homelocationCoffee can directly impact the value of your home.  So what if you like to drink coffee?  (Just to be clear, Starbucks doesn’t really sell coffee as much as mocha-flavored milkshakes)  The reason you want a Starbucks to be opening near your home is because it increases the value of your home.   Think about it.   Starbucks employs all manner of hot-shot analysts and geographic information specialists who assess everything from traffic patterns, future development and residents’ income.   They are looking to serve the next “hot” neighborhood.  Let Starbucks’ experts do the tough scouting work for you.

According to Zillow, having a location of the popular coffee shop within a quarter mile of a house has proved to be one of the strongest, most reliable indicators of neighborhood gentrification and rapidly appreciating home prices. Between 1997 and 2014, US homes appreciated 65%, on average. But properties near a Starbucks appreciated 96%, on average, and they recovered much more quickly from the housing bust.   (in contrast, homes located near a Dunkin’ Donuts outlet appreciated only 80% during the same time period).

A book called “Zillow Talk” touting the “New Rules of Real Estate” could be a useful resource if you are looking to buy or sell real estate.   It explores why people choose to buy particular homes for a variety of reasons that often time have  little to do with money. But if one of your primary goals in choosing a home is price appreciation, the data is clear—look at properties in up-and-coming neighborhoods.  For example, if you can get to one of these neighborhoods within the first five years of it becoming hot, you have a chance of snatching a property at a much lower price point than in areas that are ­already well-regarded.  So sometimes it pays to look in less developed areas adjacent to premier neighborhoods that already have taken off and have ample restaurants, cafés, parks and nightlife.

Some other pointers in the book:

  • It is best to list your home for sale in late March or later:  Zillow’s data indicates that listing very early in the year has become so popular that you’re better off waiting until after the first few weeks of March or even the second week in April in some markets.  That way, your home doesn’t get lost in a sea of new listings.
  • The words you use to describe your home are important: Homes with written descriptions longer than the median length of 50-to-70 words routinely sell for more than their asking prices, while homes with shorter written descriptions don’t.   However, descriptions with more than 250 words didn’t fare any better.     Avoid words in your listing that connote “small,” “nothing special” or “needs work.” These words include cute…charming…potential…quaint…needs TLC…and unique. Such words turn off buyers.
  • Limit your upgrades to modest ones:    Modest upgrades have a much bigger relative impact on your home’s value than renovations that add fashionable but frivolous luxuries.   So install a solar power system, expand your bathroom, upgrade your kitchen or add a room.   But indulgences are…..well, just that.  Indulgences generally don’t increase the value of your home.
  • The power of the nine:  The average US home that was listed initially for $449,000 wound up selling for about $4,000 more than a home listed at $450,000.   Retailers around the world have realized that rounding down, rather than up, plays to consumers who are conditioned to see prices ending in 9 as a discount.