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  • Writer's pictureTeam Quartz Homes

Value Behind your Home's Walls

Updated: Jun 13

Plan Drawing

Not all homes are created equal, but leave it to today's property appraising practices and what you will get is a generic approach that places more value in what is visible and not how the home was built. That fact that the value behind your home's walls might not be what is should be is 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

About the value behind your home's walls

​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.



​Feature \ Component

​Quarts Homes Spec

​Spec by Other(s)

Foundation Type

Air Conditioned Crawl Space

Vented Crawl Space

​Foundation Construction

​Concrete

​Block

Floor System

Engineered Beams

Trusses

Exterior Wall System

Comprable

Comparable

Roof Framing

Engineered I-Joist and beams

Trusses

Roof Sheathing

Zip System

OSB

Roofing


Comparable

Comparable

Exterior Siding

Comparable

Comparable

Energy Envelope

Air Sealed / Batt Insulation

Batt Insulation

Laundry Moisture Control

110 CFM Vent Fan

None

Bathroom Moisture Control

150 CFM Vent Fans

40 and 80 CFM Vent Fans

Shower and Tub Sub Wall Systems

​DuroRock plus Waterproof Membrane

Green Drywall

Windows

Andersen 400 Series

Builder Grade Vinyl

Exterior Doors

Andersen

Builder Grade

Wired WIFI

Yes

No


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.



​Feature \ Component

​Quarts Homes Spec

​Spec by Other(s)

Foundation Type

Air Conditioned Crawl Space


Prevents moisture and mold from forming under the home and keeps insects and dust out.

Vented Crawl SpaceOpen to the environment, allowing moisture, insects, dust and potential for mold under the home.

​Foundation Construction

​Concrete


Will seldom crack as the house settles and therefore, remains waterproof.

​Block


Block joints will usually always crack as the house settles and therefore, lose any waterproofing value over time.

Floor System

Engineered Beams


Quiet flexible floors that do not settle over time.

TrussesAlthough structurally sound, it will settle and make noises as the house expands and contracts.

Roof Framing

Engineered I-Joist and beams


Quiet flexible roof that does not make noise as house expands and contracts.

TrussesTypical noisy roof system as the house expands and contracts, especially during winter.

Roof Sheathing


Zip SystemWater impermeable sheathing is not susceptible to water or rot damage if shingles have a leak. Holds its structural integrity over time.

OSB


Severe water and rot damage will occur if shingles have a leak. Does not hold its structural integrity over time.



Energy Envelope

Air Sealed/Batt Insulation


Inside of exterior walls sealed for penetrations prior to batt insulation.


Batt Insulation


Batt insulation installed directly against unsealed wall sheathing.


Laundry Moisture Control

110 CFM Vent Fan


Removes moisture introduced into home by washer and heat from dryer.


None


Allows moisture and heat to remain in the home.


Bathrooms Moisture Control

150 CFM Vent FansThe higher cubic feet per minute will quickly evacuate all shower steam and moisture, which prevents possibility for surface molds to build.




40 and 80 CFM Vent FansLow cubic feet per minute will not remove all moisture enabling surface molds to build.


Shower and Tub Sub Wall Systems

DuroRock plus Waterproof membrane.


Wall system behind the tile will not allow water to penetrate into the wall cavity if cracks form in tile grout lines. Edges of the shower pan remain dry and will not build black mildew.


Green Drywall


Wall system behind the is susceptible to water damage, rot, and mold if cracks form in tile grout line. Edges of the shower pan will usually always remain black with mildew.


Air Quality

​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.



Some basic questions to ask…

Buy at your own risk if…

What roof sheathing was used on the home? 

If sheathed with OSB or plywood vs something like Zip or LP Weather Logic

What is the foundation construction?

If anything other than concrete.

If the house does not have an air conditioned basement, but has a crawlspace – Ask if the crawlspace is conditioned. 

A vented crawl space is open to outside air, moisture, and allergens.

How were the walls framed?

If not framed of 2x6 with shear walls.

What is the CFM of bathroom exhaust fans?

Anything under 140 will not properly evacuate moisture and will use more energy.

Are exhaust fans vented to the outside?

If not they are pumping moisture into the attic which will create mold.

How is the floor structure built?

If anything but engineered I-joists or trusses.


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