The value of a home is calculated from much more than the house itself. The house next door, the width of the street, the age of the trees, all contribute to it’s value too.

Let’s zoom out. Are public amenities, such as parks and libraries, nearby? Land value will be higher if this is the case. How far is the house from the Capitol Square and UW, the two major employment centers downtown? Generally, (with a few exceptions), land value will be higher closer to these areas, and gradually decrease further away.

Higher land value usually means closer proximity to downtown, which for Madison, having become somewhat of a “boutique city” as of late, can be an indication of neighborhood quality. To accommodate that higher price of land, lots are smaller, and density is higher.

205 Highland Ave 205 Highland Ave blog1_2 7229 Iris Bloom Dr

There are countless factors to take into consideration when it comes to understanding a property’s value. And, when buyers look at homes with a strict price point in mind, they will likely have to sacrifice certain items on their wish list. Finding a home in a great neighborhood-with walkable streets, proximity to local businesses and public services-that also has the square footage to accommodate a family, can be incredibly difficult. The price of a property that has both the neighborhood and the space that many buyers seek can be well-above price limits. The house one can purchase in a desirable neighborhood is just a fraction of the house one can purchase in a less sought-after neighborhood.

205 Highland Ave, a 2 bedroom 1 bath cape cod with 1,130 square feet on a .1 acre lot, is for sale for $269,900. And so is 7229 Iris Bloom Dr, a 3 bedroom 3.5 bath colonial-inspired home with 1,794 above grade square feet plus a finished basement and two-car garage, on a .16 acre lot, for the same price. Although the Highland Ave property is 74 years older than the Iris Bloom Dr property, both appear to be in great condition.

Why are these two properties the same price? The Highland Ave house is one block from West High, and is walking distance to shops on Old University Ave and Regent St. It’s an older neighborhood, meaning the streets are pedestrian-friendly, and the trees are mature. But, your house is just a few feet from your neighbors, which could contribute to a lack of privacy. Speaking of lack of privacy, good luck sharing that one bathroom.

The Iris Bloom Dr house is on the southwest outskirts of Madison, near Verona. The subdivision is only a decade old. It’s car-oriented, and the lots are larger, though while more spread-out, the lack of mature trees could also contribute to a lack of privacy. It is close to many parks, but access to other neighborhood amenities requires a car.

While the value of these homes on paper is the same, comparing them is comparing apples to oranges. When looking for your new house, think, “What do I value in a home? What’s most important to me?” Is it the charming Highland Ave streetscape? Or three and a half baths and a two-car garage on Iris Bloom Dr?

Source: Photos and listing details from South Central Wisconsin MLS.

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