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Valerie McEvoy


Do homes expire? Understanding functional obsolescence.

Oklahoma Real Estate Tips | Valerie McEvoy | 405.414.5022

Do homes expire? Understanding functional obsolescence.


Selling your home and wondering why there is not as much interest and price offer agreement on what you think Selling Your Homeyour home for sale is worth? If you are selling your home and not getting the response you expected, you might want to consider the effect of what we Realtors® call 'functional obsolescence'.

Sometimes a perfect nice home in fine shape simply won’t sell, no matter how hard you 'market' it.

Fresh paint, fine curb appeal, a solid neighborhood… and no offers. Home sellers are baffled and irritated. “But I’ve been living in this home ten years! There’s nothing wrong with it! I've loved this house! Why don't these prospective home buyers?”

Often the culprit is “functional obsolescence.”

Never heard of it? You’re not alone. Investopedia defines it this way: “A reduction in the usefulness or desirability of an object because of an outdated design feature, usually one that cannot be easily changed. The term is commonly used in real estate, but has a wide application.”

Functional obsolescence can creep up on a home owner, as when a built-in technological feature is no longer useful. Some homes in the 1970s and 80s had old solid-state intercom systems for communicating between rooms. What was cutting edge then is a retro eyesore now. Built-in entertainment center kiosks or furniture are also a good example of this. It's especially hard to sell this kind of home when you have new construction at the same price point with all the latest looks and design.

Home owners can introduce functional obsolescence with poor renovation choices. Renovations should always be made with an eye on the possibility that a home will be sold down the line, but occasionally an owner will ignore this. Take, for example, the massive kitchen renovation which takes an unreasonable bite out of the living room.

Inconveniences an owner has put up with over the years can be classified as functional obsolescence as well. If you have a second floor without bathrooms or a bedroom which must be accessed by walking through another bedroom? That’s a design flaw that can bite you when it’s time to sell. And no one likes to get bit!

Neighborhoods can introduce a degree of functional obsolescence as well. When a smaller, older home on a large lot is dwarfed by modern homes with more space, the home itself may lose appeal or value in buyers’ eyes. The neighborhood that has new construction going on makes it harder to sell an older home. You are competing with the builder.

If you’re thinking of selling or buying, you should be familiar with the idea of functional obsolescence. Either you’ll want to eliminate the problem or you’ll need to realize the problem will be an issue for you should you choose to sell one day. Request more info here about this subject and getting your home sold!

As an experienced Oklahoma Realtor®, I can help buyers and sellers see homes with an objective perspective. If you’re curious about where your home fits in this market, contact me today!


Valerie McEvoy | RE/MAX Oklahoma City | 405.414.5022