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Are All Square Feet Created Equal?

August 01, 2014

Building or purchasing a new home is a whirlwind of excitement! In today’s market, homebuyers have a plethora of flexible floor plans and homes to choose from! With almost unlimited options, buyers are often confronted with difficult decisions begging questions such as, “How many square feet are in this home?”, “How large is this floor plan?”, and worse, “What is the price per square foot?” Rather than focusing on the functional use of the home, many home searchers turn the hunt into a numbers game letting the size and square feet dictate their home buying decision.  Often, buyers even let the square footage measurements outweigh the value of the home design itself!

The All Too Common Question: What is Your Price per Square Foot?

At Eastwood Homes, we are often asked, “What is your price per square foot?” Although we are more than happy to answer this question, we warn our buyers to beware of the implications behind such a simple question. There are many different metrics used to determine the total square feet within a home. These metrics can vary greatly from builder to builder and even architect to architect.  Oftentimes, the total measurement ends up including all portions of the home, not just the usable portions. For example, the total measurement may include a closet used for housing a hot water heater. Although this does add space to the home, it doesn’t add usable space! Discrepancies altering the square feet can also come from the addition of extra spaces such as sunrooms, screen-porches, basements, bonus rooms, and more.  Calculations regarding square feet are tricky! For this reason, home buyers should be wary when trying to compare apples to apples from one home to the next. In reality, it may be more like comparing apples and oranges. Without knowing all the extenuating factors and the exact measurement style conducted, a concrete comparison is almost impossible. The price per square foot should be determined by the value you place upon the home and the usable spaces provided!

The Better Question: Is the Plan Design Suitable For You and Your Family?

Rather than simply asking the price per square foot, we remind our homebuyers to examine the functionality of the floor plan. Regardless of the measurement, would this plan design be suitable for you and your family?  In today’s market, the value of certain rooms varies greatly from what was once the norm in yesteryear. Formal living and dining areas are not as desirable as they once were. Sure, a formal living area can greatly add to the size of the home, but is this a space that will be used? If not, why consider the extra square footage? It will simply turn into an unnecessary obligation and space for you to maintain and worst of all, keep tidy!  For the modern family, it seems the great room and kitchen areas are of utmost importance.  In lieu of a plan that includes a formal living or dining area, one might opt for an overall smaller home with a more spacious kitchen, larger great room area, or possibly even a loft for recreation and relaxation. The smaller home isn’t as large in terms of measurement, but the size of the usable space becomes so much more valuable. Our advice is to focus on the high-traffic areas. Envision your life and determine where you and your family will spend the most time. These are the areas where you should be concerned about space. In all other areas, it is just a measurement.

Different families have different needs.  In some households, the formal living and dining rooms may be high-traffic areas. In others, the formal living and dining areas may be obsolete.  Either scenario is acceptable. When searching for a new home, keep in mind what spaces are truly important. Examine each and every room and ask yourself how and when you will use the space. Our advice: Bigger is not always better; focus on functionality, not on the footage.

Eastwood Homes, New Homes, Design

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