So many of the “how to price a condominium” articles come straight from California. Probably because California has more real estate agents per capita than any other state. Many of the tips apply to most markets but there are a lot of differences too especially in older neighborhoods like Back Bay or Beacon Hill.
Boston real estate is local and that does complicate things a bit. The process of selling a house differs by state and somewhat by the city as far as what kind of inspections are required and sometimes even where the for sale sign can be placed.
Pricing a Beacon Hill condo for sale experience. Rarely do you see a Beacon Hill condo for sale with the same floor plan and fixtures on the same floor just down the street that recently sold that we can use as exact sales data to estimate the value of your Beacon Hill condo. We have to look at sales prices in the area and make adjustments. To be honest some of it is at least partly a hunch based on experience.
Basing your offer Beacon Hill condo for sale price largely on square footage is not something I recommend doing. Though price-per-square-foot is one of the most frequently referenced data points when it comes to Beacon Hill condos for sale, it’s a notoriously unreliable metric.
Beacon Hill real estate by no means is cookie cutter. There’s no standardized square footage source. Sellers and listing agents quote square footage from past appraisals, tax records, and floor plan measure’s and past sales all of which can be very different.
For example, it’s no secret that tax records can be wildly inaccurate and outdated.
Equally important is the fact that Beacon Hill housing inventory varies. For example, there is Beacon Hill for sale that is 5-floor walk-ups, others with an elevator. We also have private roof decks and others with common roof decks or none at all.
Past appraisals can provide accurate square footage counts, but I’ve seen cases where there are two or three appraisals on hand that has all had different numbers. And as you might expect, sellers and agents typically reference the highest number. As one agent recently commented to me, “The square footage sometimes grows over time.” She mentioned one Beacon Hill property, in particular, that had changed hands three times over a ten-year period, and each time, the square footage increased in the MLS.
I’ve heard anecdotes recently from my colleagues about buyers who got into contract on a Beacon Hill condo for sale and ended up making a fuss when their appraisals resulted in significantly less square footage than what the disclosures suggested. Buyers need to prepare themselves for this possibility, especially when they’re writing offers with no appraisal contingencies.
So if you’re comparing values by price-per-square-foot, do so with a grain of salt.
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