Cory Fryer’s growing family needed more room.
Fryer and his wife had just moved back to Chicago from Grand Rapids, Mich., and were looking for a spacious home for their growing family of six.
“While we were looking for our dream home, we were living in one of my aunt’s townhomes,” explained Fryer, who works for the Chicago Transit Authority.
Fryer began searching online for properties and spotted a two-story brick bungalow on a tree-lined street in South Chicago’s West Chatham neighborhood using RealtyTrac.com.
The pre-foreclosure he unearthed had been abandoned by the current owner and was boarded up despite its great location across the street from an elementary school and near a park where Fryer’s four children could play.
“This neighborhood was uncharted territory for me,” admitted Fryer, who grew up in southeast Chicago. “My father drove around the house and he liked it. Then, my father and my mom looked at the interior of the house and they liked it.”
After his wife and children walked through the house, Cory’s father negotiated an all-cash offer with the distressed owner. Fryer said they paid about one-third of what the house sold for in 2006: $240,000.
He said that the 1,400 square foot home, with four bedrooms, a detached garage and a spacious basement that could become a fifth bedroom was just what he was looking for.
“I used to think stories like mine were Cinderella stories,” he said. “But tears come to my eyes — and I get emotional — because of all the struggles we went through to get this house.”
Fryer said West Chatham is a well-established community with a close-knit atmosphere of hard-working professionals and retirees who care deeply about maintaining a high quality of life.
“It’s unbelievable,” he said. “My son … can walk across the street and go to school. And the neighbor to the south is a retired doctor and my other neighbor is a psychiatrist.”
Best of all, Fryer is saving money by owning instead of renting.
“I’m paying less than rent on the townhouse. It’s a sweet deal.”