Your house, depending on the side of the street it's on, can potentially get no sunlight or get sunlight at the wrong time of day. Case in point: my own neighborhood.
Some buildings have rooftop decks that face north/south (which is the better situation in my hot climate) and other homes face east/west (meaning during the late afternoon, the roof deck is blazing hot and unusable).
So do houses facing the "right" way make better investment properties? Or in the grand scheme of things: Does home orientation really matter?
Does the side of the street matter?
In a word: maybe. But first and more accurately, what we're really discussing here is house orientation -- the direction the house faces -- rather than the side of the street; although the street side could matter, such as when one side has a sidewalk and view from the back and the other doesn't. The “maybe” means the direction the house faces matters to some people but not all.
Top concern: the view
Believe it or not, some houses are oriented in such a way as to not maximize a terrific view, be it of a beautiful natural backdrop like a beach, river, mountains, or greenery, or of a spectacular city skyline. A house lot that could feature a great view and doesn't is a house that cannot realize its full potential value. A home that takes advantage of a view is one that allows the view from as many rooms as possible, particularly from the kitchen and/or living room area.
Although it's difficult to put a price tag on a view, depending on what the view is, expect buyers to pay at least 5% to 10% more for a good view. And if your rental property has a great view, you'll surely impress potential renters.
Sunlight and climate
Depending on whether you live in a cold or hot climate is a determiner of where and when you want the sun to come in, as would the ability to enjoy viewing sunrises or sunsets. The direction the house faces, along with the placement of windows, contributes to a sunny or darker home or one that allows certain views.
Take the east/west and north/south example from above. People who wish to take in the sunset from the backyard, for example, will want an east-facing home. But if the home's in a hot climate with a rooftop deck, a home that faces east can make the space too hot to enjoy.
Many people crave a bright, sunny home, and a south-facing home fits that bill, as the home gets sunlight most of the day. Homes that face north get sun in the back, making the house naturally cooler but also somewhat darker.
Some cultures have preferences on house orientation. For example, an ideal Indian home has a front door that faces east and a back door that faces west to mimic the sun rising in the east and setting in the west. Other acceptable directions for the front door to face are north and northeast. West is doable, but a south-facing home is least preferred for this culture.
Chinese buyers often consider feng shui (translated to wind and water) before purchasing a home and will pay, on average, 16% more for a home with good feng shui design, according to a 2015 report by Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate and the Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA).
Here are some feng shui principles to know if you want an understanding of this centuries-old philosophy:
- The best directions for the front door to face are east and south. East because of the sunrise and south to get the best feel for nature.
- Homes at the end of a dead end street go against feng shui, making them undesirable. Homes there, according to feng shui philosophy, accumulate dead air.
- Homes surrounded by taller buildings are not good, as the property is suppressed by blocked energy.
- The front and back doors cannot align with one another. The energy flow between the two would be fighting each other, leading to disharmony in the family.
The Millionacres bottom line
While house orientation can be a factor for some people regarding how much they're willing to pay for a home, it matters little to others. If you wish to buy or sell a property with a not-so-good orientation for your market, there are measures you can take to make the most of what your property does have to offer.
Feng shui, for example, is about creating good spaces where people can live their best lives. Most people enjoy light, airy homes, and there are steps you can take to make your home brighter. If you have a door that faces the wrong way for a buyer, consider making another door the primary entrance.
The bottom line for investment properties is to buy homes people want. If you can consistently do that, you should be golden.