A Room with a View

5 Factors to Consider When Calculating the Price of Your View

We all love a good view. Who among us hasn’t shouted at the homebuyers on HGTV to choose house number three because it stood on a hill overlooking the Caribbean Sea?  The perfect vista has the potential to provide us with serenity, privacy, and status— perks that most people are willing to pay a premium for.  They will shell out anywhere from 1percent  to, believe it or not, 100 percent more than the asking price.

Let’s say you’re ready to sell, and your living room window provides an expansive view of the San Francisco Bay.  Or maybe your master bedroom offers a Brooklyn rooftop vista.  Perhaps, if you tilt your head just right, on a clear day, you can see Mount Rainier from your guest bathroom. The question is: how much extra can you tack onto the listing price for that view?

You’ve watched enough HGTV to know that buyers will stretch their budgets and sacrifice square footage for a stunning panorama.  And you’ve seen enough listings to know that most sellers will even boast views that require tiptoes and a craned neck.

When it comes to selling your own property-with-a-view, you want to add as much of a premium as you can. But you also want to avoid going overboard and scaring away potential buyers.

Consider these five factors when calculating the price of your view:

 View type

Each sweeping landscape is worth no more or less than a buyer is willing to pay. Some will prefer cityscapes while others will shell out extra only for natural vistas. But typically, the more distance the view offers, the more it’s worth.  So, a ground-level forest or golf-course view will bring in a smaller premium than, say, an expanse of rooftops that stretches toward the horizon.

Water views go for top dollar, and the closer the proximity to the water, the more it’ll bring in.  In places with a range of ocean views available, “whitewater” (think crashing waves) outshines “blue water” (the open sea, no coastline), while  “horizon” (sighted from a distance) brings in the least.

 Degree of view

Not to overstate the obvious, but if you have to twist your body at extreme angles to capture a sliver of view, expect your premium to remain on the lower end.  It’s similar to square footage: the more view you can offer, the more money it will bring in. And, of course, unobstructed views will always beat out “partials.”

 Where (in the house)

Views from living rooms, master bedrooms, kitchens, dining rooms, and wherever most of the living happens, go for much more than lesser-used spaces such as guest rooms or bathrooms.  And in a high-rise, the higher up, the better.

 Where (in the world)

It bears repeating that the view itself is only worth what a buyer is willing to pay.  And people always pay extra for exclusivity. Therefore, all other things being equal, if you live in, say, Big Sky, Montana, where realtor Kathy Moran says “views are pretty much standard,” your vista will bring in a lower percentage than the elusive Central Park view in Manhattan.


 While it makes perfect sense that an unobstructed view will draw a higher premium than a partial view, the potential amount for either view drops drastically with the threat of future view-blockage by way of construction. In other words, if a yet-to-be-developed lot stands between your home and the river, your river view may not bring in as much as you hope.

 Oh, and one more thing

Yes, you want to be careful when calculating the price of your view. Better to consider the above factors now than cheat yourself out of the potential premium or watch your property sit unsold for months.

But it’s a view, gosh darn it!

Whether it’s “peek-a-boo” or panoramic, water, city, or mountain, we say: If you’ve got it, flaunt it. Write it up in the property description, add a photo, and point flashing arrows at that puppy, even if it’s a view that takes a bit of neck-craning to see.

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Elizabeth Salaam
Along with her work as Senior Contributing Writer for Girl's Guide, Elizabeth Salaam writes for the San Diego Reader. Her work has also been published in Elle Magazine. | Most inspired by: Contradictions. | Favorite room in my home: The Master suite. The windows have views for days! | Best design idea I may never do: Adorn my enclosed toilet room with library book wallpaper and a chandelier. | Will never: Bungee jump. | Have always been: Rebellious. | Dying to: Live in a Paris flat with herringbone wood floors.
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