From Listing to Closing in Two Weeks: The Douglas House, a 1907 Mansion in Winston-Salem

This is how things are going this summer: 638 N. Spring Street was listed for sale on Friday July 9 at $649,900. The sale closed on Thursday July 22. That’s crazy fast. These days, it’s amazing even to schedule a home inspection that quickly. In more normal times, you might see that kind of speed when run-down rentals are being kicked around from from one landlord to another. But a high-end property? Forget it.

Another surprise: The sellers accepted an offer $15,000 lower than their asking price. That’s not unheard-of, though, even as many sellers are getting $20,000, $30,000 or even $50,000 more than they’re asking. A number of sellers recently have started out courageously pushing the upper limit of their neighborhood’s home prices, only to quickly receive a reasonable offer and decide, “Close enough!” A slightly lower price and quick closing may be worth the assurance that the house you’re selling won’t eat even one more mortgage payment.

638 N. Spring Street, Winston-Salem
The Thomas S. Douglas House

  • Sold for $635,000 on July 22, 2021 (listed at $649,900)
  • 4 bedrooms, 4 1/2 bathrooms, 4,287 square feet
  • Price/square foot: $148
  • Built in 1907
  • Listed July 9, 2021
  • Last sale: $170,000, September 1997
  • Neighborhood: West End Historic District
  • District NRHP nomination: “The Douglas House combines late Victorian irregular massing with Colonial Revival detailing. The two-story frame house has a multi-gable roof, with some of the sparse ornamentation seen in the Palladian window of the smaller front gable and in the trefoil attic vent of the larger gable.
    • “The present front porch features Tuscan columns and a slightly projecting pedimented entrance bay. However, the 1917 Sanborn Hap shows only a corner wrap-around porch. The porch was probably altered in the 1910s or 1920s, when the south side porch was converted to a sun room.
    • “[Between 1995 and 2004] the house was sheathed with aluminum siding, but this was done without obstructing any of the detailing and has had little effect on the overall architectural integrity of the house.
    • “The interior includes a closed string Colonial Revival stair and several typical Colonial Revival mantels.
    • “Thomas S. Douglas purchased the property in 1907 and was listed at this location in the 1908 city directory. He was a traveling salesman. The Douglas family retained ownership until 1955.
    • “One of T.S. and Fannie Douglas’ sons, Wilson, experimented and made the first Douglas storage battery in the garage (no longer standing) on Spring St. Later he and his brother, Thomas Jr., built the Douglas Storage Battery Co. into the large industry which it is today.”

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