A Home Owner’s View on Value

As a real estate appraisal provider, it can be hard to get into the home owner’s perspective. It seems that what is important to them may not directly translate into value. We often run into this problem, where an owner pours thousands of dollars into a project that doesn’t increase the home’s value much at all, and owners tend to not be very happy about this.

Our role as appraisers is to figure out what someone from the general population would pay for a certain amenity or addition. Sometimes it’s interesting to get into the shoes of an owner vs just being an appraiser. A problem recently occurred at my home that I needed to get fixed. It was interesting making decisions as a real estate appraiser by day and then a husband at night.

Our master shower went bad and had an issue with the drain pan, the damage from which necessitated an almost entire bathroom remodel. We got the payout from the insurance claim, and now we have decisions to make. There are things we want to do in that room that will make no difference in market value to an appraiser, but make a big difference to us as home owners. 

We definitely don’t plan to be in this home forever. It’s likely we’ll downsize as the kids leave the nest and it will just be my wife and I. Even though these things won’t add value, I’m a home owner, and there are things I want as a home owner.

I understand better as an appraiser why some home owners make sure to point out things to us that won’t add any value. It’s because these things are important to them. Some home owners are very taken with their new ceiling fans, some are obsessed with their recently-blacktopped driveways. These things don’t necessarily add value to the home in terms of numbers, but they add emotional value to the home owner themselves.

For more information on this subject, please download and listen to The Appraiser Coach Podcast Episode: 

4 Comments on “A Home Owner’s View on Value”

  1. Pingback: A Home Owner’s View on Value - Appraisal Buzz

  2. An appraiser friend of mine has a name for specialized improvements without broad appeal: consumer spending. He has a good point. My view is that if an owner is spending money on things that builders don’t, it is likely to be a specialized improvement.

  3. I totally get all your points and agree. However, a recently-blacktopped driveway might be a really good value add to a property and not a good example for something that isn’t. What is the first thing you will notice when you pull up to look at the home or in the front photos? It might be the garage door, the front door, or the driveway. Conversely, what if the driveway looked poor before or was gravel and dusty? A good example of something that might not add value would be something that most buyers in the market don’t want/need or don’t notice. Attic insulation tends to be not noticed until after an offer is made unless your jurisdiction has mandatory home energy assessments.

  4. Before becoming an appraiser and moving to North Carolina, I had a home built with 2×6 external walls that increased the insulation to a R30 instead of R24. Sure it was expensive to build and was sure warmer in the winter, but when it comes to resale, the extra expenses are typically not adjusted for even as a quality of construction since it is difficult to place a value on it. However the new homeowners were surprised at the lower heating costs, which could be measured. In addition I did have a gravel driveway which was immediately paved by the new homeowners. It can be difficult explaining the difference between Repairs and Improvements, such as a new roof, exterior and interior paint do not necessarily increase the value as opposed to increasing its marketability. either way, the homeowner wins by selling at the value they negotiate.

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