There’s more that goes into the value of a home than square feet and the number of bathrooms. More often than not, the biggest influence on what a home actually sells for is still location, location, location. After all, you can change a home but you can’t move the land. Whether you’re looking to buy or sell a home, keep in mind that these five location-based factors are likely to swing the value up or down:
1. Nearby Schools
Schools have a significant impact on the desirability of a property. If there is a reputable school nearby, buyers will be willing to make sacrifices to live there. A house near a top-rated school could snag tens of thousands more than a comparable one elsewhere. On the other hand, a school with a poor rating will have a negative impact on your property value.
According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, for every dollar spent on public schools in a community, home values increased $20.
2. Neighborhood Conditions
Location within the neighborhood and the presence of children typically influences demand for a property. Homes on cul-de-sacs are more desirable because they see less thru-traffic and seem safer. Neighborhoods with lots of families will draw buyers who have children, while messy neighbors or numerous nearby foreclosures can decrease value.
3. The Road Situation
Homes located off high-traffic streets are typically a tougher sell because it can be a pain to get in and out of the driveway. Nearby dirt and gravel roads – despite typically seeing less traffic – are typically viewed as negatives because of the mess they can stir up for cars and home exteriors.
On the plus side, close proximity to an interstate should give home value a boost as long as the road isn’t within view and the traffic noise doesn’t travel all the way to home’s interior. Which leads to…
4. The Noise Factor
Not to say they aren’t out there, but few home owners enjoy the sound of rattling train tracks or spinning propellers. If freight trains or jumbo jets can be heard daily, then, yes, you can expect a home to sell for less than it would otherwise.
But there are less obvious sources of noise pollution that can also drag a price down. Major hospitals can be a source of helicopter traffic as patients are transported in and out. Manufacturing plants often produce symphonies of growling diesel engines and grinding metal. And while it may be comforting to have a fire station within a few blocks, keep in mind that the blaring of fire engines will also be nearby.
5. Future Development
Pay attention to the developments happening. If there are positive additions in the works, a home could be more desirable, and the value may rise. This will be especially true if the developments improve walkability. If there are plans for a theatre or upscale grocery to go up within walking distance, you can expect a nice boost to home value.
If a builder doesn’t consider and answer to the needs of the community, you could be looking at a decrease in home value. A high-rise with no retail and insufficient parking doesn’t contribute to the community. Instead, it increases traffic and can make parking a nightmare.
Always Look Beyond the Home
The physical attributes of a home depreciate over time. Demand for homes fluctuates. But a home in a great location will always give you a leg up for a profitable resale. While many location-based factors may not affect whether you want to live in a home, just remember that they’re almost certain to influence what a home will sell for. So, whether you’re looking to buy or sell, make sure to take a hard look at a home’s surroundings when you consider its current and future value.