What Drives up Home Value in the Northeast?

An in-depth look at homes that sold over their estimated value

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Ever browse the recently bought home listings for your area and wonder how the owners got such a good price? What exactly makes these homes so different? What kinds of upgrades or floor plans do they have? Are buyer wish-lists really that important? We decided to use the Northeast as an example and profile two homes that sold for well above their estimated worth to see what exactly makes them stand out.

Rare Find 4 Bed 3.5 Bath in Maryland

Located in Northeast Maryland within a grouping of desirable Baltimore suburbs, this home doesn’t look the most updated from the outside, but a closer dive into its features makes it obvious why it sold for $16,000 over its estimated value of $433,993.

A clear factor for the price hike is in the impressive number of bedrooms and bathrooms, which is perfect for an established family that has kids in multiple age groups who have to get ready at different times of the day. It’s rare to find a house with more than 3 bathrooms, even in brand new developments. It’s easy to see why families looking to move out of the city would be drawn to the idea of never having to wait for a bathroom to free up.

A look inside the home shows that the previous owner did make some key remodeling decisions in order to make it appeal to buyers. While it doesn’t have a completely open floor plan that is constantly at the top of so many lists, the owner did add in new hardwood floors and an impressive farmhouse style kitchen that is modern and fresh with lots of storage space. With two living spaces plus a formal dining area as well as breakfast nook, it has plenty of room to eat, sit, and hang out.

A not-so-noticeable improvement is the new HVAC system the previous owners installed, lowering operational costs in the humid summers. Another desirable factor is the large screened-in porch that has huge windows to take in the view of the yard. An adjacent deck creates an inviting space for entertaining in the summer, and the two-car garage means weatherproofing for multiple vehicles. To top it off, this property has a finished basement, which allows for extra income as a rental should the new owners need it.

Character without the Hassle in Pennsylvania

A lot of buyers may say they want a home with character, but how much of a value do they put on character if it means investing more than they thought to bring a historical home into the modern era? That’s probably why this beautiful historical home in downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania sold for more than $90,000 over its estimated value of $338,364. At that price, it sits well above the top 1/3rd of home values for that area.

Everything about the home is move-in ready while still expertly preserving its unique character. A quick look at some older Google street views of the home really demonstrate how the previous owner went above and beyond to make this home attractive to buyers and take the risk factor out completely.

New sidings on the exterior look fresh and inviting. A separate mud room at the entry is important for this location and once fully inside the home, the large ceilings, new crown moulding and hardwood floors keep the home updated without obscuring its unique architectural features. High on the value list is of course the open chef’s kitchen with exposed brick and large island. A kitchen like this is at the top of everyone’s wish list, and there’s nothing that needs to be added to it.

The previous owner has smartly chosen to keep architectural features in the rest of the house as a focal point. All the bedrooms have eye catching exposed ceiling beams or original brick, and an additional space on the third floor can act as another bedroom or as a roomy office. Because of its multiple rooms and high number of bathrooms, it can also add value should the new owners need to rent out a room and bathroom for extra income.

Speaking of bathrooms, the master suite is on trend with tile wainscoting in the shower and white quartz countertops with dual sinks. In the laundry area, an energy saving stacked washer and dryer save on space and energy costs. With everything already done for the owners to make this unique home modern and full of its original character, it’s clear to see why this house sold for much more than its estimated value.

Owners looking to increase their home's value overall should look at these key 4 areas first.