McHenry County offers peaceful estates for luxury home buyers

Barrington Hills home selling for $18.775 million

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BARRINGTON HILLS – Walking into the secluded Hidden Ponds Estate in Barrington Hills, potential buyers will amble over Versailles pattern walnut flooring on their way to the English-style pub, one of eight bedrooms or to the collector's-size showroom garage.

And for $18.775 million, they never have to leave.

“It’s probably the most expensive listing in three states,” Jameson Sotheby’s International broker associate Connie Antoniou said.

Regardless of whether it’s the most expensive listing in three states, it is an expensive home for McHenry County, where Multiple Listing Service records show the average list price for a home sits just above $324,000. Luxury homes aren’t the standard in McHenry County, but they do account for almost 6 percent of the homes on the market.

The defining features of a luxury home are subjective, but real estate agents tend to agree in some aspects. Antoniou said anything with a price tag at $750,000 or above would qualify. That’s a number that Berskhire Hathaway Starck real estate broker Rick Bellairs agrees with.

But a luxury home is made up of a more than a price tag. A luxury home needs custom finishes and mill work. A luxury home wouldn’t be complete without high-end appliances, such as a Wolf range or a Fisher Paykel dishwasher, Antoniou said. A buyer could snag either of those items for upwards of $2,300 apiece.

And don’t expect to find anything smaller than a three-car garage on a luxury home, the agents said.

Often, people choose a luxury home in McHenry County because of the land and the solitude it provides. The Hidden Ponds Estate, which sits at the southeast corner of the county, boasts 30,000 square feet of living space on 70 acres.

“It’s going to be a celebrity who wants their privacy,” Antoniou said. “It’s going to be an entrepreneur. It’s going to be a person who has multiple homes. It might very well be a foreign buyer with maybe an extended family.”

It’s the amount of land driving the nearly $19 million cost, Antoniou said, recalling a 10-acre property that went for $1.4 million. Annual property taxes at the Hidden Ponds Estate would be $156,000, according to the property listing.

An expansive home in Woodstock recently sold for $4.9 million. Records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request shows the buyer plans to use the 20,000-square-foot estate as a group home.

Million-dollar homes in rural McHenry County often fetch buyers who don’t have to worry about the daily commute.

“It’s someone who either has already retired and doesn’t work,” Bellairs said. “Or they work from home. Or it’s a person who travels for work, so they’re home three days, gone four days.”

On Davis Road in Woodstock, Ken and Camille Miller are trying to sell their 5,500-square-foot ranch for $879,000. The home sits on five acres and comes complete with a pond fit for fishing and swimming, a detached garage, sauna and home theater.

After purchasing and renovating the home three years ago, they plan to downsize to a luxury home they’ll build on property they own in Bull Valley. They picture someone who wants to escape the daily suburban grind picking up their rural oasis.

“This is a lifestyle more than it is a home,” Ken Miller said. “The home is the big part of it, but if this home were in Palatine, the appeal wouldn’t be there. It’s the whole package.”