We all know the basics of what goes into determining property value: square footage, number of beds and baths, location, schools, the neighborhood, the overall local market, and so on.
But that’s not all there is to it – because the real value of your property is determined more by what buyers will actually pay than by what the appraiser says, especially in urban areas where you might see significant variances from street-to-street. And there are a number of not-so-obvious and unexpected things that affect your property value in Boston. Following are a few of them, and they also tell us a lot about human nature.
Location of Building on the Block
Rowhouses and are common throughout Greater Boston, as are buildings just a few feet from one another. Jamaica Plain, Dorchester, Southie, Chelsea, Cambridge, the Back Bay, the South End, Eastie, and Charlestown all feature streets with multifamily buildings and townhouses occupying every linear foot right up to the property line.
Often, corner-unit buildings on the end of a block command a premium because of the additional windows and light. This is not always the case, though, since bus stops are often located at street corners, and having a long queue of commuters directly outside your door (plus the noise and emissions created by buses constantly stopping and going) is not super desirable.
Location of Unit Within Building
Usually, the higher the floor, the greater the price per square foot. Again, not always the case, but a triple-decker with three equally-sized condo units will command a higher price for the top floor, even if the building is a walkup.
Ground floor units within multifamilies often have lower prices per square foot and are often compared to other ground floor units during appraisals. But having access to the yard and a potentially larger living space if the basement level is built out as living quarters could actually hold more value to seniors or young parents not looking to climb staircases.
Access to Trendy Restaurants and Amenities
Read through the listings in a popular neighborhood such as Southie, Charlestown, or the South End. Listing agents always tout proximity to amenities, shopping, dining out, and places that people congregate socially. Access to important and necessary amenities is important for property value, and if you have a Starbucks, a Trader Joe’s, or a Whole Foods within a mile of your house, your property value is likely to be higher than it would be otherwise.
Yes, you know you need to paint the walls in neutral tones before you sell, but don’t stop there. Go on and install crown molding in rooms that don’t have it. Striking millwork becomes a statement piece. Buyers notice crown molding, chair rail molding, and wainscoting, especially in rooms with high ceilings. But even if you don’t have high ceilings, you can at least install crown molding.
Trees, especially mature trees, nearly always increase property values. According to one real estate study, houses with trees and those in tree-lined neighborhoods brought a 10% to 15% higher sale price than similar houses without trees or in neighborhoods with few trees.
When evaluating multifamily investments, one of our buyers drives the streets to estimate tenant quality of the area by examining what she sees. Almost every time, she starts by noticing the amount of mature trees lining each side of the road, as she believes this strongly correlates with a higher tenant quality (and, therefore, a stronger investment).
This may not be one of the fully unexpected things that affect your property value in Boston, but its impact can be a little surprising, especially where houses are close together like they are throughout Greater Boston, and neighbors live in very close proximity.
If the neighbors seem strange or outlandish, it could lower your property value in the eyes of buyers. In one instance, for example, the homeowner had a difficult time selling his home because the next-door neighbor had erected a huge Michael Jackson memorial in his front yard.
Think about it – why do most high-rise office buildings, hotels, and skyscrapers omit the 13th floor? Have you ever noticed that the buttons on the elevator usually go from 12 to 14? There isn’t a vacant floor in between – it’s simply a standard building code for tall buildings to skip Floor 13.
If your house number is 13 or ends in 13, you will probably have to price slightly lower than your neighbor across the way whose number is 12. Many buyers can’t get past the superstitious association of 13 with bad luck. And then there are those people who subscribe to the theory of house numerology, which holds that certain number combinations indicate good investments, and others do not. OK, this is a bit out there, especially in hot real estate markets, but house numerology is indeed a thing, and could affect your property value in Boston.
So there you go – the unexpected things that affect your property value in Boston. Some sound pretty bizarre, but buyers can be a quirky bunch. With so many factors – both the standard and the unexpected – playing into what you can actually get when you sell your house, you should probably lean on our expertise as qualified real estate professionals at NextHome Titletown Real Estate.
We’d be glad to help. Call us at (617) 657-9811 or send us a message today!
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