Last Updated on June 28, 2023 by James Redding
When considering home improvements to increase resale value, gutters often don’t make the top of the list. We tend to focus on more visually striking renovations such as kitchen upgrades, fresh coats of paint, revamping the landscaping rather than focusing on the “infrastructure” of our home.
However, gutters’ function and indirect impact on a home’s value cannot be underestimated. Think about it this way: you may not think about your heart beating or your lungs breathing—but those things are vital to keep you going. Without gutters that function well, problems such as erosion, foundation damage, and even indoor flooding can occur.
Now, let’s address the million-dollar question: Do gutters increase your home’s value?
The answer isn’t as straightforward as you might think. To answer this, let’s dive into the essential role gutters play and why their presence/condition is so important:
Guardians of Home Value: The Fundamental Role of Gutters
Gutters are fundamental components of homes that serve a simple, but critical purpose: they direct water away from your home’s foundation and roof.
By creating a strategic drainage channel, gutters protect various elements of a house, including the foundation, roofing, trim, and siding. This is crucial for maintaining the structural integrity of a home, which could save homeowners thousands in potential repair costs.
Properly functioning gutters prevent a myriad of issues, such as basement flooding and foundation cracks, which are expensive and difficult to rectify once they occur.
How Neglected Gutters Can Reduce Your Home’s Value
So, let’s talk about how gutters really matter when it comes to your home’s value. If you let your gutters fall into disrepair, don’t have enough of them, or heck, don’t have them at all, you’re setting yourself (or a new buyer) up for some serious water damage. Insurance companies are dishing out billions of dollars each year to cover these kinds of problems. Over 1/3 of homeowners have had to claim losses because of water-related issues. In fact, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III), water damage affects approximately 14,000 people in the US every single day.
When a home’s gutters are in poor condition or missing, home appraisers provide a “cost-to-cure.” This figure represents the estimated cost of installing or repairing the gutters and downspouts, which is deducted from the home’s value. This deduction can significantly decrease a home’s appraisal value, impacting the final sale price.
Perceived Value of Gutters
The state of your gutters also impacts the perceived condition of your home. Potential buyers often judge the overall condition of a house by its gutters, assuming that sagging, clogged, or dented gutters reflect a broader neglect of home maintenance.
Imagine a prospective buyer visiting your property. If they see signs of water damage due to poor guttering, they’re likely to be deterred—or they might use it as leverage to negotiate a lower price. They don’t want to inherit problems or extra repair costs.
Therefore, it may be beneficial to repair or replace gutters before listing a house for sale. This signals to potential buyers that the house has been well-maintained, which can contribute to a quicker sale or potentially better offers.
Gutters: A Hidden Investment (in Plain Sight)
While a monetary investment in gutters doesn’t directly translate to an equivalent increase in a home’s appraisal value, it does offer functional value. For instance, a monetary investment in gutters won’t necessarily increase your home’s value by the same amount.*
Note: An exception could be copper gutters or a custom seamless gutter system which can add to your home’s curb appeal. When it comes to appraisal time, stylish and/or modern gutter upgrades could certainly give your home’s value a boost.
However, improvements like gutter replacement can dramatically improve the quality of life by preventing water damage and the related hassles. This can indirectly influence a buyer’s willingness to invest in the property, thereby affecting the home’s market value.
Similar to the windows on your house, their value is often not directly appreciated in a home’s appraisal value, but their poor condition (or absence!) would significantly detract from it, to say the least.
Or you can compare them to the tires on a vehicle. Sure, they aren’t typically viewed as adding to the value of a car (unless they’re specialty or high-performance tires, which would probably be equivalent to seamless gutters or a copper gutter system) but their poor condition—or absence—would severely depreciate the vehicle’s worth.
The Importance of Gutter Maintenance for Preserving Your Property
It’s a good idea for homeowners to have gutters professionally cleaned and maintained before an appraisal. This not only ensures the home’s functionality but also influences its perceived value in the real estate market.
- Gutters must be kept clear of debris and in good repair to function effectively. A gutter clogged with leaves, for instance, can lead to water spilling over the sides, causing damage to both the exterior and interior of the home.
- Regular checks for holes and/or rust can also indicate whether the gutters are due for a replacement. Timely replacement can enhance curb appeal and reassure potential buyers about the home’s upkeep.
The Bottom Line
To sum it all up, gutters are a critical but often overlooked aspect of a home. Investing in new/replacement gutters may not add dollar-for-dollar value directly to your home (although again, copper gutters or custom seamless gutters may) but functioning gutters go a long way to preserving your home’s value, reducing potential repair costs, and enhance market appeal if and when you decide to sell.