The Houston home four way
Where does one start?
When contemplating buying a home, there are the typical qualifying considerations. Usually, buyers start with hard data that seems easy to answer like square footage, price, number of bedrooms, number of garages and general geographical area. Then they walk into something that just feels right, and some, if not all of the logistical bullet points are discarded in favor of the emotional I-just-have-to-have-this buying strategy.
Comparing homes can feel like deciding whom to date. This one may have the pool, but that one has the bigger open kitchen. This one has incredible character, but that one is new and most-likely issue free with a warranty. This one has the pretty granite, while that one has the wine room.
Things even get more complicated as we explore what a typical home means for different Houston areas. It is no surprise why some experience what is endearingly referred to as “house drunk” as options are researched and assessed.
We sought the help of top Realtors with expertise in different areas and asked: Is there such thing as a typical 3,500 square foot home?
Michele Sergie of "The Power of Three" Team at RE/MAX Southwest describes the spirit of West University “as a neighborhood with soul, where people still walk the streets, know their neighbors and go to the local parks.” Although a classic home in this charismatic area dates from the 1920s to 1940s, there is a fair number that are updated while preserving their original charm.
Cottage style bungalows range between 1,200 to 1,700 square feet, while the need for larger homes arose much later in the 1980s.
In searching for a 3,500 square foot home in the West University area, Sergie suggests 4209 Emory. Built in 2005, this home boasts the typical and expected decorative and structural elements of recent construction such as a Mediterranean stucco elevation with a modern flair, granite countertops, stainless steel semi-professional appliances and an energy savings radiant barrier.
Currently listed at $769,000 at 3,504 square feet with a 5,000 square foot lot, we round down to $219 per square foot.
Is the Medical Center area similar?
According to Bo Mekmorakod of Keller Williams Metropolitan, the price range of Medical Center homes are across the board. Particularly in Southhampton, single-family homes can range from one million to over three million for new construction.
“Living in Southhampton,” Mekmorakod says, “reminds me of living in Mayberry but in the heart of the city. It is a mixture of a stroller city with old world charm.“
Many mature oak trees shelter Southhampton from the urban landscape of the Medical Center. “You will see children playing in the yard along with retired residents who have lived there most of their lives.” Poe Elementary School’s advanced Vanguard Program makes this area extremely desirable for families.
Although the older bungalow type homes start in the mid 300s, most are purchased for lot value or to remodel. Built in 2003, Mekmorakod’s personal favorite is a modern custom home designed by architect Allen Bianchi. Yes, 2230 Tangley is on the higher side in terms of price per square foot, however, Southhampton can support higher values.
Allen Bianchi balances functional and sophisticated aspects with a geometric and minimalist approach to design. Unique features like a screened balcony off the master suite, sun room and finished quarters over the garage with a separate entrance are complemented by stained concrete flooring, professional appliances, and a floating dramatic staircase.
Offered at $1.25 million at 3,987 square feet on a 5,675 square foot lot, we round up to $314 per square foot.
The wild west
The area nestled between Interstate 10 and FM 1093 has been one of the fastest growing markets in the Greater Houston area for the past five years. Value amenities include close proximity to the Energy Corridor, magnificent master planned communities and a highly-ranked school district.
Christi Borden of Prudential Gary Greene Realtors explains, “South Katy has been recognized as the second fastest growing community in the U.S. It is a strong and viable real estate market and a wonderful place to raise a family.” Homes prices and sizes are generally organized by lot area ranging from 55-foot-wide lots for lower end homes all the way to 80-foot-wide lots and above for high-end production and custom homes.
Built in 2001 by Trendmaker Homes, 22210 Baron Cove is located in Grand Lakes, Gold Award winner for the Best Large Community by the National Association of Home Builders Best of American Living Competition. A traditional design, two-story home in Grand Lakes typically has four-plus bedrooms, three and one-half baths, a formal living or study, an open family room adjacent to a kitchen, a game room and a two or three-car garage.
This property adds some additional custom details like a porte-cochere, a dramatic stairwell and a seating area of the master with a fireplace. On a waterfront and cul-de-sac lot, 22210 Baron Cove is listed for $399,000 with 3,768 square feet, averaging $106 per square foot.
Homes and space
In the 1960s, the space race led to spirited and fast development of the Clear Lake area, encompassing roughly 125 square miles between Houston and Galveston. The establishment of NASA created a catalyst of residential and commercial growth that continues to this day. A large 2000-acre inlet of Galveston Bay, Clear Lake hosts a myriad of marinas attracting yachts, sporting and finishing boats.
Pine Brook, a neighborhood within the Clear Lake area is "a very family oriented neighborhood bursting with children and everyone is engaged at all times," explains area expert Karen Gandy of Keller Williams Realty Clear Lake/ NASA. "It is a community where residents actively enjoy the beautiful natural surroundings, packing a lot of value compared to other Bay Area neighborhoods."
The large shady trees must have had a positive effect on the residents as Keep Houston Beautiful awarded them $1,000 for being the best recycler neighborhood in the city.
Built in 1998, 4215 Olive Oak Ct. resides within the newer area of Pine Brook and shows off some delicious recent updates. Late 1990s homes typically had carpet and rust color tile installed, now replaced with Emperador dark Spanish marble, oversize tile, rich granite countertops and gourmet stainless appliances including a warming drawer. Located in a cul-de-sac, this huge 12,750-square-foot lot accommodates a tropical pool and a vegetable garden growing oranges, lemons, tomatoes, asparagus, and basil.
At 3,988 square feet and listed for $450,000 — $113 per square packs in a lot of value.
Whether you are a beach bum, a wholesome family, a trendy entrepreneur or the social butterfly, you have a lot to think about. If money was not an object, do you know what you would do?