Factors That Can Lower Your Homes Value
Considering that your home is probably one of (if not the) biggest investment you own, it only makes sense to do what you can to preserve its value. But if you are like most homeowners, you may not be aware of everything that can lower the value of your property. Some are obvious; some are less so.
If you’re smart, you’ll look out for some of the items I’m going to mention to protect your investment(s) both now and in the future.
Many of the things that will lower a home’s value can be found in and around a property. It is important to understand how these factors can influence the long-term value of a home.
Sometimes buyers get so caught up in the excitement of a homes interior appeal that they forget that the house is an investment as well. External factors can significantly influence a properties value.
It’s too late when you conclude later on that you’ve bought a lemon nobody wants. Here are some things to consider when deciding how to select a neighborhood to live in. Understand what people want and don’t want!
Keep reading to see the things that can decrease property values.
Proximity to Power Lines
Power lines play a vital role in modern life, bringing much-needed electricity to just about everyone. Unfortunately, no matter how important they are, power lines are not a good thing to have nearby when you are a homeowner.
They buzz, they are imposing, they’re unattractive, and they make many people worry about adverse health effects related to living near them. The negative health effects of power lines are inconclusive. However, many people like to take the better be safe than sorry policy.
Some research projects suggest that living near to high-voltage power lines can increase the incidence of several kinds of cancer, as well as other diseases. There is also some association with headaches, fatigue, anxiety, insomnia, rashes and even muscle pain.
A home may seem like a real bargain if it is near power lines, but there is a reason for the low price. You should always consult with a local real estate expert when planning on buying near power lines to see how much it will impact a homes market value.
Proximity to a Gun Range
While some people love the idea having a shooting range nearby to participate in a hobby, rarely does this translate well when considering purchasing a home. If your home is a few miles away – great! If, however, the gun range is right next door you better think twice about buying. Not only can gun ranges be loud there is the off chance of finding a stray bullet hitting your property or worse a family member.
When considering a home in proximity to a gun range, you should always research the shooting schedule. Some places shoot daily while others might only be on the weekend. Make sure you figure out your tolerance for hearing gunshots before purchasing a home.
Proximity to Train Tracks
Being close to a commuter rail is a highly desirable perk when it comes to homeownership. Lots of home buyers want to be located close a commuter rail. For example where I’m based in Southborough Massachusetts, one of the reasons buyers find the town desirable is the fact the commuter rail to Boston is there.
Being located next to train tracks, on the other hand, is a different story altogether. When your home is located directly next to train tracks, it can drag down the value of your property.
Living next to a train means dealing with the noise at various hours in the day. Additionally, if a buyer has kids, it could deter them from purchasing for safety concerns.
Ask your real estate agent how much of an impact the train has on reducing the market value.
Proximity to a Highway
While being close to commuting routes is ideal for home values, being on top of a freeway is not. If you can see or hear a major thoroughfare more than likely, it will have an adverse impact on home values.
In my hometown of Hopkinton Mass, we have two major highways, The Mass Pike and Route 495 that run through the town. Homes located adjacent to these roads have lower values than identical homes located elsewhere.
Registered Sex Offenders
It is possible to look up the registered sex offenders in any given neighborhood – something that more and more buyers are doing now that they know they can. If buyers see that there is one or more registered sex offenders in your neighborhood, it will drive down the value of your home. One study showed the presence of a sex offender in a neighborhood could lower prices by up to 12%.
It is a scary thought for any parent to consider purchasing a home with a sex offender close by. Laws vary from state to state on disclosing registered sex offenders. A real estate agent may or may not have a handle if a sex offender is living nearby. You should ask though and if you don’t get a satisfactory answer go to the local police department.
The Hoarders Next Door
Your neighbors matter when it comes to the price of your home – or more specifically, the way they keep up their property. If your neighbors appear to be hoarders, buyers will be more likely to steer clear of your home.
It doesn’t matter if they are technically hoarders or not, what is important is the way the exterior of the property appears. If it is filled with junk, it will drag down your home’s value. Understanding how to deal with a troublesome neighbor is important, especially when you are selling a home.
Nobody wants to look at an eye soar next door. Nuisances that are out of someone’s control are even more likely to make them skip a property.
