The Northwest: blessed with water,mountains, settings and views. How do you value views?

How do you value views? I don’t know.

Growing up on Capitol Hill is a far cry from acreage, cows, chickens, Llamas and horses. To say my current environment is different from where I grew up is an understatement. The house I grew up in had what I thought was an excellent view looking East over the Arboretum, Madison Park, Lake Washington and the Cascades. I can recall many warm Summers climbing out of my parents bedroom window and inching up the roof on my rear to get a perfect view. Only on the roof ridge could I see Mt. Rainier and Mt. Baker, but they were there. Husky Stadium—the hollowed place my Kansas State University Football ulumnus father (played with the late Harold Robinson, the first African American player in the Big 8 at the time, circa 1952) hated with a passion I can’t describe—was also in view. I don’t know how a guy could hate the Huskies so much and get his Engineering/Architecture degree there, but I just didn’t ask questions. I crawled up on the roof really to see one thing only: The Blue Angels.

When my spouse and I started looking for a larger place for our clan, we couldn’t qualify for squat (code for beer budget with a Champagne taste). I wanted a view, she wanted acreage. Where in Ballard were we going to find that? Where in Edmonds would we find anything like that without a million dollars in my back pocket. Monopoly money didn’t count. Snohomish County is where we found the view and acreage.

Ardell has had some really nice view photos lately on this blog and ActiveRain Blog. Rhonda Porter has posted some great photos of views and water on her blog as well. It reminded me about a post I wanted to make about how to value view property. Since I’m not in the valuation business, I thought I’d ask those who are. How do you value view property?

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42 thoughts on “The Northwest: blessed with water,mountains, settings and views. How do you value views?

  1. carefully. seriously… it depends on the view. terretorial views are worth a little and anything close to water is worth a lot more, for example.

  2. IMHO, city views are overvalued and nature views undervalued.

    I’m sort of funny on views, however. Years ago I had to spend one month living on Alki with a great view north up Puget Sound and east to downtown Seattle and the Kingdome. Within that month I got tired of the view. But if you put me in a house like some of the newer ones where they are right up against one another on postage stamp lots, I’d be unhappy the entire time. Have treea outside my window, so that’s all I can see, and I’d be happy anywhere.

  3. View from the dirt (without structure) is added to the value of the lot even if you later put a house on it, it still values with the lot.

    View from the main living/entertainment spaces is worth more than view from a bedroom. That is why in many view areas you will see reverse floor plans with the living areas up the stairs and the bedrooms down.

    View from a child’s bedroom is worth less than view from a master bedroom (sorry kids)

    peeks are worth less than slices. slices are worth less than panoramic views.

    “Teacher Views” (stand on toilet and crane to left or right, are worth virtually nothing.

    Unobstructable, Panoramic Views are King of the Hill!

    We don’t have ocean views here, but ocean views value higher if you can see the “white water” waves crashing and even more if you can see sand.

    Water with sailboats view is worth more than water no boats allowed view.

    The list goes on and on.

    View from sitting in living room is worth more than view from washing the dishes. Who washes dishes anymore anyway.

    You add up all of the components. I have seen views sell for many millions.

    Territorial view is the bottom of the view food chain, but better than view of next door neighbor on toilet 🙂

  4. Tim, it looks like you should have two pots of gold from your view!

    We just added a view to our home buy knocking a hole and creating a “window” from our kitchen to our dining room. The view is priceless as I can now see if our teens are actually putting their dinner dishes into the dishwasher or just dumping them into the sink! 😉

    I’m not sure if this added value to our home…but is nice to be able to see out of the kitchen to the view of the dining room and outside instead of being “boxed in”.

  5. Rhonda,

    The value of “view of children” decreases as the children get older.

    When families have small children, the Mom wants to be able to see them in the family room, and most prefer a very open floor plan. One of my fondest memories is of my two older girls, 2 and 4 at the time, giggling over playing and replaying a line from “Scrooged” when they didn’t realize I could see and hear them behind the “half wall” separation between the kitchen and family room.

    As the children get older, parents no longer want a view of the children playing video games or watching MTV, and Family Rooms separated by a wall, and even a closed door, become more popular.

  6. To me light is a neccessity while views are a luxuary. I.e no forest, north facing, or bottom of a valley home for me but sweeping lake or mtn views would be the last extras I would look for after other requirements are fulfilled. Practically it means that I will more than likely never have that kind of views…

  7. It’s tough, especially because it’s so subjective! One man’s view is another man’s boring glance outside. Here in the Tri-Cities, there are houses on the Columbia, the Snake and the Yakima. Columbia views are worth more than the other river views, and different parts of the river have a more desireable view. Can you see the fireworks display on the 4th? Wildlife? Nothing between you and the river but a screen of trees that you can’t cut down because it’s on Corps of Engineer land? Every view has to be evaluated separately, darn it! Sometimes I wish there was an absolute standard.

