Square Footage or Updates?

Asked by Ann Du, Austin, TX Wed Jan 30, 2013

Looking at buying a house just over 1300 sq ft build in '79. It has an updated kitchen, bath, roof, HVAC, large covered back patio. All-in-all looks good and great schools. Price per sq ft is at the high end at $115. Comps are closer to $100-$105. Should I look for a bigger house with some cosmetic work instead for better price appreciation?

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Betina Forem…, Agent, Austin, TX
Thu Jan 31, 2013
Dear UT Horn,
Having comps is great but you have to make sure they are really comperable properties. Just because they are in the same neighborhood and same square footage does not make them equal. Some other things to be considered are: level of finish out (does one have granite instead of formica? What is the age of the homes used in the comps? You can't compare a 1979 build with a 2009 built home. Have the kitchen and bathrooms been updated?), are the lots the same size? Does one back up to a Greenbelt or a Walmart? Is it a one story or two story (that makes a difference)? Does it have a pool or perhaps a 3 car garage? There are many factors to consider when running comps. I suggest you get a Realtor to help you with the details.

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JOSEPH E JAR…, Agent, Austin, TX
Wed Jan 30, 2013
I just noticed it says you are a real estate pro as well. Therefore you should have all the information you need to make an informed decision. If that is a typo or you selected the wrong category, feel free to contact me and I will do all I can to assist you. Thanks, Joe
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JOSEPH E JAR…, Agent, Austin, TX
Wed Jan 30, 2013
UTHorn, without knowing more specifics such as the area, finish out quality, where you got your comps from, etc., etc., this is pretty much an impossible question to answer. And don't forget, even at $115 per square foot, that is just an asking price.

What I believe you need is the help of a qualified, experienced Realtor such as myself to run accurate comps and examine your specific situation and goals, and try to help you figure if this house is the right house for you, or if you should be looking at something else. Your question only exposes the tip of the iceberg and without a lot more information, nobody can really give you a qualified answer.

If you're not yet working with a Realtor, please give me a call and we can discuss working together. I represent buyers like you at no cost, and I have a lot of experience as a Realtor, Investor, and owner of a home building company that can be of great value to you. I also represent buyers at no cost to you as well.

Feel free to click on my name, review my Credentials and Client Testimonials, and let me know if I may be of assistance.

Joe Jarusinsky, Realtor/Master Instructor, Keller Williams Realty, Austin's #1 Real Estate Company, Ranked #1 by Buyers and Sellers (JD Power & Assoc. 2012)
Call 512-261-4415
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Claire McInt…, Agent, Austin, TX
Wed Jan 30, 2013
Are you sure you are comparing apples to apples? That is do you actually have price/s.f. for true comps? If so, for the improvements you mentioned the extra $/s.f may indeed be worth it. It's done and you can move in! However, if you like a project and are willing to do some work yourself then yes, there could be more price appreciation in finding a house that needs some things done.

I offer a comprehensive service as an Architect, Broker-Realtor, Builder. If you need representation, I can help. We help our clients find a property and remodel it for them allowing them to do some work themselves to save.

Claire McIntyre, Architect, Broker-Realtor, Builder
MMI McIntyre Associates
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Ann Du, Landlord, Austin, TX
Wed Jan 30, 2013
The Parke at Anderson Mill. Kitchen has granite counters, newer cabinets, tile in kitchen, bath & dining. Fresh interior & exterior paint. HVAC 2006, roof 2009
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Dan Tabit, Agent, Issaquah, WA
Wed Jan 30, 2013
Price per square foot is just one means to determine value. The smaller a home is the higher the price per square foot typically is. I sold a starter home in my area for a higher price per square foot then a luxury home 3 blocks away. The difference at the time was dramatic and demonstrates the weakiness of relying on this method.
In determining real value there is no substitue for a great local agent with a full comparative market analysis.
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Guy Gimenez, Agent, Austin, TX
Wed Jan 30, 2013
In what subdivision is the property located? What specific updates have been completed and when (granite, new floor tile, wood or laminate flooring, lighting, popcorn removed, when were roof and HVAC replaced)? Do you wish to undertake remodeling yourself if you don't purchase the subject property? As a both a broker and rehabber, you will need to give these things careful consideration before making a decision.
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Steven Nusin…, Agent, Austin, TX
Wed Jan 30, 2013
Smaller houses command a higher price per sq. ft....provided it has 3 bedrooms.(2 baths would be ideal). I would suspect a pretty thorough cosmetic improvement would cost close to $10/sq.ft.

Since the home has a new roof and HVAC in addition to the updates, it seems like a fair price from what you are describing.

Obviously, not having any specific information, it is difficult to analyze. I would be happy to do a more detailed analysis without obligation.(assuming you are not working with another Realtor)

Steve Nusinow
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Bill Austin, Agent, Austin, TX
Wed Jan 30, 2013
Not enough information to help. As a buyer having a REALTOR work for you costs you nothing. I"d recommend connecting with one of us for an in depth analysis of the home and area SOLD comps.
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