42 Things That Don’t Affect Value

Emotional Items That Don’t Affect Value

So many times in so many situations, Clients tell me why their house should be priced higher than the one down the street that just sold. While I don’t currently practice the trade, I have been a licensed appraiser. Without stepping on anyone’s toes, it’s sometimes hard to explain why the things that are important to you may not matter to someone else. It’s even harder to explain why the items you invested so much money in don’t add value to your home’s sales price.

For instance, an additional bedroom compared to the one down the street may only add $10,000 in price in Colorado Springs. An additional bath generally adds only $5,000 to a fair list price of your home. (However, even an additional half bath will make your home more sellable than just a single bathroom.)

emotional attachment does not affect value

Owners often see their homes through emotionally prejudiced eyes, preventing an honest, objective valuation of their property. In any pricing situation, none of the following sentimental variables add to a home’s worth:

  1. Your Emotional Attachment to a property doesn’t translate to an increased list price. Buyers base their offers on objective factors like location, size, and condition.
  2. Your Memories associated with a home hold personal significance, but don’t matter on a sale. One of my first sales as a Realtor found Mrs. Seller curled in a corner in the closing room. She had so many memories of raising her family there that she was having a hard time parting with the house.
  3. The Cost to Rebuild a home today doesn’t correlate with how much it’s worth. Buyers consider factors beyond construction costs, such as demand and comparable sales in the area.
  4. Your Original Investment doesn’t influence current sale value. Market dynamics, property condition, and location play primary roles in determining the sales price.
  5. What Your Neighbor Says It’s Worth has no bearing on a listing. Those figures are established through objective factors such as recent sales data, property condition, and location.
  6. What You Want to Charge holds little weight on the list price of a property. Local economy, buyer demand, and comparable sales ultimately determine its worth. What a ready, willing, and able buyer will pay for a home is a large part of the deciding factor.
  7. Your Need for a Certain Amount of Cash (that has nothing to do with VALUE, no matter how noble). Your personal financial needs do not impact a sales price. Would you pay someone an additional $75,000 above what their home is worth because they need college tuition for their graduating senior?

Repairs That Don’t Affect Value

When a Seller has invested money in the following upgrades, it’s hard to convince them these necessary repairs are not a factor in determining the list price on a property. There’s a vast difference between ‘bringing a house up to market value’ and ‘adding value.’ Few things add value outside of major remodeling or adding square footage. But if you’re not bringing a house up to current market levels, you’re going to either lose value, or your Days on Market are going to increase, which will also cost you.

New roof does not affect value
  1. A New Roof and Gutters ensure the property’s structure is protected from water damage, mold, and rot. This preservation of structural integrity can enhance salability and insurability by preventing costly repairs and can increase curb appeal. It will not make a change in its intrinsic value.
  2. A New Electric Panel will not affect cost because it is a standard maintenance upgrade. It ensures safety and functionality without altering the property’s market worth.
  3. Upgrading Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Systems can improve energy efficiency and comfort. Adding AC may make your home the one a Buyer might pick over a similar home that does not have AC. It will not, however, lead to a measurable increase in the price of a home.
  4. A Radon System adds no monetary worth as it is a standard safety measure.
  5. A new Water Heater is viewed as routine maintenance, maintaining functionality and comfort.
  6. Minor Structural Repairs like cracked tiles, squeaky floors, or loose doorknobs are essential for maintenance.
  7. While Upgrading Insulation can enhance energy efficiency, it’s not a factor in determining sales price.
  8. A Backup Generator can provide peace of mind during power outages. Unless power reliability is a significant concern in the local area, it will not affect price.

Upgrades That Don’t Affect Value

The impact of these items on desirability can vary depending on individual buyer preferences, and can make your home the Shiny Penny. They can mean the difference on whether a Buyer will select your house over the house down the street, but rarely do they affect worth.

