While the old adage declares location as the main factor in determining property values, there are many other features and details that play a role in the process of pricing and reselling your home. Homes without backyards may be valued lower or at least differently than those with yards and may find it harder to break through the market.
Properties are often valued and judged on their surroundings. If your home is set within a neighborhood where the average property sits on two acres and your home has less or no yard, the value and the resale will likely be negatively affected. When buyers view homes they compare what they are getting with what their neighbors have. The same process occurs during the appraisal process as the local area and nearby properties are taken into account when the final value is calculated. Besides monetary value, a property without a backyard may seem less desirable to buyers who are conscious of other, larger properties next door or down the road. If a buyer feels he or she is not getting the same value or perks that a neighbor has, they are less likely to feel satisfied with the purchase.
The pluses or minuses of having no backyard change with each buyer. Home buyers with families including small children or pets often want an outdoor space for recreation and exercise. If a buyer entertains guests frequently, the outdoor space may again be important to him. On the other hand, single buyers or couples without children sometimes prefer to bypass the responsibilities and expense of outdoor spaces and may opt for a property without a backyard. Those who are career oriented and who spend less time at home and more on the road may also wish to reduce the amount of time necessary to maintain a home. Knowing your potential audience and how to best reach that market is key to the resale of any home, but particularly one without a backyard.
While having a backyard may be a net asset for both your home's value and potential on the resale market in most cases, having a large or unkempt yard may result in the exact opposite effect. Overly large properties come with heavy maintenance requirements that demand a dedication that is time and income consuming. Homes with backyard features like pools and sports courts can also be looked upon negatively by buyers who either do not wish to take part in the upkeep or view the constructions as eyesores. Any part of the yard that is in need of repair or landscaping can be a net negative on both the value and resale possibilities for your home.
The market value of your home may depend more on the opinions of the appraiser than the judgement of the seller or the buyer. Banks are unlikely to approve mortgages above the appraisal value for fear of a loss in case of default or future sale. The lack of a backyard can adversely effect the appraisal value of a home depending on its location, and that may cap the amount a lender is willing to loan. The more difficult it is to get loans, the more difficult it is to sell a home, so the amount that some buyers can offer is set by the bank's loan guidelines and estimated value of the property.
Robert Morello has an extensive travel, marketing and business background. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Columbia University in 2002 and has worked in travel as a guide, corporate senior marketing and product manager and travel consultant/expert. Morello is a professional writer and adjunct professor of travel and tourism.