  8. I live on one of the blocks in Capitol Hill that has the type of view you just described and I will say its the main reason we bought this house. It’s awesome. Another bonus is getting a decent view of all the fireworks displays that go on over Lake Washington and on the eastside during the Fourth and New Years.

  9. I really like having a nice view, though was not specifically looking for one when I bought my house. Was getting a second look at two properties we liked that had their own advantages/disadvantages during one of those crystal clear days in May where the view of Rainier was front and center over Elliott bay from one of the two houses. Other things being relatively equal it was probably the tipping point for our decision, as superficial as that may seem. That said, I can’t imagine anything stupider than basing a house purchase on whether or not you can see 4th of July fireworks – ie a whole 15 minutes of exploding lights per year. Whenever I would see this listed as one of the selling points of a house (which happens with annoying frequency) I would automatically exclude that house from contention simply as a matter of principle. With the limited wording available in the flyers, wasting a sentence on 4th of July fireworks implies that there is little else going for said property.
    I guess my response to how much a view is worth would be that all other things being equal, I’d rather live in a house with a nice view, but I’m not sure I’d pay that much of a premium for it. Especially if the view could disappear suddenly if my neighbor were to convert his tasteful 1950’s bungalow to a gaudy 2000 McMansion (with granite countertop, three car SUV garage and master suite and stainless everything, of course).

  10. Seeing 4th of July fireworks could actually be a disadvantage, because other people from outside the area come, disrupt your access to your home or possibly worse (trash your yard, trespass on your roof, etc.)

    On views, I used to live on First Hill looking east to Capitol Hill. A friend of mine pointed out two different ways to look at the view. You could look at the houses and buildings, or look at the trees and imagine the buildings weren’t there.

  11. Those of you above who bought property with a view. When you were down to two houses, one with a view and one without, did you feel that you paid more for the view house? Or were there other tradeoffs in terms of the house itself.

  12. Ardell,

    yes, in our case, the setting bumped up the prior owners asking price considerably more than comparable houses w/o view. We could never replicate the setting anywhere. They knew it, we knew it and other interested parties knew it. Thus, the reason for a long talk in the car on the way home about buying the property. How much of a premium paid for the setting? Substantial. Especially when you take in consideration lifestyle for kids growing up in this community.

  13. The great thing about this views here in North Capitol hill and the fireworks is I don’t think many people realize this view exists. I say this because the views are pretty much obstructed by houses and there are no open spaces with views on this side of the hill. Actually there is one I can think of on 22nd and Galer but that’s it. So you have to be in your house on your deck to see the view. I have yet to see people hanging around the streets checking the views out. I definitely would have paid more for this house just for the view since I think it’s unique to be this close to the city and have such a killer view. I don’t think I paid much more though because there is a downside, I hear street noise down below on 24th when I’m outside on the deck or yard. So maybe that balanced out the price. For us its not a big deal since most of the year we are inside and we still have the great views from all levels of the house and we can’t hear noise outside.

  14. Ardell, hard to say. The two properties were very similar as far as space and standard checklist items but were different in that the one with a view was somewhat less central and farther from amenities (ie grocery & hardware store, bakery, coffee, bank , worthless trinket stores that sell multiple types of potpourri, etc) but in a quieter area with a view. It’s hard to imagine that a house wouldn’t be priced higher if it had a view, but based on comparable properties we had looked at it did not appear as if much of a view premium had been attached.

  15. czb,

    Thanks for responding. Seems the “trade off” was proximity to…whatever. Not much of a trade off.

    What isn’t being mentioned is that people with S.A.D.D. or tendencies toward depression, do not do well without sunlight, height and often views from the top. Being surrounded by tall trees and darkness could be hazardous to someone’s health if they have S.A.D.D. and make it near impossible to live in Seattle.

    If you are depressed here and don’t get a lot of light where you live…MOVE!

  16. Ardell,

    Lynn pressured me. And the neighbor was interested in giving our daughter their horse, complete with full Tack gear ($$). Conspiracy to get me to sign the P & S. and it worked. Don’t regret it. Everyone ganged up on me though. What was I supposed to do?

    I caved.

  17. As well you should. Treasure her, as we all do. She’s definitely deserving and worth it. That goes for both shes in your life. You are indeed a very lucky man.

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