Appraisals, Home Sales and Green Lies

McMansion under construction by merfam

Remember when people where trending on such topics as “downsizing” and “simple living?”  It seems like just yesterday.  With untold McMansions listing in their weed-infested suburbs across the U.S. it would seem that the time was indeed ripe for reason to reenter our housing market and smaller footprints and more practical usage of square footage to be valued and rewarded.  The only problem is that downsizing is easy to talk about and hard to do.

American’s love things big.  As my wife and I have listed our 4 bed 3 bath, 1990 sq. ft. home in SLC for sale we have discovered that it is too small to demand top dollar (in our current crappy homes market).  I thought such a home would be ideal for all the people who have been talking about downsizing from their 3,000 sq. ft. 3 bed and 3 bath houses.  But, apparently there aren’t any such people.  What there are, are people who are looking for their first home and finding that 2,000 sq. ft. just isn’t big enough.

Redonculous.  Undergirding current U.S. home sales, or lack of them, is a symptom of our addiction to size.  Appraisers and Realtors still evaluate homes by dollar per sq. ft.  I realize this is a handy little tool to come up with a quick and dirty estimate of a home’s value.  But seriously.  Any builder can come up with stupid ways to waste square footage in order to drop this ratio.  The 1990’s stand as proof.  For decades now U.S. homes have attempted to find all sorts of ways to bloat themselves just for the sake of bloatage – no practical use at all.

I design a home with practical and usable spaces, small bedrooms, custom-built closets and multi-use family spaces and it gets undervalued in the market because it doesn’t waste space well enough.  Realtors advise their clients to steer clear, because after all, they can find a home with more square footage for the same price.  And we all know that bigger is better.  Well, my family’s is about to experience a gypsy’s square footage, if we can ever sell this just less than 2,000 sq. ft. house.  Maybe I’ll add a 1,000 sq. ft dirt room on the back.

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