Home Buying in Palo Alto>Question Details

Mike J, Home Buyer in Redwood City, CA

Eichler Homes vs. Traditional: all things being equal, which costs more?

Asked by Mike J, Redwood City, CA Tue Mar 1, 2011

For two homes in Palo Alto of equal sq footage, lot size, age, condition and in same location, one is Eichler and other is standard single story, which one should have the higher price? And why? I am thinking of making an offer, but I am wondering what the difference is.

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Michelle Carr-Crowe’s answer
Do you love the Eichler style? Are you interested in and passionate about mid-century style and living?

In Palo Alto, and some other parts of Silicon Valley (Cupertino, Sunnyvale, West San Jose, Willow Glen), Eichers and Eichler-style homes remain popular options. However people either love or hate them. It is possible to make them energy-efficient, which many people in PA have done-once the windows and roofs are changed, they can be very comfortable. There are groups of people passionate about Eichlers and their historical significance-and connecting with that group may increase your enjoyment of the home and neighborhood.

However, if you don't particularly care for Eichlers, choose a traditional ranch style home instead.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 25, 2011
BEST ANSWER
Mike,

The answer is a subjective one. Homes have an intrinsic value that is hard to quantify. Some people love Eichlers and some absolutely hate it, In my opinion, in this case the value would be based on your preference. If you are cost conscious , I would place a higher value on a standard single story.

The cons of an Eichler are that they do not have an attic or crawl space, no insulation and large single pane non-tempered windows and glass panels. From an energy efficiency standpoint they rate very poorly. This of course can be modified, but is quite expensive. They have radiant heat which provides you with better indoor air quality, but with an aging system may need replacement. If you go for a standard system, it is hard to get the ductwork done, unless you place them on the roof like an industrial building. there are other alternatives that Eichler contractors have designed. Similar issues with electrical, where you have to go through the roof or have have exposed wires inside the home.

A traditional house also will have similar issues but will be easier to handle because of the attic space, crawl space and reasonably sized windows.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 1, 2011
The value will be based on location. Eichler's have a cult following and as Marcy stated, some people love them. They were built to offer an affordable home to buyers and include radiant heat and passive solar. Not all Mid Century Modern homes were built by Eichler, there are some homes which are copy-cats of the style.

The come with their pros and cons. They are built on slab where other homes may be built on piers.
Web Reference: http://terrivellios.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 1, 2011
There is one problem with your question, the homes will not be in the same location. Eichler built homes in neighborhoods in Palo Alto, not individually. Homes on Palo Alto have more similarity to neighborhood than to style, if the homes are of similar age and not a new build. So if an Eichler is in south Palo Alto in the flood zone it will cost less than a home in midtown that is a ranch or cottage but not in the flood zone. The only exception to this would be in Barron Park where there are a few individual Eichlers but I have not noticed any big difference in price from any other home with similar square footage and condition. But there are just not enough of them to make a statistically significant statement. If you were asking this question about some other city I could tell you that Eichlers will generally sell for less than a traditional ranch house, but they do not have a stigma in Palo Alto. Many people here love them for their mid century modern style, and many people just want a home in Palo Alto in their price range and do not care about the style. It may seem that Eichlers sell for less than ranch homes, but I think most of that can be attributed to the fact that a they are frequently in the flood zone. I guess that is the short answer.
Marcy Moyer
DRE 01191194
Web Reference: http://www.marcymoyer.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 1, 2011
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