How do you put a price tag on finding your dream home? If you’re buying or selling in today’s market, you know all too well that there are a number of factors that come into play to determine a home’s value.
Some of these considerations are obvious. There’s the square footage, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and the size of your lot. You can also factor in amenities, such as if the home has heating and air conditioning, comes with appliances, has undergone renovations or requires significant repairs.
Before you sell or purchase a home, a top real estate agent, whether full-price or discount, will look at all of these factors — and more — to help you set a listing price or a bid. What they take into account may surprise you.
Here’s a look at 21 surprising things that affect home values.
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Related: How to sell your house fast for cash
1. Proximity to a grocery store
You’ve probably heard that buyers like to know how close a home is to a good school. That’s true, but being close to a grocery store can instantly add big value to your home.
During the past decade, homes located near a Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods appreciated in value twice as much as other comparable homes. Homes within half a mile to a mile of a Walmart also increased in value year after year. This trend holds true overseas as well. In the U.K., homes near the upscale Waitrose chain were valued at an average of £36,000 — or about $49,000 USD — more than others.
2. The closest Starbucks fix
Supermarkets aren’t the only chain stores adding value to homes. According to Zillow, homes located within a quarter mile of Starbucks increased in value by 96% during the last decade. Either people are eager to get their caffeine fixes or Starbucks has a knack for building locations in up-and-coming neighborhoods. Whatever the reason, a realtor will tell you that’s some added value to your bottom line.
3. Legalized marijuana
In 2021, 91% of American adults believe marijuna usage should be legalized in some form, with a further 60% supporting legalizing recreational usage. As public support grows, the industry is projected to be worth $30 billion by 2025. That booming industry seems to be having a positive impact on home values.
A 2021 study found that home values increased $6,338 between 2017 and 2019 in states where marijuana is legal in some form. This comes as a result of states investing sales tax from marijuna sales in infrastructure and public services, which in turn increase demand — and add values — for real estate.
4. Trees, please
You’ve heard real estate agents talk about curb appeal. One of the best ways to add curb appeal and value to your home is with a privacy tree. According to the Council of Tree and Landscape Approvers, planting a tree instantly adds between $1,000 and $10,000 in value to your home.
The trees don’t just look good; they can also save you money over time. A mature tree planted on your home’s west side can reduce energy bills by 12%. Plus, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that young trees have the same cooling effect as 10 room-size air conditioners running for 20 hours a day.
5. Green spaces in the neighborhood
Just like having a privacy tree in your front yard can increase your home’s value, so can living on a tree-lined street. A study by Landscape and Urban Planning found that street trees increased the value of a home by thousands of dollars. They also reduced the amount of time a home spends on the market, a bonus value when it comes time to sell. Plus, neighborhoods with designated green spaces, such as parks and community gardens, can increase a home’s value between 8% and 20%.
6. Your neighbors
Love them or hate them, your neighbors can have an impact on your home’s value during a sale. If your neighbors regularly mow their lawn and keep the bushes neatly trimmed, you can see an increase in your home’s value. At the same time, unkempt lawns can reduce your home’s value, and you may end up with a service such as We Buy Ugly Houses buying your home.
In addition, if you live in a neighborhood that has had a lot of foreclosures in recent years, this can negatively affect your home’s value. Foreclosures are typically sold at a discounted rate. If multiple properties are sold at a discount in one neighborhood, it can lower the market value of the whole area.
7. A black front door
While it’s always important to have a sharp-looking exterior and curb appeal, there’s one particular part of a home that can instantly add value. According to Zillow, homes that had their doors painted black or charcoal sold for more than $6,000 than expected.
Before you go out and buy a can of black paint, make sure the color will suit the rest of your home’s exterior. Some homes, particularly historical structures, will be more valuable if you go with a traditional color palette instead.
8. Paint color
Your favorite color might be hot pink, but according to a study by Zillow, prospective home buyers favor blue. The study found that homes with walls painted in shades of blue or light gray tend to sell for $5,440 more than anticipated.
Paint color matters on the outside, too. Homes painted “greige” — a combination of beige and light gray — sold for $3,496 more than comparable homes painted in other colors. So paint your home whatever color suits your heart, but if you’re looking to increase its value before selling, grab some paint cans and brushes to give it a makeover.
9. Street name
If you’re deciding between buying a house on Main Street or Lake Place, picking one over the other could add more — or less — value to your home. A study found that homes on Main Street sold for 44% less than other homes. At the same time, streets named after trees, presidents, and famous locations tend to sell at a higher price.
Even the suffix of your street name can make a difference. Another study found that homes with “Boulevard” in the street name sold for $117 per square foot, and streets with “Place” sold for $110 per square foot. In comparison, addresses with “Drive” sold for $96 per square foot, and addresses with the word “Street” sold for $86 per square foot.
