How to place value on having a good view out of the window from a home?
September 6, 2012 6:17 AM   Subscribe

what value is to be placed on a nice view from a home? I have the opportunity to move to a new flat with very impressive direct sea views, for a 40% increase in rent. I’m just having trouble quantifying the view. The flat is below market rate probably, and I can afford it, that’s not a problem, I feel it is a very superficial thing to spend money on. But I’m not spending on anything else. If I had kids, I feel that I wouldn’t be that bothered at all about having the view . I am a male, 33, single. I look out the window, and sure it’s nice, but does it improve my life, in any real sense? I am not really sure. If it wasn't for this view, I'd probably move to a more interesting and cuturally diverse part of town. Which has different kinds of urban views. Views?
posted by molloy to Home & Garden (26 answers total)
Unless you are buying, suit yourself.

If a stunning view is important to you, then you'd spend extra money on that.

If, as you say, you'd rather be in a trendier part of town, then use your money for that.

For me, quiet and closet space are key. THAT'S what I'd spend my money on.

If you have to ask if the view is important, then it's not. Not to you. And since it's your rent money, why spend it on that?
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:27 AM on September 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

I think you have to figure out if this fits with your personal values, and it doesn't sound like it particularly does. (Your mention of it being "very impressive" but "superficial" especially suggests that you primarily see this as something that impresses other people, not something you personally enjoy.) If you value living in a more interesting part of town more highly than an ocean view, do that!

Personally, I love a good view and I probably would pay more for it. It's something I value, so I probably wouldn't even think of it as superficial. I spend a lot of time looking out the window, and I enjoy the hell out of it. My best dorm room was on the seventh story, overlooking a river, with floor-to-ceiling windows. I used to wake up and spend a few minutes looking out at the river every morning.

Also, you have a third option: you could stay in your existing flat and save the 40% for something in the future.
posted by pie ninja at 6:30 AM on September 6, 2012

I've noticed something about views, but I haven't studied it scientifically: people who are near-sighted don't seem to care about them nearly as much as people who are far-sighted. Near-sighted people are into curtains, shades, etc. more than far-sighted people, too. As one of the latter I appreciate a good view out my windows, and try to live in places where I don't need curtains. My eyes are drawn to the horizon and I would give anything to wake up every morning and watch the sun rise over the ocean, bliss! If I can't have that or some other long view of the natural world, I settle for peeks at trees and sky.

Spend a half-hour looking out at the ocean, see how it makes you feel. think about future partners and how they might feel.
posted by mareli at 6:30 AM on September 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Everybody has different priorities. We can tell you reasons why other people might value a view, and then you can decide if any of those resonate with you, but there is no reason in the world that you should value looking out your window at the ocean.

Usually views become part of a person's routine. Instead of drinking coffee and reading the paper or a meditation guide like he used to, my dad now drinks his coffee on the sun porch of his retirement house and stares out across the small pond. The view wouldn't be of much benefit to him if he just went about his business, so he specifically built time into his schedule to slow down and appreciate it, which dovetailed with his personal desire for meditation time.

When you've got a view, you kind of have to set up your living space to put yourself near it. Your breakfast table, or your sofa, or some place that you're likely to sit. And you have to set up the window treatment (blinds, curtains, etc) to take advantage of it but not blow you away with direct sunlight. And rememeber to open the blinds as a default so you don't just block it out. And if you've only seen the unit in the evenings, but you're planning a morning coffee+view routine, make sure you're aware of where the sun will be. Sure, watching a sunrise is romantic, but the hour after sunrise when the direct light is lancing in can be kind of uncomfortable.

But in summary, I agree with Ruthless Bunny. If you have to ask, it's probably not for you. Unless you really want it, and you're actually just asking for our help in rationalizing it? In which case, no, science can't help you. There are scientific studies about light therapy and daylight and how lighting design affects mood and productivity, and they do conclude that "view" is a positive influence, but that just refers to being able to see outside, with no real bonus for whether it's a parking deck with a small topiary planting, or a gorgeous ocean/forest/etc.
posted by aimedwander at 6:30 AM on September 6, 2012

One thing to keep in mind about water views: they're pitch-black and boring at night. This sounds stupid, but I'm serious -- there's a big chunk of time in life when you can't see much of anything going on out there unless you're on a really major shipping channel, and experiencing that has really changed my personal outlook on ocean/lake views.

