I was 6 or 7 years old and I remember falling from my neighbors banana tree and breaking my wrist on one of its roots. It was my first time breaking a bone and I cried hard. My cousins were with me and one of them ran inside to get my mom. She immediately came running out, only to be frightened by my lifeless and flailing wrist which she slapped, in what was a very crazy yet funny reaction (funny to us now, not then by the way). Six weeks later I’m crying again as the doctor uses an electric saw to cut off my plaster cast and yes, I was immediately back at play on that awesome banana tree.
This is just one of the many memories that I have growing up in Oak Forest, in the only home that I ever knew as a child and young adult. My parents purchased their first home on Du Barry Ln in 1972. It was a tiny little house but to them it was huge and all they needed at the time. Two bedrooms, a kitchen, living room, one bathroom and the den add-on in the back of the house sealed the deal for my mom. Many family gatherings, parties, and dinners took place in that little house, creating so many beautiful memories.
My mom turned 74 in October 2013 and almost a year and a half ago she made the hardest decision of her life, to sell this little house on Du Barry. Over the years the home was showing its age more and more, and the costs of keeping up with the property were too high for her and my brothers. As a real estate agent, I was constantly monitoring the market in the community as well as looking for other home options for her. In the end we were able to sell to a local builder for asking price and with those funds my mother was able to move into a brand new Lennar home about 15 minutes North West of Oak Forest.
Our preference would have been to rebuild on her lot but the lack of funding dictated otherwise. This is the case with many families in Oak Forest as well as Garden Oaks and many other surrounding neighborhoods. You have a family who has lived there for 30 – 40 years, their home is paid off, the resident is elderly or on a limited income or in my mom’s case both. The idea of selling their “box full of memories” is heart wrenching, however owning a brand new home that can be paid in full with cash left over sounds amazing and home owners in this situation know that this can be a life-changing event.
My mom loves her new home. Everything “works”. No plumbing issues, brand new appliances, the roof isn’t leaking, and with a press of a button her garage opens and she can park inside. Haha, yes, to my mom these are luxuries. Within the past year I’ve helped 3 other families do the same, with one home selling in only 3 days! They couldn’t be happier and it’s great to see each of these families enjoying their new homes and entertaining their family and friends on a regular basis.
Where my mom’s home use to sit, there is now a huge 3645 sq/ft home that sold recently for a mere $775K+, which dwarfs the little house that I grew up in. This is the case throughout Oak Forest, a clear sign that the housing market is booming, for both sellers and buyers. With 2 – 3 other clients that are considering listing their home with me, I don’t see this trend stopping anytime soon.
Not long after the sale of my mom’s house I remember her sharing with me how she would pass by occasionally, sometimes parking out front and reminiscing. It was the last thing that my father left her after passing away 31 years ago, so the emotional attachment was strong. But she’ll be the first to tell you that she “loves her knew home now” and she’d recommend anyone in the same situation to do the same. Oak Forest will always be close to her heart and mine as well, and any transaction I do in that neighborhood is very personal for me. My mom deserved that new house and it’s the best gift that she could have given herself. Her Life after Oak Forest has been a good one and great memories are already being created in the new house.
- Hector is a Real Estate Agent with Habitation Realty in the Heights. His area of specialty is Oak Forest, Garden Oaks, and the Heights. Hector is also the owner of Neue Creative, a branding agency in the Loop. You can contact Hector at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.