest a lot of money into an existing home,” said Polly, who last year spent $400,000 to have a moat built around her south Elmhurst home and then reclaimed an old drawbridge from northern Spain to maintain the symmetry to other properties in her neighborhood. “I think the problem begins with the seller. They should only sell their home to a buyer who plans on fixing it up.”

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Filming Begins in Elmhurst for New ‘Million Dollar Listing’ Reality TV Series


by Dave Noble, Entertainment Editor

ELMHURST – Move over New York, Miami and San Francisco! The city of Elmhurst is ready to be featured in the next series spin-off from the hit Bravo cable television reality show “Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles”. Set to air this fall, shooting for “Million Dollar Listing Elmhurst” began earlier this month. The series chronicles the professional and personal lives of local real estate agents and the whirlwind adventures of selling high-end residential properties in Elmhurst.

“There’s a lot of competitiveness in the real estate market here, and some juicy storylines,” said series producer Ralph Gunner, who selected Elmhurst as the location for the fourth spin-off of Million Dollar Listing based on its rising million-dollar home sales and the propensity of Elmhurst homebuyers to tear down perfectly good houses and replace them with “McMansions” that often occupy up 95% of the lot size. “By the time we’re done filming this spring, we’ll have enough material for two or three seasons of shows.”

One of the agents featured on the series is Schiller Real Estate’s Mike Sparrow, known for being the man who not only sold the most expensive house ever listed in Elmhurst, but managed to unload a famously difficult property that had been on the market for more than ten years.

“I’ll do whatever it takes to close the deal,” said Sparrow, who in the opening episode slips one client a pair of free tickets to an Elmhurst College men’s basketball game and is later shown closing a deal with another client during the Turtle Racing Finals at The Club Shot & Beer. “If I have to wine and dine a client to make the deal, then that’s what I’m going to do.”

The series also features some of the home buyers, who are typically a husband and wife from Chicago with two kids, a disposable income and an urge to live in the Bank Robbery and Lost Dog Capital of the Western Suburbs. Agent Suzanne Phelps of Berkshire Hathaway is featured in an episode trying to meet the eccentric wishes of one couple who will only look at homes that are less than six months old and have a direct view of Wilder Mansion, The Prairie Path or Salt Creek.

“Most families looking at million-dollar listings just want an outdoor fireplace, an in-ground pool and a couple of media rooms,” said a frustrated Phelps in a scene filmed outside of Ace Hardware, where the 30-year veteran of the Elmhurst real estate market came up empty in her search for a water feature of any kind that would have been used to depict Salt Creek for her clients. “But I seem to get all the most difficult buyers.”

Local viewers will recognize various parts of Elmhurst that serve as a picturesque backdrop throughout the series, including the town’s majestic parking garages, empty downtown storefronts, and the quarry.