What Makes A House “High-End”?

There are so many overused terms used in real estate marketing, such as: “cozy, hurry, opportunity knocks, cheery, cute!” the list really is endless. But I’ve begun noticing “high end” being thrown around for properties that might LOOK “high end” but really aren’t. So I want to take the shiny sticker off and go behind what really makes a house “high end.”

The Exterior

  • Hardie plank siding, energy efficient/double hung windows, elegant stone work, concrete or paver driveways instead of asphalt, trex/composite material decking

Plumbing Fixtures

  • Kohler, Moen, Rohl, Hansgrohe, Brizio – some more brands you’ve never heard of – those are considered quality, high end (read: expensive) finishes.


  • Wolf, Viking, Thermador, Sub Zero, KitchenAid Pro, Jenn Air, GE Monogram

Lighting Fixtures

  • There’s builder grade, cheap lighting fixtures, and then there are LED lights, specialty lighting stores who make some very beautiful lights


  • Carpet, hardwood, built-ins, wainscotting, coffered ceiling, tray ceiling, recessed lighting, etc. etc. Something that makes it feel like a little more than just drywall thrown together.
  • We all think of Granite counters as “high end” but they’re actually quite cheap compared to some of the new types of stone: Quartz, Silestone, Caeserstone, Marble, etc. Some of these offer advantages over granite like no sealing, higher temperature tolerance and more.

Just because it looks shiny and brand new, doesn’t make it high end, nor should you be paying a premium for it.

What Does Zero Days on the Market Really Mean?

Since the beginning of the year, almost 100 properties have sold with a big goose egg for days on the market. That’s a big accomplishment if you’re looking at it as a legitimate sale: 0 days on the market? How can that be?

What does that really mean?dom 0

Usually, it means it was sold prior to going on the market and the agent(s) put in to MRIS as a comparable sale for the credit and for other agents to use for other sales.

How does that happen?

Well, it should be no surprise that of the 97 year to date, 23 were sales where 1 agent represented both the buyer and the seller in the transaction.
A handful more were likely for sale by owner and the buyer agent put it in to keep under their recorded sales.
The majority of the other ones were either:

  • Coming Soon that were sold prior to actively being listed
  • Agents sharing with other agents upcoming listings and getting lucky
  • A drive by calling on a for sale sign
  • Sellers advertising to friends that they would be listing soon (this happens actively on groups like North Arlington Parents or Mothers of North Arlington)

For some sellers, this is the perfect scenario. Read my old blog on why a seller would take an offer before going on the market. 

Busy June Real Estate Market in Arlington

june 2015A slow May gave way to a very busy June real estate market in Arlington. A total of 354 properties sold last month! Prices increased 2% over last year, while condo prices increased 9.8%!! Sellers averaged 97.9% of asking and were on the market for 42 days. Here’s the breakdown by location and property type:

Single Family Homes

N. Arlington Average Net Sale Price: $1,008,594 in 34 days
Range: $530,000 – $2,875,000
S. Arlington Average Net Sale Price: $721,737 in 34 days
Range: $385,000 – $1,300,000

N. Arlington Average Net Sale Price: $848,150 in 23 days
Range: $520,000 – $1,990,000
S. Arlington Average Net Sale Price: $531,811 in 15 days
Range: $411,000 – $775,000

1 Bedroom, 1 Bathroom Condos
N. Arlington Average Net Sale Price: $380,944 in 22 days
Range: $194,000 – $635,000
S. Arlington Average Net Sale Price: $271,186 in 36 days
Range: $162,500 – $335,000

2 Bedroom, 2 Bathroom Condos
N. Arlington Average Net Sale Price: $611,687 in 23 days
Range: $295,000 – $903,000
S. Arlington Average Net Sale Price: $445,063 in 25 days
Range: $312,500 – $552,500

Search Arlington Homes For Sale or Find Out What Your Arlington Home Is Worth

Slow May For Arlington Real Estate

It was a slow month of May for Arlington real estate. The market seemed to take a huge pause in activity, showings, and contracts. The statistics for the month certainly support that: average prices fell 1.47% from last year, units sold were 289 compared to 310 last year, days on the market increased to 44 (up from 33 last year), and sellers averaged 98.4% of asking, which is about 1% less than we’ve been trending. Here are the stats broken out by location and type of property:

Single Family Homes

N. Arlington Average Net Sale Price: $1,033,509 in 26 days
Range: $404,250 – $2,482,000
S. Arlington Average Net Sale Price: $689,584 in 21 days
Range: $450,000 – $1,175,000