new outdoor lights don't affect value
  1. Adding or changing Landscaping elements such as plants, trees, or garden beds are not relevant to value assessment.
  2. Adding Outdoor Lighting fixtures can enhance curb appeal and security but will not show an appreciable return on investment
  3. Upgrading Interior Decor such as furniture, curtains, or decorative items might enhance aesthetics but are inconsequential to list price.
  4. While major kitchen renovations can increase valuation, Minor Kitchen Upgrades like changing cabinet handles, installing a new backsplash, or upgrading lighting fixtures will not make a difference in price.
  5. Cosmetic Bathroom Changes like replacing faucets, mirrors, or shower curtains affect desirability, not worth.
  6. Installing Smart Home Devices can improve convenience and energy efficiency, but doesn’t translate to increased benefit.
  7. Upgrading Flooring by replacing carpet with hardwood or laminate flooring can be expensive. Unfortunately, it probably won’t pay for itself on a resale.
  8. Upgraded Lighting Fixtures can improve the ambiance of a home but it’s unlikely to impact sales price.
  9. New Appliances are standard features expected to be in good working condition, and can improve functionality and aesthetics. While they may enhance buyer appeal, their impact on the overall marketing is minimal.
  10. Upgrading Kitchen Countertops can improve the visual appeal of the kitchen, but the return on investment may not be proportional to the cost of installation, especially for high-end materials.
  11. Painting Interior Walls can freshen the interior of a home and make it feel cleaner, but won’t result in a price increase.
  12. Installing a Security System can enhance safety and peace of mind for homeowners. Unless it’s a highly desirable feature in the local market, it’s merely a bonus for a Buyer.
  13. Replacing Bathroom Fixtures (faucets, showerheads, toilet fixtures) can improve the appearance of the bathroom, but will not affect value.
  14. Upgrading Interior Doors for aesthetic reasons will not contribute to an increase in cost-effectiveness.
  15. Installing Garage Storage Solutions, like cabinets or shelves, can improve organization, but not an increase in price.
  16. A Water Softener can improve water quality but will have no financial impact unless it’s a critical feature for Buyers in the local market.
  17. The controversial question of Solar Panels. Unless you’re planning on owning your home for decades, the cost of investment will never pay off. If you didn’t pay tens of thousands upfront for questionable savings, you will have to “sell” your loan to a subsequent Buyer. It does NOT make your home a more attractive purchase alternative when an incoming buyer is burdened with a loan on your home that goes through 2048. Unless it’s a special circumstance, please think twice before you make this costly investment.

Specialty Upgrades

  1. A Wine Cellar can be a luxury feature but its impact on home value may be limited unless it’s part of a high-end custom home or in a wine-centric region.
  2. Installing a Water Feature (fountain, pond, or waterfall) in your yard may enhance the aesthetic appeal of the property, but will do nothing to sway the listing price determination.
  3. A Hot Tub can be a desirable feature for some buyers, but maintenance costs could deter other potential buyers. There is an expression in real estate: the two favorite days of owning a hot tub are the day you purchase it and the day you get rid of it.
  4. A Sunroom or Enclosed Porch can provide additional living space and enjoyment for homeowners. The return on investment may vary and may not substantially increase the home’s appraised value.
  5. Contrary to popular belief, a Swimming Pool can sometimes decrease a home’s worth because of maintenance costs and potential safety concerns.
  6. A Fire Pit can enhance outdoor living space but won’t add the cost it took to install.
  7. Outdoor living spaces are enticing to many Buyers. The return on investment for adding a Deck or Patio may not always match the cost of installation.
  8. Replacing curtains or blinds (Window Treatments) may enhance the appearance of the home, making yours more desirable than another home for sale.
  9. Adding a Home Theater System can be an attractive feature for some buyers, but won’t change the valuation.
  10. Converting a spare room to a Home Office may improve functionality for some, but will not affect value.

What DOES Affect Value

Dirt and Clutter eat your equity. People don’t realize that a dirty house can cost them as much as $25,000. It can even make your home unsellable for a reasonable price. For whatever reason, uncleanliness is not something prospective buyers will overlook.

Offering a credit for worn carpet, unsightly paint, holes in walls, or other routine maintenance is unappealing. Buyers want the credit AND a lower price because the house is not in pristine condition. Make sure your home is sparkling clean and decluttered. Give yourself the best shot possible for getting top dollar for your valuable investment.

If you or someone you know needs solid guidance in this fluctuating real estate market, contact an expert with decades of experience. Call me for a FREE evaluation of your personal situation. I’ve helped hundreds of clients find their next perfect place.

By Mimi Foster

About the Author

Mimi has received the honor of being voted one of Colorado Springs' Best Realtors five years in a row. With over two decades of experience, she is committed to making the home buying/selling process as easy and enjoyable as possible. Read Full Bio…

Helping buy and sell homes throughout Colorado Springs,
Old Colorado City, Manitou Springs, and surrounding areas

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4 thoughts on “42 Things That Don’t Affect Value”

  1. Hi Mimi! Great article. I forwarded it on to my agents and suggested they read it and learn more about your methods of practice. I also suggested that if they wanted to emulate a great real estate agent, that they study your articles and methods that you share with others.

    I am so happy to see you out and about again!
    Mike McCann, Mach1 Realty Sells Nebraska!

    Reply
    • What kind words, Mr. McCann! Can’t begin to tell you how much it means to me to be honored by your much-appreciated recognition. Were there any on the list that you would change? Hope life is treating you well.

      Reply

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