…as in, “It’s the economy, stupid.”
We’re marketing a luxury property in Chevy Chase View (in Kensington MD) where the builder stepped way beyond the norm in terms of finishes.We don’t just have hardwood floors, we have random width hickory floors…and we have hickory floors not only on the living level and the master bedroom, but throughout the entire second floor.We don’t just have a Wolf oven…we have three Wolf ovens.Of course there are granite tops in the kitchen and the master bedroom, but there’s also granite in the four other bedrooms and in the butler’s pantry.In addition, we have a whole house sound system and a lower level theatre with surround sound.
So, what’s the problem?The problem is that in the current market, where buyers are intent on bargaining, there appears to be no appreciation for this kind of quality.That may sound harsh, but it seems to be true.Buyers want to talk about square footage and about number of rooms.This house has 5 bedrooms, 5 full baths and 2 half baths, but it’s competing with properties that are even bigger.Buyers aren’t looking at doors, windows, doorknobs, or…in many cases…even appliance brands.I tell builders today that buyers think that “stainless” is a brand.Just say you have stainless and granite and you’re upscale!!
If we’re really returning to a mindset that homes are where we live…and not where we park our money for investment purposes, then the quality of the home we buy should matter more. Finishes should count and quality should be king.
For the first time in 10 years, I’ve listed my own home…Actually, that’s not even accurate...Ten years ago when we sold our previous house, I left the key under the mat for two agents who had clients looking in our neighborhood, and one of them wrote an offer.So I never had to prepare a fact sheet, or have photos taken, or put it into the multiple listing service, or hold open houses or have people come tromping thru.This will be good for me as an agent, but (as I tell all my sellers) I already know that having your home on the market is not fun.
Having said that, I’m optimistic about our current property because I think it’s in a fabulous location and is in great condition.I know I’m prejudiced, but I’m going to be genuinely sad to leave this wonderful townhome community in Downtown Bethesda.My husband and I still joke about “walking errands” and are still thrilled by our ability to keep the cars in the two car garage for much of our days.And the area just keeps getting better, as more shops and restaurants make their way to this happenin’ location.
With four floors, and about 2300 sq ft of living space, we’ve found that there’s plenty of room for guests, family and privacy.Each of the three bedrooms has its own bath and the first floor office can also house guests as it, too, has access to a full bath.We also enjoy the balcony space off of the kitchen, where we sit outside when the weather is nice with a cup of coffee and the newspaper or a glass of wine and a good book.
Because of the tremendous increase in land values in downtown Bethesda, builders...