10 surprising things that can increase your house’s worth (Without impacting your homeowners insurance)

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Susan Meyer

Senior Editorial Manager

  • Licensed Insurance Agent — Property and Casualty

Susan is a licensed insurance agent and has worked as a writer and editor for over 10 years across a number of industries. She has worked at The Zebr…

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A number of factors go into a home’s value, and not all of them fall underneath the roof. Nearby amenities, local laws, street art, and more can also increase your home’s value — without impacting your homeowners insurance.

While remodeling is one quick way to add value to your home, it can cost you when you update your home insurance policy. Often, your liability insurance increases when you add features to your home — and while it may seem tempting to not update your policy, you definitely should to make sure you’re covered in the event of an accident. You can use The Zebra’s homeowners insurance comparison guide to save during a remodel, and you can also research other ways to add value to your home if you’re thinking of putting it on the market.

Below we’ll discuss some surprising things that can increase your home value that don’t involve an insurance policy update. Jump to our infographic or keep reading to learn more.

Factors that can increase your home or property value

1. Proximity to Starbucks

Did you know that the price of your home can increase if it’s near a popular chain? According to Zillow, homes within a quarter mile of Starbucks saw a 96% increase in property value from 1997–2013.

Coffee isn’t the only retail option that can help hike your home value. Other popular chains that can increase your house’s worth include Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and Walmart.



2. Smart home technology 

According to a survey by VentureBeat, home buyers (and renters!) increasingly want smart home technology, and they’re willing to pay more for it. Sixty-five percent of those surveyed said they would pay $1,500 or more for a house equipped with smart technology.

So which technology should you install? The two most popular items were smart home security systems (such as locks and alarms) and smart home climate controls, with 63% of respondents reporting that they preferred these technologies. 58% of surveyors indicated they wanted smart lighting, and 56% wanted smart safety (such as night lights and carbon monoxide detectors). Some of these devices can increase security and save you energy — although they do bring along some privacy risks.

3. Surf break access 

While it comes as no surprise that living near the ocean increases a home’s value, did you know that living near a surf break is even more valuable?

A surf break is somewhere where surfable waves occur due to seabed obstruction. According to the Monterey Institute of International Studies, living within one mile of one adds approximately $106,000 to a home’s value!



4. Legalized marijuana

If your city or state legalizes marijuana, you could see your home value soar. One study found that cities that legalized recreational dispensaries saw home values increase by $22,888 more than cities in which marijuana was illegal from 2014–2019.

Even if your city or state doesn’t allow recreational dispensaries, your home value will still likely increase from marijuana legalization. From 2017 to 2019, homes saw an average increase of $6,337 in states where marijuana is legal.

5. The color blue

Classic blue is Pantone’s 2020 color of the year because it’s a “universal favorite that is comfortably embraced,” and it seems that prospective home buyers agree. According to a 2017 Zillow report, homes with rooms painted in shades of pale blue/gray or light blue can sell for $5,440 more than expected.

So which room should you paint blue? Start with the bathroom, as homes with light pale blue to soft periwinkle saw the biggest ROI. Other colors can add value too, such as “greige” exteriors or brown living rooms, but stay away from terracotta or sterile white walls.


6. Proximity to military bases

Want to live in a community that actively supports its country? Living near a military base increases your home’s value by 34.8% on average, according to a Zillow report. This price uptick is likely due to demand as service members try to cut down on commute times by living close to work.

It matters which base you live by, too. Army bases are valued at $50,000 more than the U.S. median, whereas houses near Navy, Coast Guard, and Marine bases are valued at $90,000 or more than the national median.

7. Community gardens

If you’ve got a green thumb, consider establishing a community garden in your neighborhood. It could pay in more ways than one. Your community garden will improve your local air quality, save you money on local produce, and increase your home’s property value.

Your proximity to green spaces can increase your property value by up to 20%. In addition to community gardens, other green spaces that can increase property value include parks, playgrounds, and golf courses.


8. Street art

Proximity to public art can increase a home’s value and help revitalize the surrounding neighborhood. One U.K. study found that 43% of surveyors would rather be in a neighborhood with beautiful murals than a local coffee shop.

Seventy percent of Americans agreed art improved the image and identity of their community. It can also create a sense of belonging and reduce stress for marginalized groups, and it can make residents feel appreciated and valued. Unfortunately, the uptick in prices of neighborhoods where art is installed often pushes out the artists as gentrification drives up home values.

9. Outdoor lighting

One quick way to refresh your home’s curb appeal is to install outdoor lighting. This ambiance and aesthetic also improve your yard safety, and it can add up to 20% on the perceived value of your home.

You’ll want to pair your outdoor lighting with a well-manicured lawn to enhance your yard’s beauty. Some popular lighting options to install include: front yard lighting, backyard lighting, pool lighting, and accent lighting. Consider using LED bulbs as an eco-friendly option.



10. Your neighbor’s lawn

Be nice to your neighbors, because their property can have a big impact on your home value. Neat neighbors can improve your home value, whereas a bad lawn or exterior next door could reduce your home’s value by up to 10%. Have a messy neighbor? Learn how to deal with an eyesore next door or get in touch with your HOA.

Factors that can decrease your home or property value

Ghosts and other spooky stories

Both natural and supernatural occurrences in your residence can impact your home value. Known as stigmatized properties, homes that have been victim to suicide, murder, or paranormal activity can be much harder to sell. Further, laws concerning whether buyers have to disclose this to residents vary state to state and can change at any time, so do your research before you buy.

Noise pollution

If you live near an airport, highway, train, or bus station, it could cost you big. Noise pollution can cause properties to sell for 20% lower than homes just a few neighborhoods over. Home sellers near airports have to deduct an average of 13.2% from their home value compared to other homes in their same zip code. Even living near a hospital can decrease your home’s value, likely due to traffic concerns and noise from ambulances and helicopters.


Residents may love street art, but research shows that they aren’t as keen on large advertising installments. Billboards specifically have been linked to a decrease in home value. One study found that homes within 500 feet of a billboard are worth $30,826 less on average than homes further away. In order to protect home values, many neighborhoods are instituting no-billboard policies.

Still interested in learning more about factors that impact your house value? Check out our visual below.



Many of the surprising factors we listed above are out of a homeowner’s control, yet they are great things to keep in mind when thinking about listing your home.

If you are looking for more ways to increase your home’s value before you sell, remodeling is one of the best ways to do so — just remember to update your home insurance policy before you begin. Any pricey purchases or changes will need to be updated on your policy so that you’re still covered. Compare rates using our simple and fast online comparison tool so you can protect yourself for less.

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