When you own a home in a neighborhood, your property is part of a greater whole that affects the value of your property in multiple ways. While a messy neighbor can cause problems, so can changes you make that are uncharacteristic for your neighborhood.
For instance, if you install a pool in a colder climate, where no one else has them, then it can make your home less desirable. The same goes for improvements that require an extra level of upkeep, like elaborate landscaping. Large fountains and exotic gardens are maintained by staff in luxury neighborhoods. In a regular middle-class neighborhood, they will probably just be seen as extra work.
For this reason, real estate agents are often preaching what improvements will increase a home’s value and those that won’t.
MSN has an interesting article on renovations that will hurt your home’s value. Some of the information in the article may or may not be accurate depending on the property.
For example, they mention not to reach for high-end appliances. Purchasing middle of the road appliances might be wise for most homes but not if you own a luxury estate home.
Excessive Noise Pollution
Noise pollution is something that you can learn to live with – most of the time. But it is not considered desirable by most buyers. Living near a highway, a loud factory, an industrial area, an airport or any other source of regular, noticeable noise is going to be a negative factor when selling your property.
The louder the noise, or the more inconvenient – like loud trains passing by and rumbling the windows at 2 a.m – the more it is going to cause a problem with resale value.
Color and Interior Design
The color of your home can draw in buyers, or it can push them away. The more unusual your color choice, the more likely you are to struggle to find a buyer. Most buyers want a home that fits in with the surrounding area, not one that sticks out. The same problem can arise with the color and interior design of the inside of your home. No matter how much you like the way something looks, if it is too unusual, it may make it harder to sell buyers on it.
The color of your rooms can make or break a sale if they stick out like a sore thumb. Color selection is often an awkward conversation to have with a seller. The owner obviously loves their color selection. The real estate agent, on the other hand, knows it could affect the time of the market and ultimate sale price. You walk a delicate tightrope in explaining this to a seller.
Real estate agents often are explaining the need to remove wallpaper when selling a home. It is highly personal and dates a home. Homes with a lot of wallpaper are significantly harder to sell.
In an Undesirable School District
Many people that buy homes are thinking about having children or already have children. Even if they are not planning on having kids immediately, the home is a usually a long-term purchase, so they will still look at the schools before buying. That is why a bad school system can have a downward effect on the price of your home.
Research has shown over and over again that home buyers will pay more money for properties in a top school district. From experience, those homes that are located in the best school districts hold their value better when market conditions are not ideal. There will always be a better demand for homes with the best schools.
Billboards Near the Home
Billboards are seemingly everywhere, even near residential homes. Studies have shown that proximity to a billboard can lower a home’s value. The closer the billboard, the more negative impact it has on the price of the home. A nearby billboard can drag down a home’s value by tens of thousands of dollars, which is why many neighborhoods are instituting a no-billboard policy to protect home values.
Located Near Fracking
Fracking operations have exploded across North America to take advantage of natural gas deposits that were previously inaccessible. Unfortunately, there is worry that the fracking process causes problems with groundwater wherever fracking is conducted.
While there is no solid evidence either way about the effects of fracking on groundwater, the fact is that buyers will tend to avoid homes near fracking if at all possible. If your home is within a few miles of a fracking operation, you will notice a decrease in the value of your home. When buying a home with well water, it is always a good idea to do both a quality and quantity test.
Having Noisy Neighbors
Your neighbors are not only a problem if they are messy, but also if they are noisy. Noisy neighbors can definitely drive down the value of your home. The noisier they are, the more people are going to want to avoid living in the area.
One foreclosure in your neighborhood will probably not have much impact, if any, on your property’s value. But if you happen to be in a neighborhood filled with foreclosures, it will have an adverse effect on the value of your home. Multiple foreclosures imply something is wrong with the area. They also mean the area is more prone to squatters, vandalism, deterioration and general unpleasantness.
A 2013 report by The Alliance for a Just Society, a coalition centered on economic, racial and social equality, found a statistically significant reduction in surround home values, as well as increase in local tax rates. Homes nearby are proven to drop an average of one percent for every seven percent the foreclosed home value drops, according to 2012 RealtyTrac data.
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