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Boarded-Up North Side House on Ashland Avenue Finds Interested Buyer

 Neighbors say the house, at 6720 N. Ashland Ave., attracts gang activity to the residential street.
Vacant House on Ashland Avenue
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ROGERS PARK — Less than a week after a vacant, rundown house on Ashland Avenue — plagued by gang activity and vandalism — went on the market, Realtor Susan Wooten said she has found a buyer.

Neighbors said last week the home had been an eyesore and a magnet for gangs and seedy behavior, and longtime owner Joe Catterson said he had enough and put the vacant house, at 6720 N. Ashland Ave., on the market.

"We’re in attorney review right now, so I really have to keep everyone confidential," Wooten said when asked who the interested buyer was.

She did say, however, that it was someone who offered to buy the property, listed for $150,000, in cash.

"It had to be a cash buyer," she said. "No bank is going to finance it. I had a number of [interested] cash buyers."

Wooten, a Realtor with @Properties, said a neighbor was also interested in making an offer. Other prospective buyers wanted to live there themselves, and some wanted to flip the property.

By Friday, the sale should be finalized, she said.

"I'm definitely feeling better about it if it's been put on the market," said Rich Mayszak, who lives on the same block with his partner, Cesar Julio. "If the house does get renovated, it’s definitely a plus."

Mayszak and other neighbors had seen the home slowly degrade over the past few years since Catterson, the owner, moved out.

During an interview at the house two weeks ago, Catterson said he had been a "victim of vandalism and destruction" when gang members trashed the house, covering the walls with graffiti and the floors with paint, shattering windows, while "anything worth stealing they stole."

The 53-year-old, of Humboldt Park, confirmed Monday night in an email that the sale of the house was being reviewed by an attorney.

Wooten said he had contacted her about four months ago to see how much he could get for the property.

"He had intended to redo the house himself, but he became overwhelmed," she said. "In that neighborhood, there’s been a high concentration of short sales and foreclosures — that pocket of neighborhood has been devalued. I wasn’t certain who was going to be interested."

When asked about whether the home would sell quickly if renovated, she was uncertain.

"It’s hard to say," she said. "It’s been a very crazy market."

Mayszak, a resident on the block for eight years, was more hopeful. Both homes on either side of Catterson's property had been sold and renovated within the past five years.

"I think it will," he said. "It seems to me we're starting to see single-family homes move pretty quickly."