KNow What you aRE BUYING
APPRAISERS DON'T ALWAYS CONSIDER CONSTRUCTION QUALITY
Not all homes are created equal, but leave it to today's property appraisers and what you will get is a generic valuation approach that places value in what is visible and not how the home was built. That fact might be a little difficult to wrap your head around, so let’s break it down.
One would assume that when a market value is placed on a residential property by an appraiser, that they have taken into account the quality of the home's construction and the materials used to build the home; but in reality, they do not. Aside from things like number of rooms and bathrooms, appraisers are largely valuing residential homes based on the finishes such as type of siding, type of flooring, types of countertops, etc... The type of foundation, framing system, insulation, sub-flooring, roof sheathing and air quality features are not being considered in many markets. We can provide a real life example of this from our own experience where a competing builder’s home was appraised identical to one of our’s, despite many quality differences.
What Appraisers Will Not Tell You
Some months back Quartz Homes began construction on an inventory home or new flip known as a “spec”. This is a home designed and built by a builder speculating that it will sell; hence the term “spec.” In the same community we were building in, another spec was also underway almost at the same time. Both our model and that of the other builder shared the practically same specifications, 3 bedroom 2 bath ranch of 1750-1800 square feet, ventless fireplaces, solid surface counters, in the farmhouse style. However, that is where the differences ended. The list below is a quick comparison of the major components and features between the two homes.
One would assume that a home equipped with top of the line windows and doors, and a feature like wired internet would command a higher value than that of a home with the cheapest windows and doors on the market and with no wired internet. Not so – according to local appraisers.
Aside from the few more apparent components and features above, the items below are significant structural and air quality differences that also were not taken into account by appraisers.
Proper moisture control, cracks and crevice sealing, and ventilation are sited by all US and International standards as key contributors to poor air quality affecting health. Mold spores and allergens are always present in the air and usually harmless until they encounter moist places to land. For that reason, poorly ventilated bathrooms and laundry rooms are primary sources of moisture in a home. Additionally in vented crawl spaces that are exposed to outside air, high concentrations of moisture are common.
Long Term Structural Soundness
In our eastern mountain region, as can also be found in many places throughout the United States, old and new poorly built structures can be found in just about every county and town. Driving around it's not difficult to find homes with slight to more obvious deformations due to structural issues. Block foundations that have cracked and given way under the weight, undersized and/or broken roof rafters and beams causing sagging ridge lines, and spongy floors from undersized floor joist are some of the common visible issues. Just as scary are the mold infested walls, floors, and attics that can’t be seen under the fresh paint and floors of newly made-over homes.
A new home built like the one we compared above will inevitably end up with many of the issues listed, including hidden mold issues and eventual structural problems.
Know What You Are Buying
When buying a home, even a newly built one, ask questions to understand how the house was built and the key quality construction features that not only affect health, but your long term investment.
Quartz Homes design team creating insights for you.