Just days after the news broke that United States Special Forces successfully completed a top secret mission that killed Osama Bin Laden, there has been countless reports on nearly every news outlet that have given us insight on the quality of life Bin Laden was actually living in Abbotabad, Pakistan. For nearly the past decade, we’ve all heard the intelligence that Bin Laden was hiding deep in the mountains of Afghanistan, living off scraps and only having enough food and water rations to barely survive. So when I read the dozens of articles on CNN.com claiming that Bin Laden was in fact living in a “multi-million dollar compound” in a resort town in north Pakistan, I, like many people, was a bit surprised. I even heard Comedy Central’s political satirist Jon Stewart joke that Bin Laden wasn’t hiding in Pakistan, Bin Laden was chillin’ in Pakistan. So with this, I immediately envisioned a 30,000 square foot mansion, spiral staircases, obnoxious chandeliers, and an outdoor pool and grotto that’s only outdone by the one sitting at the Playboy mansion in southern California. However, when pictures of this “custom-built, country estate” surfaced on the internet, I was again a bit surprised. This so-called mansion looks like nothing more than a glorified shack with only a few windows (I think I even saw 2 of the 4 windows broken out) and a 10-foot concrete wall that resembles the same barriers surrounding Alcatraz Island. Now I certainly realize that we’re talking about a small, Middle-Eastern town and that the standards of a multi-million dollar mansion are quite a bit higher in a world-class city like Chicago. But that difference became strikingly apparent after eyeing the revealing footage of the hell-hole Bin Laden called home.
It was only then that I started to turn my attention towards asking the question, “What could possibly be the reasoning for this massive discrepancy in real estate terminology?” How could reporters refer to this place as a mansion? Was it possible the Cook County Assessor was working part-time in Abbotabad as an attempt to stabilize Illinois’s debt? Nah, that can’t be it-- the commute to north Pakistan would be even worse than the traffic on the Eden’s Expressway at 8:00am on a Monday morning. After more pondering, I finally determined that this has all the make-up of an overly aggressive sales agent trying to make an impression. Though there is no formal definition of a mansion beyond a large, well appointed house, I think it’s fair to assume Bin Laden’s Realtor may be trying to get a leg up on marketing the property now that we may be seeing it back on the market in the near-future. I must admit—not a bad strategy. Without a doubt there has been endless press about this infamous compound so why not try to use it to your advantage? I probably would’ve done the same thing. But I will say this—if we start hearing reports on this dump having stainless steel appliances, marble baths, in-unit laundry or decorator ready, I’m callin’ this guy out.
Ted Guarnero, REALTOR® is a full-time real estate agent with over 1000 homes sold and $400 million in sales. Working with Compass real estate offering professional and effective real estate services to help you succeed in the local real estate market. Visit www.seeChicagorealestate.com for information on downtown Chicago real estate and to get in touch with an expert in the Chicago real estate market. Before you hire your next Realtor call Ted Guarnero 855-See-Chicago, it's on the House !