Are power lines a better neighbor than someone that fails to maintain their property? Is a quiet cemetery preferable to a party house? The influence of external factors (external obsolescence) must always be considered when evaluating a home, but some of those factors may not always be considered adverse by potential buyers. Like everything real estate related, every situation is different and much depends on the preferences of a homeowner.
External influences like heavy traffic, airport noise, industrial endeavors and similar other uses can impact value and desirability. But that isn't always the case in major cities where sirens, traffic noise and the like are part of the environment. Is a condo adjacent to Central Park adversely impacted by traffic noise? Even airplane noise can blend into the background if the home is chock full of other features considered desirable by the owner.
Detention and retention ponds can be eyesores, but when screened with vegetation and properly maintained they can blend into the landscape. While some may consider being adjacent to a cemetery uncomfortable, others see it as a quiet green space. Same for power lines; many avoid them but some buyers will make an exception if other more important features of the home work. Builders put them up and someone buys them.
Golf courses are often considered highly desirable for the obvious reasons; plenty of green space, sweeping views and the image of living on a course. What may not be considered is that most landscape maintenance is done in the predawn hours; mowers and leaf blowers at 0500 can get real old real fast. There are also the obvious factors of balls and players in the yard and don't forget possible lot use restrictions and course rights of way.
The bottom line is that not every buyer looks at external influences in the same way. Each situation must be evaluated in context; what are the comparable properties like in this micro market? Is there a demonstrated adverse impact on value due to this influence? The best answers will likely come from an experienced appraiser and experienced agent. The appraiser is best to determine if there is a demonstrated impact and the agent is best to develop a successful marketing strategy. The bottom line is that there tends to be a buyer for every home.
About the author: Hank Miller is a full time Associate Broker and Certified Appraiser in Atlanta. He is known as much for his attention to detail as he is for his candor. Visit www.hankmillerteam.com for all things real estate.