10 Unexpected Factors That Affect Property Value

Rose Morrison

Sep 25, 2020


When considering whether to purchase a home or elements needed to sell for the most profit, you may want to think about the different factors affecting property value. Something as minor as curb appeal impacts how many people want to buy your house and how much they’ll pay for it.

In June 2020, existing home sales rose by 20.7% over May. Part of the reason for the increase is  how much sales dropped in May due to the pandemic. Sales are down a total of 11.3% from the year before. 

Some of the factors affecting property value include common elements such as location, size of home and condition. However, there are other factors influencing how much a house is worth. 

1. Power Lines

Even though the results are inconclusive about whether power lines create health issues, many people don’t want to live near them. They aren’t attractive to look at, and they can buzz and be irritating to people sensitive to stimulus. If you can see power lines from the home, it could affect the property’s selling price. 

There isn’t much you can do to get rid of power lines. Your best course of action is to avoid buying a home with them nearby. 

2. Nearby Registered Sex Offenders

While you can’t control who lives near you, sex offenders in the radius of your home could change the number of people willing to buy and what they’ll pay. There are around 752,000 people listed on state sex offender registries around the U.S. 

Since most states make the registry publicly accessible, many will check it before buying a home. If there are some in the vicinity, it could harm your chances of selling. You should also check the registry and crime reports for an neighborhood before making an offer on a home. While residents can and do change regularly, you don’t want to buy in a known problem area. 

3. Hoarders in the Neighborhood

The next-door neighbor who has a collection of non-running vehicles scattered around his yard and driveway may be affecting property value. People don’t want to live next to an eyesore. Again, you only have so much control over what others do.

Try talking to your neighbors about moving the vehicles inside a garage or to their backyard. If they aren’t receptive, plant shrubs and put up barriers to block out the unsightly view. It might still impact your ability to resell for what you’d like, but at least you’ll add visual appeal to your own home. 

4. Haunted Rumors

Whether there is actually strange paranormal activity in a home, or people just suspect there is, rumors of a house being haunted can drive down the value. Realtor.com surveyed 1,067 Americans and found 49% of respondents would never buy a home they knew was haunted. 

If you believe your house is haunted, you may be required to disclose the information, depending on your state. Talk to your realtor about the best course of action. The ideal situation would be honesty and finding a buyer who is a bit intrigued by the ghost stories. If they love the house enough, they may overlook a little detail, such as a ghost or two.

5. Non-Standard Decor

Everyone has different taste. The teal-colored accent wall in your entryway may be something you love, and potential buyers can’t see past. When selling a home, a little neutral paint can go a long way toward getting offers close to your asking price. 

At the same time, when you hunt for a home, don’t rule it out because it has ugly paint or simple cosmetic issues you can fix for very little money. You might gain a great deal simply because the sellers don’t want to paint. 

6. Neighborhood Comps

If there are many repossessions or vacant homes in your neighborhood, it can dramatically impact your property’s value. Banks often sell homes for much less than market cost. A building sitting empty for months on end also needs repairs, which can alter the price.

When it’s time to sell your home, the realtor will pull up comparable locations and let you know the average selling price. Buyers will be aware of what other houses sell for in the area.

7. Cemeteries

Cemeteries are common in many communities. Unfortunately, proximity to one can jeopardize the value of your home. Some attribute it to superstition and others to the unsettling idea of living beside so many buried bodies, just out of sight. Spooky, right?

Properties that are close to a local cemetery see a drop in value of around 12 percent. Most home buyers don’t want to pass a grim reminder of their own mortality on the way to work every morning. On the other hand, a hardy buyer could nab a great deal if they’re up for seeing tombstones in their backyard.

8. Proximity to Cafés

Here’s something a little less dark. One surprising neighborhood feature can have a positive influence on property value. Homebuyers enjoy cafes within walking distance of their residence, and may even pay more for the privilege. The presence of a nearby coffee shop, also known as the “Starbucks Effect,” has a powerful impact on the way buyers assess worth.

Over 17 years of collecting data, Zillow found that homes adjacent to a Starbucks rose in value by 96 percent, and more distant properties appreciated by 65 percent. The quality of the coffee shop is also a consideration, however, with Dunkin’ lacking the same appeal as its competitor. Moving forward into a community-minded future, boasting walking distance to a locally-owned café could boost your property value even more.

9. The LGBTQ+ Community

Neighborhood inclusivity is attractive for many individuals seeking a sense of community or refuge. Given this context, it’s really not a surprise that sexual orientation can have an impact on neighborhood property values. Gay neighborhoods often see a significant boost in property value for home buyers seeking neighbors with their own sexual orientation.

Trulia’s research found that almost all of these neighborhoods in their study were more expensive than their metros as a whole. Over three years, they calculated that cost per square foot in neighborhoods for gay men rose from $188 to $238. In neighborhoods for gay women, it rose from $133 to $157.

10. Address Suffix

Perception has a powerful influence on property value, whether that perception is perfectly accurate or makes very little sense. In the case of an address suffix, it’s a bit irrational. The name on signs can both positively and negatively affect a home buyer’s perceived value of a property.

Research found that homes located on drives, lanes, avenues and boulevards have a higher cost per square foot than homes on streets. A suffix can mean a whopping 36 percent difference in the asking price of a home, regardless of its actual worth. Between Cherry Lane and Cherry Street, most will prefer the former.

Property Value Factors Can Be Really Strange

There are factors affecting property value that you can control to keep your property value from declining. While you don’t have control over the neighbors, you can offer to pitch in and mow the yard next door. Keep your own home maintained perfectly. Add a fresh coat of paint from time to time, update your landscaping, plant for privacy and curb appeal.

You might still lose a bit of value here and there, but you’ll know you did everything you could to keep your evaluation high.

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