How important is price per sq ft?

chicagoerinApril 10, 2009

Hi, I am wondering how important you think Price per sq feet is? I have a ranch home (highly sought after and rare in normal market in my neighborhood) that is in excellent shape. A realtor whom I am working with on the buy side is trying to convince me to lower my price based on comps for 2 story homes in my hood. He is sighting the price per sq ft of mine being much higher than others, which it is. I own a side pet sitting biz and have been in many of the houses in my neigbhorhood and they don't compare in terms of upgrades, maintainence, etc. So that coupled with the ranch thing leads me to believe that the right person will not care about this. IF they are looking for a ranch and like mine, they will buy it.

I have had 7 showings in 4 weeks (more than I expected) and the three realtors that gave me feedback said it shows like a model and is "priced right".

I have it listed flat fee MLS and don't NEED to sell but want to downsize. I can wait the whole summer no problem, but don't necessarily want to be in the house in Nov.

What would you do?


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I think price per square foot is important to be somewhere in the neighborhood of other homes in the neighborhood. There of course can be disparity to account for condition of home, desirability of floorplan or lot size. But in general price per square foot should be inline with others. A huge difference would certainly be a turn off to me. I don't know what numbers you're talking about, and I know that to many a ranch is more desirable and would probably have a higher cost per square foot. but it should be a reasonable difference.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2009 at 1:44PM
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I personally do not pay attention to that number. I (hope) I know when a house is in great condition and has upgrades and will know if it is priced right. Who knows if the competion has their squarefootage right anyhow. If your house would interest me I would take a look no matter what and then decide if it is overprized to me or not.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2009 at 3:05PM
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A ranch normally costs more to build than a two-story assuming both have equal overall square footage. The ranch has a larger footprint (more concrete) & larger roof area. There are also other difference such as longer plumbing runs that increase costs for ranch-style homes.

So, it's not unreasonable that your square footage price is higher than your neighbors. That said, your costs should not be considerably out-of-whack to the neighborhood.

Best wishes for a fast sale.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2009 at 3:32PM
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A subject close to my heart. I agree with Tricia on a ranch being more expensive to build so price per sq ft would be higher. Then of course there are things like FP, granite or stone counters, wood cabs, tile, solid wood panel doors, wood floors walk up attic, wood windows, #of baths etc. In my opinion quality counts just as much though I think I am in the minority.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2009 at 7:14PM
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How out of whack? We had a ranch go up in our subdivision a year ago (we were still in a hot seller's market) that attempted $175/sq ft when normal for a two story in the area is $115- $130/sq ft. They sat and lowered the price $100K after four months (unheard of back then) to be slightly more than the $130 sq ft and sold for very close to that within a month.

So, while a single story will sell for slightly more per sq ft in my area, it won't sell for a huge difference even in a hot seller's market. BTW, I do live in an area where there are a lot of folks over 50. A single story is highly sought after, just not when the price is really skewed.

YMMV of course

    Bookmark   April 10, 2009 at 7:43PM
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I'm planning to list next month. I've been looking at houses in my area on-line and find the sq ft measurements of homes crazy. Some houses I know and there is no way they have the sq footage listed. I have been wondering what they count in sq footage... they are either lying or measuring their driveways!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2009 at 10:54PM
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"I've been looking at houses in my area on-line and find the sq. ft measurements of homes crazy."

When I look at a house, I like to bring my own distance measurer with me. This allows me to see how closely the agents measurements compare to mine.

A link that might be useful:

Ultrasonic Distance Measurer to 50 Feet

    Bookmark   April 12, 2009 at 3:33PM
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A little OT--our house actually has more usable space than the square footage would say. That is because the town assessed a low-eave area incorrectly. So, in addition to "losing" half the square footage of that area as done by the blind formula, we lost a little more due to them not counting something they should have. To keep things simple, our listing includes the same square footage as the tax form, but the house "lives" about 180 ft2 bigger than it says. I am hoping people understand that layout and eaves can really change how a house feels and search on both sides of what they think is a good "target" space.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2009 at 3:45PM
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thanks all for your input..I am priced at 155 ppsqft and apparently 130 ppsqft is the going rate in my neighborhood. That said, I am a pet sitter and am in lots of houses in my neighborhood and can tell you mine is newer and in much better shape. Also huge paver patio and professional landscaping. And a big lot. However, a realtor who is trying to help me on the buy side has me sufficiently concerned that even if I found a buyer no appraiser would appraise it higher than the going rate.

So, if that is the case, where does one benefit from having a much nicer house, bigger lot etc than the others in terms up upgrades, etc. You just lose it because the others are selling lower?

Frustrating! Other realtors have told me I am priced right, this guy is saying they don't know what they are talking about. I am confused. I was planning on selling at 142 ppsqft, that would be as low as I could go. Am I totally out of line here?

thanks again

    Bookmark   April 13, 2009 at 8:28PM
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Why not get an independent appraisal done now and make your decision based upon those numbers? I'd probably get more than one independent appraisal. If the house appraises for $145 sq ft, price at that rate. If it appraises at $130 sq ft, you may have to reevaluate.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2009 at 7:27AM
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Myself, I notice the psf. As in "hm, seems high I wonder why - oh description says lots of upgrades, or its a 2 acre lot or....etc." but I don't give it a lot of weight.

I.e. I think your description should solve why the psf is high in most peoples mind.
But if I were looking for something specific and your house seemed to be it, it wouldn't stop me from at least looking.

Sometimes when its really super high I can find a mistake in the numbers. Other times I assume that the seller bought high and over upgraded or is just maybe crazy or greedy:)

One guy at work talked psf all the time when he was looking. BUT he was looking for a real screaming deal. He specifically wanted lots of DIY house for the money. He ended up buying a bank owned.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2009 at 3:26PM
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