Strange Factors that Affect Home Values

Marni Epstein-MervisSeptember 10, 2018

Most of the things that affect home value are obvious. You can look at size, location and all the facts and figures included in online home listings, and most of the time the number on a home’s price tag makes sense. Sometimes, though, there are oddball factors hidden in plain sight. They can secretly add or subtract thousands of dollars when you never would have guessed it. Check out five of the weirder reasons that a home’s value can rise or fall.

Proximity to Trader Joe’s

We often talk about how high-quality schools and parks raise property value, but a home’s proximity to Trader Joe’s grocery store can also do wonders. According to a study by real estate research group ATTOM Data Solutions, the average value of homes near Trader Joe’s have soared over the last five years. It could be that Trader Joe’s has a knack for predicting the next up-and-coming neighborhood, or that its very presence alone creates new up-and-coming neighborhoods. Whatever the case may be, the results are something for any aspiring homeowner to consider.

Street Names

What’s in a name? More than you might think. If you live on a “street” as opposed to a “boulevard” for example, chances are that home will sell for a little less. This is according to a study in the New York Times that compiled years of data about sales and listings. Homes on “streets” are almost always among the least valuable – partly because the suffix became popular in the 50s and homes located on “streets” tend to be a little older. While most home buyers probably don’t pay much attention to street signs, it turns out they could be somewhere to start if you’re looking for homes that are more affordable.

Exterior Eyesores

It should come as no surprise that homes with breathtaking views go up in value. What might not always be top of mind is that the reverse can also be true. Homes with obstructed or unappealing view can be negatively affected in price. If you look out a window and see a factory, abandoned building or utility structure like a water or cell phone tower, it doesn’t bode well for the home’s value.

A Highly Publicized Death

Generally, a death inside a home lowers that home’s value because many people are uncomfortable even setting foot in a home where a death occurred. There’s a name for homes that have such an occurrence: stigmatized. Not all states require a seller to disclose a home’s history, so not all homes become stigmatized following a death. But when a highly publicized murder happens – like in the O.J. Simpson case – the disclosure happens on its own. Many of the homes in high-profile murder cases sit on the market for months, plummet in price, or are taken off the market altogether.

Trees and Foliage

In this case, money does grow on trees. According to the National Arbor Day Foundation, trees can substantially raise home value. What makes trees so valuable other than being pretty to look at? They act as a layer of weather protection against heat and cold, blocking sunrays in the summer and bitter winds in the winter. In fact, well positioned trees can reduce air conditioning needs by 30% and save 20-50% in energy used for heating, per the USDA Forest Service.

Stranger Things…In Real Estate

Just like people, homes have their own stories, personalities and countless little quirks. Most quirks don’t factor into a home’s value. Others can swing a price up or down while a home buyer or seller is none the wiser. The surprising things that can affect home value typically aren’t major factors or deal breakers for buyers and sellers. They can be fun to look for, though, and they can make you look at your own home or any home in a whole new way.

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    Marni Epstein-Mervis

    The Rocket Homes blog is here to bring you all you need to know about buying, selling and making the most of your home. Whether you’re thinking about becoming a homeowner, selling your current home or looking to keep your place in tip-top shape, our writers and freelancers bring their experience and expertise to meet you right where you are.