11 Unexpected Factors That Affect Property Value

Peter Chambers

Nov 2, 2022


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Whether you’re buying or selling a home, you have to think about which factors affecting property value impact your listing. Even a feature as minor as curb appeal will influence buyers’ interest and offers, which means you need to look out for what causes property value to increase and decrease. After all, you want to sell your house for the best price — and when you’re buying, you want to pay the lowest price possible.

While standard aspects like location and upgrades determine property value, you might not realize that other factors play a role, too. These include everything from cemeteries to coffee shops to addresses. Take a look at 11 circumstances that affect property values.

1. Power Lines

powerlines in a field at sunset

Even though the results are inconclusive about whether power lines create health issues, many people don’t want to live near them anyway. These wires are an eyesore, and they can buzz and create other noises that irritate those who’re sensitive to stimulus. Any home that has power lines right next to the property will likely cost less as a result.

Unfortunately, you can’t do much to remove power lines. It’s best to just list your home for less to compensate for them. If you don’t want to deal with power lines whatsoever, you should look for homes that don’t have them nearby.

2. Registered Sex Offenders

While you can’t control who lives in your neighborhood, you should note that sex offenders nearby is one of the factors affecting property value that could change how many people want to buy your home, as well as how much they’ll pay. There are around 752,000 people listed on state sex offender registries around the United States. Therefore, you should double-check whether a sex offender lives near your home before you sell.

Most states make sex offender registries available to the public. Expect homebuyers to look up your location’s records to see whether any live nearby your property. There’s nothing you can do to change the fact that a sex offender resides in your neighborhood, but you should remember that point might affect a homebuyer’s decision.

3. Unsightly Properties Nearby

Does your nextdoor neighbor have a pile of car parts in his backyard? If so, his hoarding habits might have an impact on your property’s value. No one wants to live next to an unsightly property. Again, you only have so much control over what others do, but you might be able to reason with your neighbor to find a middleground.

Ask your neighbors to consider cleaning up their properties. If they aren’t receptive, you can check with your municipality to see whether they’re violating any codes. This trick might seem like you’re tattling on them. However, their property’s condition directly affects your home’s value. If you still can’t get anywhere, plant shrubs and install fences 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. Rumors of Paranormal Activity

two people in sheet ghost costumes

This one on our list of factors affecting property value might seem silly, but your house’s value really might fall due to rumors. If your property is known as the creepy, haunted place on the corner, 42% of potential homebuyers will think twice before they put in an offer. That’s true whether you’ve actually seen a ghost or not.

If you believe your house is haunted, you may be required to disclose the information, depending on your state. Talk to your realtor to determine what your next steps should be. If you can find someone who’s interested in homes with spooky stories behind them, you’ll hit the nail on the head. That’s not always possible, though, so be prepared to put in some more work to sell your home.

5. Unique Decor

abstract paintings above cabinet

Everyone has different tastes. While you may love the teal-colored accent wall in your entryway, you might soon realize that many homebuyers don’t share your feelings. That’s not something that has anything to do with you. It’s just about having varying design preferences.

Most real estate agents will tell you to make your home look more palatable to potential buyers. This effort will go a long way to ensure your property’s looks don’t impact anyone’s decision in a negative way. Changes like neutral paint colors and less flashy artwork can make a difference.

Alternatively, you shouldn’t rule out a home just because you hate the trim color. That’s something you can easily fix when you buy the place. Do your best to look past the unsightly decor — and you may be able to find an awesome deal.

6. Neighborhood Conditions

Often, neigborhood conditions will impact your property’s value. For example, repossessions can decrease your home’s worth by a significant margin, as banks sell homes for much less than market cost. Additionally, buildings that sit empty for several months will likely need repairs, which alters the price.

Unfortunately, you can’t magically fix up every property in your area, but your real estate agent will present you with a report that lists comparable homes in the neighborhood. This way, you can guage which figure would work best for a realistic sale price. If you’re buying, remember to do the reverse so you don’t overpay for a house that isn’t worth that much.

It might help to spruce up your home’s interior or exterior, but you still want to be prepared for a lower property value than you may have originally expected.

