How Can Nearly Identical Homes Only a Few Blocks Apart Vary in Price By More Than $10,000?

By Wendy Volk

It happens! Similar homes in the same neighborhood can be priced thousands of dollars apart. How is this possible? Putting aside the interior features that set one home apart from another, certain exterior factors influence price.

One such factor is traffic. Homes situated on primary ingress and egress streets, that is, the main routes leading in and out of a development, generally appreciate slower than homes located off main thoroughfares. Because primary ingresses/egresses carry more traffic, homes lining these busy streets tend to be less desirable.

Similarly, traffic, or lack of it, factors into the price of homes built on cul-de-sacs. Buyers generally are willing to pay more for a home hidden away within a development, where the seemingly maze-like roads discourage drive-throughs.

Another factor influencing price is the town in which the home is located. That’s why properties on one side of a street can be worth more than similar properties across the street. Certain towns or areas are considered to be more prestigious than other communities. Consider Beverly Hills, Calif. This legendary town has a far-reaching reputation for platinum card shopping, mega-million dollar mansions, and glamorous residents. In sections where a street divides Beverly Hills from a neighboring community, the homes standing on the Beverly Hills side of the avenue will command a dearer price than those across the street, in the non-Beverly Hills city.

One more factor that affects price relates to an owner’s reason for selling. Existing homes can differ radically in price when one homeowner wants to sell and another has to sell. The latter, of course, may be more willing to negotiate because this owner feels pressure to sell. The owner who has no constraints may be more difficult to wrestle a bargain from. With the help of a real estate professional, buyers can usually determine who wants to sell and who has to sell. Find the one who “has” to sell and the difference in price can mean tens of thousands of dollars.

The wise buyer considers another factor—a community’s master plan. This is a must, especially if a development or home is surrounded by vacant land. Most communities have such a plan. Usually, city or county planners draw up the plan and the local planning commission reviews and approves it. Find out the plans for the area nearby the home you’re considering and determine how they might impact the home’s value. A real estate professional can frequently be of assistance in this area.

What other factors influence price? Commercial developments adjacent to a residential neighborhood may or may not be desirable. School district and taxing district boundaries as well as supply and demand also figure into the selling price.    

If you take time to do the legwork, your knowledge of the market can pay off handsomely.

Wendy Volk
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