10. House numbers
The number 13 isn’t only unlucky on Fridays. If you are the owner of a home with the number 13 in the address, you may find it difficult to sell your home for the full asking price.
According to a study done in the U.K., found that homes with the number 13 in their addresses took longer to sell — and sold for significantly less — than their neighbors. In one city, homes with the number 13 sold for as much as 40% less! If you aren’t the superstitious type, you might be able to get a bargain on your new home.
11. Infamous death or crime
True crime may be hotter than ever, but that doesn’t mean it will benefit your home’s value. If you own property where an infamous murder, death or crime happened, you can expect to find yourself short on potential buyers. Most people are turned off by the notion of living where a gruesome death occurred, and when there is a lack of demand, the value of your property will decrease along with it.
Not all states require homeowners to disclose this information during a sale, so you will want to check on this with a local real estate agent or discount broker, such as Assist-2-Sell. In some cases, especially if a case received significant media coverage, you won’t have to worry about making a disclosure. Prospective buyers will already know.
12. Proximity to sports
A diehard sports fan has no limit to how much they love their team. Many are even willing to prove it by spending big bucks to live closer to their team’s home base.
A study found that in major sports markets, moving a home one mile closer to a team’s stadium or arena increased its value by $793. Building a new arena for a team can also pay off. Another study reported that a new pro sports stadium elevated the value of homes within a 2.5-mile radius an average of $2,000.
13. Surf break access
It’s often said that the carnal rule of real estate is location, location, location. You will find that’s true when it comes to your property and how close you live to a surf break. A surf break is a naturally occurring obstruction that causes surfable waves to form in the water. If you are lucky enough to live within half a mile to a place where rocks or coral reefs create natural surf breaks, you can thank Mother Nature for adding about $106,000 in value to your home.
14. Too many customizations
When you find your dream home, you should customize it to suit your tastes and needs. However, when it comes time to sell, some of these personalizations can negatively affect your ability to sell your home.
For example, if you opt to update your kitchen with lower or higher countertops to suit your height, many buyers may ask for a price reduction — or pass on the house altogether — knowing they will need to renovate. Also, if your customizations come at the cost of other home components, such as replacing the roof or installing quality insulation, you will see less or no return on your investment.
15. Inconsistent upgrades
When updating or renovating your home, it’s important to spread the love throughout your home; otherwise you could risk a loss of overall value.
For example, if you shell out big bucks to install subway tiles and a farmhouse sink in your kitchen but leave shag carpet from the ’70s in your living room, you’ll likely turn off potential buyers. Also, cutting costs and corners by using cheap materials can have a negative impact on your home’s overall value when it comes time to sell, especially if you decide to sell by owner.
16. Energy efficiency
By making your home more energy-efficient, you can not only save yourself money in monthly utilities, but you can also add to its overall value. According to a study by the Department of Energy, big-ticket updates, such as installing solar panels can increase the value of your home by an average of $15,000. You can also add to your home’s value by updating its insulation, roof, and windows. Upgrading your insulation alone can have a 116% return on investment.
17. Community art
According to a study, more than 70% of Americans believe arts add value to their community. That value goes all the way to the bank in terms of real estate. Community art projects have increased residential and commercial property values in cities, such as Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, St. Louis and beyond. The Cultural Trail in Indianapolis has increased property values in the surrounding community by $1 billion.
While your proximity community art projects can have a positive impact on your home’s value, you can expect the opposite when it comes to billboards. A study of real estate in Philadelphia found that properties located within 500 feet of a billboard were valued at $30,826 less than homes a greater distance away. The same study found that home values decreased by $1,000 for each additional billboard within an area.
19. Future plans for the area
Not every home amenity can be found in the home itself. Some of the most desired items on prospective buyers’ wish lists include proximity to major roads, public transportation, and other community infrastructure. In some places, being close to public transit lines can increase a home’s value by 150%.
If you own property close to a planned and highly publicized public works project — such as a new bypass to access the interstate or a subway station — you can expect to see your home’s value increase.
20. Gas prices
While there is not a lot the average person can do about fluctuating gas prices, the rise and fall in fuel costs can have an impact on your home’s value. As home buyers look for ways to save money behind the wheel, they are willing to spend more on where they live. One study found that when gas prices increased, properties located closer to Las Vegas rose in value by up to $5,600. At the same time, the value of homes located in outer suburbs decreased by $7,850.
21. Smart home technology
Thanks to the fast development of smart technology, Batman isn’t the only person who can outfit his home with high-tech gadgets. According to a survey, the two most popular smart tech devices for homes are home security systems and climate controls that you can control with a mobile device.
While there are varying reports on how much value these devices will add to your home, you can expect to see anywhere from a 5% to 35% increase. Consult with a local real estate agent, whether full-price or low-commission, to find out how much local buyers are paying for these bonuses in your area.
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