If you're thinking of selling your home, or if you're shopping for a new home and keeping your future home value in mind, it helps to understand what kinds of things affect a home's value. Some things are well known—for example, a new roof or a recently remodeled bathroom can have a positive effect on your home's value, while a high crime rate in the area can bring your house's value down. But other factors that affect home values are less obvious. Take a look at some surprising things that can tell you a lot about a home's value.
The Name of the Street
Does it matter whether you live on 4th Street or Ford Street? Is there a difference between Spruce Street and Spruce Way? The evidence suggests that there is a difference, and it can be found in the property values of the homes on those streets.
Analysis of the relationships between home values and street names shows some surprising results. For one thing, in most cities, it's better to have a street name than a street number. The only exceptions are Atlanta and New York city, where numbered streets and named streets are about equal, and Denver, where numbered streets are more valuable. Houses are also more valuable if the street is called a "Way" than if the street is called "Street". One more thing to keep in mind is that common street names, like Main Street, tend to be less valuable than more unique names. Streets that use the word "Lake" are worth 16% more than the national median.
The Coffee Connection
Does the house you're selling have a Starbucks nearby? If so, it's value may have risen more than you'd expect. The average increase in home value between 1997 and 2013 was 65%, but for homes that were located near a Starbucks, the average was more like 96%. In Boston, homes located near a Starbucks increased in value by 171%.
It's not just Starbucks, though. Homes may see a faster and more dramatic increase in value when a Starbucks moves in, but if a Dunkin Donuts moves in near your home, that can also be a sign that home values in the area are increasing.
The Time of Year
There's evidence to suggest that your house may be more valuable during the first half of May than it is at other times. A study showed that on average, homes sold faster 18.5 days faster when they were listed between May 1st and May 15th than at other times of the year, and they also sold for about 1% more.
There are several reasons why this may be. People are more likely to shop for homes when the weather is nice. May is also a good time for families to plan a move, so that they can leave their old home shortly after the school year ends and get settled into a new home before the next school year begins. Differences in weather and other local factors may mean that your region has a slightly different time window for the highest home values than the national average.
A good real estate agent will be aware of all the subtle differences that can affect home value, however surprising they may be to you. Your real estate agent can help you decide whether it's a good time to sell your home or help you choose a home to buy that is likely to increase in value.