Most real estate searches begin and end with square footage and number of bedrooms. It could also be legitimately argued that these two property attributes sway a listing price more than any other. This is significant, and it often seems that the number of rooms and the blue print size of a house are given too much attention.

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I truly believe that square footage and number of bedrooms need to be put in perspective from a buyer standpoint. While they are surely components that you should factor into your decision, they should not lead the charge forever and always.

Below are some quick ways to put these two listing descriptors into perspective for a property you might be considering.

Analyze how much of a listed square footage is practical space

Just because a house is listed at 4,000 square feet instead of 3,500 doesn’t mean that it should inherently demand a higher asking price. It’s all about how that square footage is arranged with regards to practicality and living efficiency. If a large chunk of a property’s square footage is housed within an oversized furnace room, it shouldn’t inflate the asking price.

Square footage is an indicator of how large a house is, but until you analyze exactly what the layout is and how the space is arranged, there’s no way to develop a clear picture. A house with less square footage that is organized for a more comfortable living situation is much more important than a higher number.

Pay attention to square footage, but also understand that until the house is physically looked at, numbers can be deceiving. Any fluctuation in price on the scale of real estate is significant enough to clarify each and every unique attribute of a property.

Study the arrangement, style and type of bedrooms

Just because a home with four bedrooms is the same price as one in the same are with three doesn’t necessarily mean that it should get an advantage on closing day. How are those rooms arranged with relation to your personal needs? If you have young children, are the rooms aside from the master far enough away to limit noise? In the house with three bedrooms, is there a room that would be zoned as a legal room if it just had an additional door or window?

The number of bedrooms is a very common way to start searching for properties, but it’s misleading. The layout of the rooms in a home, and the way that the rooms are specifically constructed should be a top priority for you in the search. Let the numbers be a reference point, but don’t let them guide your decision.

Highlight other property characteristics

While square footage and number of rooms are getting too much attention, other property attributes aren’t getting enough. Although listings are created and organized by certain features, it doesn’t mean that the ones not highlighted are irrelevant. Neighborhood, associated school zone, type of roof, seller history and public transport are additional factors that deserve equivalent consideration.

The hard part for buyers is that real estate searches inherently start by detailing how many bedrooms, price and what square footage is being sought. Property specifications are wide-ranging, and the more you understand this, the better off you’ll be throughout a real estate transaction.

Tim Richmond writes about Native American mortgages for 1st Tribal Lending.

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