To understand this better, some homes have high ceilings (which increases cost psf) - some have 8 ft, some have double-E windows in vinyl frame - some are wooden low-E etc, some homes have crown molding - some don't, some have a lot of woodwork besides crown molding or chair rails or wainscoting - some don't have any of these. All of these building particulars change the cost per square foot, not to mention the amenities, like ceramic or scraped wood flooring as opposed to carpet or vinyl, bath fixtures, light fixtures, wiring for sound, Internet, phone, alarm and so on.
Insurance agents use an estimator that is based on zipcode, square footage, description of rooms and some fudge for building quality. Your insurance agent should be telling you his estimate to replace, not the other way around.
Remember also that part of the property cost is land, which will not burn down. Building cost is not the price listed in MLS divided by the square feet of the building. That would grossly overstate the building value psf. A rule of thumb is to subtract out the land value shown in CAD and then divide the remaining as-is value by the square footage. This answer can still vary between 35 and 150, depending on all the factors above. But you can guess the replacement cost by dividing that result by the undepreciated percentage (remaining life proportion).
There is a difference in the replacement value and actual cost to rebuild because of differences in exterior finish (brick vs stucco vs wood siding) and a vast difference in every aspect of the interior from carpets vs wood floors to the quality of appliances and the furnishings that were inside.
If you are asking because you feel you are not getting a fair price from your insurance company, ask to see their adjusters information including license number, area of normal work, and his appraisal of the damage. If you still don't like it, ask the insurance company if you can use a 3rd party adjuster of your choice for a second opinion.
If you have any questions, don't hesistate to contact me.
Brian Rayl, REALTORÂ®, e-PRO
Keller Williams Elite Dallas Park Cities
Lynn911 Dallas Realtor & Consultant, Loan Officer, Credit Repair Advisor
The Michael Group - Dallas Business Journal Top Ranked Realtors
Keller Williams Realty