7. Cemeteries

a cemetery is an unexpected factor that affects property value

There’s no denying that cemeteries are common in many communities. But for some homebuyers, proximity to a graveyard can alter how they view a home. That’s largely due to superstition. Additionally, many homebuyers don’t want to think about what’s in the ground. It can also be a turn-off to have people coming to and from the area, especially when the graveyard sits just beyond your fence.

Keep in mind that homes with cemetery views can sell for 10% less than the mean home price in the area. However, you could luck out by finding someone who doesn’t mind the location. It’s all up the individual. There’s not a lot you can do to remedy the situation, but you can always highlight that the graveyard offers a unique place for an afternoon walk.

8. Proximity to Coffee Shops

Here’s something a little less dark. It’s no secret that community amenities can be a factor affecting property value. Despite COVID-19, we’re a sociable species, so we like to have access to shops, restaurants and more. Did you know that coffee shops specifically can make a different in how much you make from selling your house?

That’s something called the “Starbucks Effect.” It turns out that people will spend more money to live near a cafe they can walk to for their morning coffee. Harvard found that homes near a Starbucks rose in value significantly, which mostly happens due to where Starbucks chooses to build new stores. Don’t forget about the coffee’s quality, either, as Dunkin’ lacks the same appeal as its competitor.

It doesn’t hurt to emphasize walking distance to a locally-owned café to boost your property value. If you can, you should mention a line like “10-minute walk to a delicious and quaint neighborhood cafe” in your home’s online listing. This way, you’ll be sure to grab someone’s attention.

9. Community Inclusivity

a person holding a LGBTQ+ rainbow flag

Inclusivity matters for individuals seeking community or refuge. Even though our society has progressed over the past decades, you can still experience discrimination for your sexual orientation, skin color and more. Therefore, you might prefer to live in a location that’s known for accommodating and accepting specific individuals.

For instance, gay neighborhoods often see a significant boost in property value for homebuyers seeking neighbors who share their sexual orientation. Trulia’s research found that almost all LGBTQ+ 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, while neighborhoods for gay women rose from $133 to $157.

This point remains true for other specific communties, too. If you’re Jewish, you might prefer to live in certain areas so you can connect with neighbors who share your faith. It’s extremely important for homeowners to feel safe and comfortable in their neighborhoods, so you shouldn’t underestimate how such an aspect might affect your home’s value. 

10. Street Names

Perception is one of the more powerful factors affecting property value. That’s true even when the specific view or opinion doesn’t make much sense, like with haunted houses. It’s also a bit silly when applied to address suffixes — but homebuyers can still make their decisions based on whether a property is on an avenue or street.

It turns out that homes located on drives, lanes, avenues and boulevards have a higher cost per square foot than houses on streets. Additionally, properties that are on numbered streets will sell for less when compared to homes on named streets. If your house is on a common road like First Street, you can expect a lower sale price than you’d get on a street like Strawberry Lane.

Obviously, you can’t change your home’s address, so you can’t do much here.

11. School District

a school bus in front of a building

If you have kids, you’re probably tuned into which school districts are the best in your area. But otherwise, you might not realize that your local school district has an affect on how you can price your home. It’s a point you’ll want to consider before you list your property.

Clearly, homes near top-rated schools will sell for more money. There’s nothing more new parents love than seeing that a house is only a 15-minute walk from the best school district in the area. Alternatively, you may not attract families as much when you live far away, or when your home isn’t near a specific school district.

When you’re buying a house, you may want to look a bit farther from the area’s schools. If you don’t mind driving your children to school, you can save money as a result. If their schools have a bus route, you should look within that specific radius to find the best deal possible.

Property Value Factors Can Be Pretty Strange, But You Have Some Control

As you can see, you’ll find many interesting points that relate to home value. From paranormal activity to cemetery views, homebuyers factor in various components when they shop for properties. There are factors affecting property value you can control, like your own home’s outdoor landscaping, which will make a difference. It may even be possible to convince your neighbor to pick up his yard. Marketing also plays a key role in today’s housing landscape.

While you may not be able to fix some elements, and your property value decreases as a result, you should have a few ways to improve your house’s worth along the way, as well.

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