Barack Obama’s House
5046 South Greenwood Ave, Chicago, IL
See more Chicago, IL real estate

Soon after Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama, the up-and-coming junior senator from Illinois, purchased his Georgian revival mansion on the South Side of Chicago, it set off alarms and suspicion of a shady deal. Why? In a real estate deal that is now called a “boneheaded move” by Obama, here is a timeline of what happened, leaning heavily on this thorough Q&A Obama did with the Chicago Sun-Times,

  • In June 2005, Obama and now-indicted political fundraiser Antoin “Tony” Rezko purchased adjoining parcels in the Kenwood neighborhood of Chicago. The parcels — one containing a house and the other undeveloped land — were owned by University of Chicago doctors Fredric Wondisford and Sally Radovick (husband and wife).
  • Obama paid $1.65 million for his home ($300K less than the asking price of $1.95 million, but it was the Obama’s third and “best offer“) while Rezko paid $625,000 for the adjacent, undeveloped lot.
  • Both closed on their properties on the same day.
  • Obama wanted to increase the size of his side yard and in January 2006, Obama paid Rezko $104,500 for a strip of his land – about one-sixth of the parcel and costs one-sixth of the Rezko’s original purchase price of $625,000. (Here is an excellent bird’s-eye view of the Obama and Rezko properties and how they were divided).
  • In 2006, Tony Rezko was indicted for fraud and was convicted in 2008.
  • In 2007, Tony’s wife, Rita, sold the remaining lot for $575,000.

So, how did the Obama’s originally learn about this home?

According to My DD: Direct Democracy, in 2004, Barack’s wife, Michelle, was on the board of the Commission of Chicago Landmarks and in this capacity, learned of a designated historical home in Kenwood that was for sale — the home and the adjacent land at 5046 South Greenwood.

…a Historical Georgian revival home built in 1910 with four fireplaces, glass-door bookcases fashioned from Honduran mahogany, and a 1,000-bottle wine cellar…

At the time, the Obamas were living in a Hyde Park condo and wanted to upgrade to a bigger space.  While the doctors wanted to sell the home and the lot together, the Obamas could not afford it. Barack then allegedly contacted Tony Rezko for advice on how to buy it since Rezko was also a real estate developer.

Another headache over this home for Obama is whether he received a discount on a home loan. And, Obama’s home has become a big headache for neighbors, too, with each day looking “… like there’s going to be a parade, but there isn’t one.”

Want to read more about the presidential and vice presidential nominee homes?

  • Julklappstips

    Hmmm, I would want to live there….

  • leksaker

    Could I afford it ? :)


    I’ve been looking around and really am impressed by the great content here. I work the nightshift at my job and it is so boring. I’ve been coming right here for the previous couple nights and reading. I just needed to let you know that I’ve been enjoying what I have seen and I look ahead to reading more.

  • Philip Krone

    1. Michelle Obama would not have learned about this house from her position as a member of the Landmarks Commission, other than she would have known as any one else cold have that it was within the borders of a historic district. (Public knowledge).

    2. It is true that the Obamas paid $300,000 less than the asking price for the house, but the asking price was double what the two doctors had paid for the house which had already been fully rehabilitated prior to purchase, so they made a tremendous profit on the sale. (They literally had invested less than $10,000 or so, into the home after purchase.)

    3. What is not reported here is that the vacant lot which Rezko purchased had different zoning and was developable. Rezko could afford to sell 10′ of his 60′ parcel, because he only needed 50′ to develop it and not affect his zoing rights. Obama purchased the 10′ to expand his side yard and play space for his children — it added no development rights. In a sense by paying 1/6 of the purchase cost he was paying too much, as the land be bought was interior space, and as long as it didn’t adversely affect the development rights of the 50′ that still fronted on Hyde Park Boulevard, it was not of equal value.

    The only ‘boneheaded’ aspect of this deal was that Obama dealt with Rezko and that he called it boneheaded. It was a very good deal for Rezko and accomplished what Obama wanted at probably about $30,000 more than what he paid.

    If anyone wants to communicate with me directly they may email me at

  • Pear Shaped Engagement Rings

    Great share Diane… I was curious what his Chicago house looked like but never bothered to look it up. I pictured it differently then what it really is.

  • Banta och gå ner i vikt

    Or, he isn’t a man that do business well… and he is your president ;)

  • mh. idrees ahmad

    ok i am after tel me

  • teknoloji

    Well I am not an african american. I am just a white middle aged wife and mother and I proudly voted for Mr. Obama. I live in Southern Illinois, in a very prejudice area Im sad to say. I put out an Obama sign in front of my house to show my pride, yea I took some heat, but my stance has been this….I have children who are just starting out on their own and one still at home and with the mess our country is in I want better for my childrens future. I believe Mr. Obama has that to offer us. I know this election was a huge step for the african american people, but it was also a huge step for the future of all of our young people. This election really brought out the American pride. As far as his home goes. Go in and type in Michelle Obamas name into google and read up on her, the woman has made some major money in her career. If they have worked hard to have something nice, dont be petty.

  • kalas

    Really Interesting. Thanks for the post.

  • Träleksaker

    Yes we can!

  • Presenter

    Looks like a decent home to me :)
    Great Article

  • Mike

    how many bodyguards or officers will save that house when hes in there :)?

  • http://no prabhu

    Respected sir,
    i like u very much sir because in history u r first person in president of usa.i keep u as a role modle in my life. i need your autograph sir. send me sir
    My address: k.prabhu, no.2nd 7th street,gopalapuram, vellore-632006, tamil nadu, india

  • kt

    as far as everyone arguing about the number of houses someone owns I think it is rediculous. Whats worse is that you would judge what good somone could do for our country off of that number. Im sad to hear how many people voted for Barack HUSSEIN Obama on the sole reason that it is good for our country to have an African American president. I am all for diversity and freedom of EVERYTHING! White, black, male, or female makes no difference. So for someone to say that you vote for someone mainly because they are African American is absolutely rediculous.Especially because he is many things including African American. He has done NO good for our country and I dont see that changing anytime soon. I look forward to seeing all those that change their opinions and vote differently when they see what he (not his race or gender) has done to OUR country!

  • kt

    “yes we can” ha what a joke…
    are u kidding..this just so that yes we can get worse than we already have been…

  • rodney@building a new home

    This is a really nice home. Does he still own it? Does anyone know?

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  • Pyssel

    Interesting stuff, I like it. Could I afford it perhaps :)

  • meaning in a name

    I wonder what the house and property is worth now.

  • Craft show listings

    I think the beauty of art will always be appealing. You cannot walk into any home across the continent where the walls are bare. Paintings, photographs and other forms of art adorn the walls, the cabinets and the tables around the home. A large market exists for the artist with the right flair and the eye for what appeals to today’s craft show goer!

  • lastdetail

    wow, i’d like to see what this house looks like inside!

  • new home building

    What a great looking house. Must cost a fortune in Chicago.

  • glyconutrients

    Obama has a big home.

  • Presenttips

    Wow, what a house! Wish I could afford that :)

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