REAL ESTATE OF MIND: Don’t flush away your property value

REAL ESTATE OF MIND: Don’t flush away your property value

Not so fast – don’t overlook the value of  your toilet.

Mario Carey

Yeah that’s right, the toilet can have a direct impact on your property value. Why? Because it tells a story about the age of the home and about how much attention you pay to detail.

When valuing the property for sale or appraising for other reasons like insurance, trust, or estate purposes – it’s important for the appraiser to know the age of the structure he or she is inspecting.

Data is limited in The Bahamas on when homes, apartments, condos or commercial buildings were built or renovated. We often rely on the toilet for guidance. I know it sounds strange, even bizarre, but it’s true. Just like your living room tells a lot about you, your toilet reveals a lot about the age of your home.

Every appraiser is different, but here’s how I get to that little-known information your toilet holds. 

Inside the tank above the water line, or on the lid of the toilet is a stamped date. That is the date the toilet was manufactured. That date provides at least an approximate age of the home so even if the home was remodeled and toilets were replaced, chances are the powder rooms, in-law ensuites or housekeeper’s quarters have the original thrones.

We have even seen the recycling of seats used as flower pots in the yard and inspected those. 

Another trend we notice is a new seat with an original lid or vice versa. This information provides useful in time-lining renovations.

Valuing properties depend on the age. Age tells if a property has been renovated or if it will need to be renovated. Keep in mind that a 15 year old home can be worth less than a 40 year old home. Deferred maintenance and lack of upkeep can deemed a newer home less valuable.

Appraisers rely on age date and maintenance schedules to establish effective age verses the actual age while using the Cost Approach to determine market value. 

So the throne is not only a place of knowledge but also a place that provides knowledge. And when it comes to value, age is an important number. 

Older does not necessarily reduce value particularly if the structure was strongly-built to begin with, but it does need to be accounted for in the valuation because it will become an indicator of life span of electrical, plumbing and other integral components of the building.

Of course, nothing determines market value more than the market itself. A property is only worth what the buyer is willing to pay – no matter how new the toilet!

Still, it’s good to know that the plushest towel faces tough competition from the inside of a toilet when it comes to telling the whole story.     

Businessman, investor and real estate veteran Mario Carey shares thoughts on the economy, lifestyle, environment and The Bahamas of the future in this series.