N. Arlington Average Net Sale Price: $838,181 in 16 days
Range: $635,000 – $1,202,000
S. Arlington Average Net Sale Price: $575,535 in 18 days
Range: $350,000 – $755,000

1 Bedroom, 1 Bathroom Condos
N. Arlington Average Net Sale Price: $370,681 in 19 days
Range: $207,000 – $620,000
S. Arlington Average Net Sale Price: $258,206 in 65 days
Range: $118,000 – $372,900

2 Bedroom, 2 Bathroom Condos
N. Arlington Average Net Sale Price: $599,400 in 32 days
Range: $400,000 – $888,000
S. Arlington Average Net Sale Price: $428,341 in 24 days
Range: $284,000 – $576,000

Search Arlington Homes For Sale or Find Out What Your Arlington Home Is Worth

Just Sold at Station Square

Print_Amenity-Front Elevation (3)This CUTE 1 bedroom plus den, 1.5 bathroom condo in Clarendon at Station Square just sold!

1201 N Garfield Street Unit 810, Arlington, VA 22201
Sold for $535,000 in 16 days
934 sq ft
1 Oversized Parking PLUS 1 Storage Unit
Hardwood floors throughout the dining room and living room
Carpet in the den and master bedroom
Master Bedroom has a walk-in closet with custom Elfa Shelving
Pantry! Washer/Dryer in unit! Coat closet!
Condo fee: $358.76

For virtual tour and floorplan, click here.

Back Up Offers in Virginia

Did you know you can submit an offer to be a backup offer? Let’s say you missed out on a house, either you didn’t “win” in a multiple offer situation or perhaps the property went under contract before you had a chance to see it. Either way, you’re looking at being the #2 should the first contract fall apart. plan b

How do they work?

You negotiate all of the terms of the contract including price, contingencies, financing, and potential close date (usually measured in days rather than a hard date). The contract is then in the waiting wings should the first contract become void. If the first contract actually closes, the back up offer just becomes paper to shred. However, if the first offer is voided, the backup offer instantly becomes the new ratified contract upon notice from the seller. Then all contingencies and terms start from that date of notice and closing would take place X days from then too.

Why would you want to be a backup offer?

If there were a lot of offers the first time, this would eliminate the need to compete again.

Are there any downsides?

Not really. The buyer of the backup offer can deliver notice at any time that the offer is being pulled and is no longer in play anytime until the seller delivers notice that it is now in effect.

Why should you take one as a seller?

You don’t lose any more time if the first offer falls through. You instantly have a backup plan, and go right back to being under contract and working towards closing.

Submitting An Offer with A Deadline and How to Evaluate It As A Seller

offer deadlineIn the last 30 days in Arlington, 282 properties closed. 112 of them sold in under a week. With that stat, it shouldn’t be a surprise that 35% of those 282 sales sold at or above asking price. In the first week, that number was over 75%. So what do you do in a market that competitive?

Some people think submitting an offer with a deadline, forcing the seller to make a decision, is one way to go about it. I think this is a polarizing position – some sellers will be put off by it, some will encourage it. It totally depends on the seller and their situation and whether that tactic will work in your favor or not.

How it works: you go see the property ASAP and usually there’s an open house scheduled for Sunday that people this is the end all/be all for multiple offers, usually followed by a Monday or Tuesday offer submission deadline. Instead, you’re fed up with waiting for the weekend to be over for the seller to accrue 6 offers and you lose, yet again. So you decide to write an offer on Saturday morning with a 12-24 hour deadline for a response or the offer is D.O.A. Take it or leave it!

Why this could work and why it could backfire:

1. If the sellers are really bottom line driven and are hoping for multiple offers with waived contingencies and escalation clauses, they’re going to want to wait for the market to have the most time and exposure of their home. If you want it, their mentality is someone else will too. So if you walk away from the house, someone else will be there. They may call your bluff on whether you’ll actually pull your offer off the table.

2. If you have a nervous seller or anxious seller who just wants to be done with the process (think a listing that has been offered for sale in the past with no luck, someone with pets/kids/elderly or anyone who makes it hard to show the house and/or keep it clean, a divorce, a baby, any stressful selling situation!) you might get lucky and find someone who just wants to sign a contract and be done with it.

3. If you’re going to give a deadline, make it attractive enough that someone wouldn’t want to let it go. Don’t low ball, don’t make all sorts of crazy conditions, just make it really easy for a seller to want to take it.