The importance of a floorplan: All square footage is not created equal! I was inspired to write this post after a conversation I had with another broker the other day; during our negotiations, he made the point that a particular home had recently sold for much less and, based solely on the square footage difference, the home we were negotiating a sale on should also sell for less.
Of course, there are circumstances where it can be pretty accurate to make this case, i.e. tract-home subdivisions where the lot sizes, quality of construction and floorplans are all within a pretty narrow range. To break sales prices down using this unit of comparison will probably give you reasonably consistent results. No problem.
The problem is that the homes in the Sacramento real estate market don't always fit into the definition of tract-home subdivisions. As a result, the price per square foot may not be a good indicator, and it brings into focus the value and importance of a home's floorplan.
In general an open, flowing floorplan with practical and functional spaces will appeal to more buyers today than a home with the same square footage that is compartmentalized and "choppy". Buyers will say they just don't like the "feel" of a particular home, or that the kitchen is too far removed from the rest of the living space, etc. What they're really saying is that despite the fact that the square footage of a home is similar to another home on paper, they prefer the layout, or floorplan of one over the other.
It can be difficult, but home sellers today have to be made aware of these nuances in the real estate market, because many times they tend to compare what they hear about a comp to their home - specifically the square footage. If their home is bigger than a home that recently sold down the street, theirs should sell for more, right? Well, maybe.
Here's an example: I've seen many homes that are listed as short sales that have some sort of functional deficiency, i.e. a bad floorplan or wasted space, which contributes to the fact that the home is worth a lot less than what the seller owes on it. If we could go back to the point in time when they bought that house, we might find that these issues were ignored or minimized because the market was much different at that time. Now that the market has changed, the issues are actually magnified.
Whether you're buying or selling a home today, this is one area where you can and should rely on the expertise of your agent. Look at other homes on the market with a critical eye towards the functionality of the space, not just the square footage numbers. Remember, all square footage is not created equal!
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