The size, condition, and location of a home are obvious factors that will affect property value. But there are many less obvious aspects that can have a surprising impact on how much a home is worth, which also affects how much home equity you have.
Here are 20 “hidden” factors that can affect a home’s value.
1. Backyard View
Whether it’s looking out on the ocean, sprawling hills, or a bright cityscape, homes with a scenic view are worth more. One study found that homes with a good view cost an average of 34% more than homes that don’t have a view.
2. Unsightly Properties Close By
The opposite of a good view is an eyesore. An otherwise perfect home can have its value dragged down if it looks out on an abandoned house or a commercial building.
3. Power Lines
Some homebuyers prefer homes that aren’t located too close to power lines because of concerns about their potential health impact. Studies over the years have found evidence that power lines can reduce the value of nearby homes.
4. Suspected Paranormal Activity
Homes rumored to be haunted by ghosts or that have a history of suspected paranormal activity can spook prospective buyers. Convincing evidence of ghosts may be incorporeal, but the impact that rumors of their presence have on home values is real. A British statistician who looked into the matter found that a home suspected of being haunted can see its property value drop by as much as 17%.
5. Unusual Decor or Home Design
An eccentric home can certainly make a statement, but it may not be for everyone. Loud or outdated colors, odd furniture, and strange features can drag down the value of a home.
Houses that serve as more of a blank slate allow buyers to add their own style. Eighty-two percent of Realtors surveyed report that staging homes to appeal to the widest range of buyers can boost the property value by about 10%.
6. Neighborhood Conditions
Homebuyers also pay attention to the neighborhood around a home that they’re considering buying. Poorly maintained homes with uncut lawns can hurt property values for an entire neighborhood. Homes in quiet and well-manicured neighborhoods tend to have higher property values than homes in loud and messy areas.
7. Nearby Cemeteries or Funeral Homes
Homes located near cemeteries have median sales prices that are 12% lower than similar homes without a graveyard nearby. Plus, homes near cemeteries tend to stay on the market for longer. It’s not just the spook factor — there’s also concern that the chemicals used to embalm bodies may seep into the surrounding environment.
8. Proximity to Shops
Having a grocery store or pharmacy nearby can make daily life in a new home more convenient. Being located near a well-known store such as Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods Market, or Aldi can increase a home’s value and its five-year appreciation.
9. Street Names
Even the name of the street can affect the value of a home. An article in The New York Times on the correlation between street name and property value found that common street names tend to be valued slightly lower. In addition, addresses that end in “street” tend to have a lower value.
10. School District Quality
For homebuyers who have kids or are planning to have them, the school district can be a major factor in the home they choose. The National Association of Realtors found that 53% of homebuyers with kids say the quality of the school district is important to them.
Many homebuyers prioritize privacy and not having to worry about anyone peeking in on them. If you have kids or dogs, you also may want the ability to keep them fenced in the yard. Adding a fence can be functional and could give your home’s value a boost.
12. Train Tracks Close By
Homes located close to train tracks can be subject to more noise, vibrations, air pollution, and traffic. As a result, those property values tend to be lower than the ones of homes that aren’t near train tracks. However, homes located near a commuter station tend to be more expensive due to the convenience.
13. Registered Sex Offenders in the Neighborhood
Convicted sex offenders are required to register their residence and some of the details of the crime. Because this information is easily available online, the presence of one or more sex offenders can negatively affect local property values. The Atlantic Economic Journal published a study in 2016 showing that living within 0.3 miles of a registered sex offender can ding a home’s value by 3% to 7%.
14. Distance to Airport
Homes that are located close to an airport tend to have lower property values. Though it might be convenient to quickly hop on a plane, living near an airport also comes with downsides such as noise and air pollution that could hold back the home’s value.
15. High-Profile Crimes
If a high-profile crime or violent death has taken place at the home, it can put a damper on the property’s desirability. According to NAR, violent crimes often have a strong negative impact on both the site of the crime and neighboring homes. One study from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology found that being in the same neighborhood as a home where an unnatural death occurred hurts a home’s value by as much as 10%.
16. Major Roads
If there’s a lot of traffic in the area, that also can affect property values. Homes near major roads may be more exposed to traffic accidents, noise, and air pollution.
17. Proximity to Natural Resource Industry
Living near the gas and oil extracting industry comes with certain health risks — including groundwater contamination. As a result, those homes tend to have lower property values. A Duke University study found that Pennsylvania homeowners lose up to 24% of their property value if they live within 1.25 miles of a gas well.
Some homebuyers avoid homes that have rear alleys due to safety concerns and the desire to have more outdoor space. According to one study from the University of Texas, homes with rear-entry alleyways sold for 5% less than homes without them.
Trees can improve the aesthetic of a yard and provide shade from the sun as well as protection from the elements. Trees also can help you save money on heating and air conditioning. Having healthy trees on your property can increase its value by 3% to 15%.
20. Corner Lot
Some buyers prefer corner lots because they offer more space and privacy. As a result, some home builders charge more for homes that are located on corner lots.
However, this isn’t always the case. In some markets, there’s no discernable price difference between homes on a corner lot and those located in the center of the block.
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about factors that affect home values.