Is An Apple Or An Orange A Better Value At 59 Cents Per Pound?

Industry Observer

Is an apple or an orange a better value at 59 cents per pound? Impossible to answer you say? They aren't the same thing you point out. Depends which one you like better you speculate.

The same can be true for houses. Often home buyers want to know how much a house costs per square foot & then try to use that information as a way to compare.

But... what if House A is in a well maintained, conveniently located neighborhood where homes FLY off the market pretty much the day they are listed. House B is in a rundown neighborhood next to the freeway where average market time is 2 or 3 times as long as the overall time in town. Yes House B is a lower dollar per square foot price.....but may not be a better buy.

OK, so how about if both houses are in the same neighborhood, and all the houses in that neighborhood were built roughly the same time and are close to being the same size. Even the same builder built the entire neighborhood. Surely now dollars per square foot is a great way to compare value. Right?

Well, only if condition is really, really similar. If House A has had all new floor coverings & paint, plus newly updated kitchen & bathrooms versus House B which is a bank owned house that has missing kitchen appliances, stained & smelly carpeting, what looks suspiciously like water damage in the bathrooms, & holes punched strategically in various walls & interior doors....well, so much for thinking a similar dollars per square foot price would make ANY sense.

Statistics like price per square foot can only take you so far in analyzing what is - or is not - a great value in a house.  You will likely do far better to work with an experienced, local real estate agent who can help you sort out the factors that truly make a house a great fit for your needs - and a great value too!


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Comments (4)

Lori Williams
Lake Wylie, Charlotte, Gastonia Homes for Sale ABR, CDPE, SFR, ASP, - Gastonia, NC
Lake Wylie, Gastonia, SW Charlotte, Homes for Sale

So true, the question really is how do you measure the worth of a house.  Often times it is just that the buyer walks in and it feels like home.  That can't be measured in dollars.   Other clients analyze the price until you feel like screaming!

Oct 15, 2013 11:18 PM
Nancy Conner
Olympia, WA
Olympia/Thurston County WA
Hi Lori! Very true that often the value of a particular home to a particular buyer includes some very subjective factors. And sometimes the house with the lowest price per square foot is just not the house a buyer will choose - for a whole host of both logical & gut reaction reasons.
Oct 16, 2013 01:26 AM
1~Judi Barrett
Integrity Real Estate Services 116 SE AVE N, Idabel, OK 74745 - Idabel, OK
BS Ed, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDABEL OK

Sometimes its seems like science and sometimes it seems like art.. but good real estate agents are able to pull the science and art together to price it right. 

Oct 17, 2013 10:30 AM
Nancy Conner
Olympia, WA
Olympia/Thurston County WA
Very well said Judi! There is both art & science involved in pricing homes - and when they mesh well, it's going to lead to success!
Oct 17, 2013 01:07 PM