So, point being, if you're on the fence about it even during the daytime, consider how you'll feel about it when you can't see anything (hey, maybe it'll make you like it more, I dunno. Just pointing it out).
posted by aramaic at 6:36 AM on September 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

I didn't really appreciate a good view until I moved into my 15th floor apartment in Chicago. Except I'm facing the exact wrong direction. So instead of great views of the skyline and lake I have a great view of...the suburbs, I guess? But I still think it's pretty cool and I could see why I would pay a premium to be in the same apartment on the opposite side of my floor.
posted by mullacc at 6:50 AM on September 6, 2012

We sold our apartment in Scotland that had a great view of the Campsie Fells for approximately 10% over asking price because of the view. For some people it matters, for others, not so much.
posted by scruss at 7:10 AM on September 6, 2012

If you can see sunsets and hear the water, that would be worth a lot for me.
posted by Brian B. at 7:11 AM on September 6, 2012

I am not an appreciator of great vistas for the most part. They just don't do for me what they seem to do for nearly everyone else.
I moved into my current apartment about five years ago. I took it because it has a huge terrace and I was moving from an apt. that had a large backyard and I felt the outdoor space was necessary for me to be happy with my living situation.
Now, I love my terrace, but I don't use it nearly as much as I thought I would. Instead, what I have come to really truly appreciate about this apartment is the fact that I have unadulterated open sky out my windows (My apt is built on the roof of a building in the Lower East Side of Manhattan). Just walking by my windows and seeing the sky and clouds, and at night the Williamsburg bridge all lit up with sometimes a giant full moon hanging over it brings me much more contentment than the use of the terrace.
I had no idea this would be the case before I moved in.
I guess my point is, you never know how much you will appreciate it until you actually experience it.
posted by newpotato at 7:16 AM on September 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

views can be very romantic- not sure what your dating situation is, but me and my SO really love sitting by the window and looking out over our view while eating dinner or drinking coffee or otherwise spending time together.

one exercise to help you answer this question for yourself: do you care where you sit in a restaurant? do you notice where your date sits or where they might like to sit? i am really conscious of where I sit- I like to be able to see as much as possible, of course windows are nice, etc....others might not care as long as the meal is looking good.
posted by saraindc at 7:20 AM on September 6, 2012

We live on the other side of the block from houses with terrific lake views. Our rent would double if we moved across the alley. (Those places aren't for rent anyway, so it's a moot point.) What I notice: every house has a large deck or balcony. Some of the decks have hot tubs. These folks are always outside when the weather permits. I'm pretty sure many of these people are retired because they sure spend a lot of time at home.

So - do you spend a lot of time at home during daylight hours? Is the weather conducive to sitting outside? Is there a deck/patio/balcony where you can spend time outside? Do you LIKE spending time outside?

It's likely to be a quieter location because there is no noise coming from one side of your house (unless you live by a harbor). You get the sound of waves lapping at the shore, which is calming for many people. It's also likely to be a cooler location because you'll get breezes off of the water (whether you like the smell of sea air is a matter of opinion).

Another advantage that these folks have (which may not apply to you) is that there is a direct line of sight to fireworks, sailboat races and air/water shows. Storms over water are awesome to watch! You'll probably be able to see a lot more stars over the sea than you would in an urban environment.
posted by desjardins at 7:37 AM on September 6, 2012

I think any value added would be entirely personal, and not easily quantifiable in the way you could value extra space or another closet or big amenities like a free on-site gym.

I'm personally of two -- no, make that three -- minds.

Mind #1: I've lived in a lot of apartments, most of which have not had "views" of any significance. This hasn't been detrimental to my life in any way, and thinking about all the places I've lived, I don't necessarily put the ones with nice views ahead of the ones that lacked them.

Mind #2: On the other hand, I've lived in a couple of places that did have good views (current place has a nice view of a college campus with a quad and lots of trees, a previous apartment had a drop dead gorgeous million dollar view of the Manhattan skyline), and it was definitely nice. I especially love the fact that greenery and quaint old buildings are the first things i see out the window every morning.

Mind #3: Nothing bugs me more than folks jacking up the price of something because it has "sea views". Ooooh, you can see water out the window, so fucking what? I mean, I guess seeing water is nicer than seeing a sewage treatment plant, but in the grand scheme who cares? I mean, if it's a view of a deserted Caribbean beach, maybe? But from your use of the word "flat" I'm guessing that you're in Britain, and that you live in a city, and that it's probably not some kind of ethereal vision of gorgeous beachfront awesome. If I'm right, that's sort of a dick move on the realtor's part, and it's probably not "worth" the price hike for the view alone.
posted by Sara C. at 8:03 AM on September 6, 2012

I have an awesome sea view, but yeah, as Sara C. said, it's not a deserted Caribbean beach. It's a really busy harbor so I see lots of container-ships and cruise ships and weird floating dome-things and fishing boats. It's very industrial. Totally an awesome view of the sea (water! sunrises! a cool uninhabited island!), but a sea view of a working harbor is sort of a different beast. It's neat but I don't know if it's 40%-more-rent neat. A lot of it would depend, to me, on just what you see when you see the sea.
posted by ZeroDivides at 8:32 AM on September 6, 2012

This is the view it's 180, or maybe 270. A corner flat

I have been living in a pretty tatty cheap flat so I was due an upgrade. I was going to move to a less touristy area until I was offered this flat. It is actually double my current rent, but I was living under my means before .

It's lovely but I feel like I am being seduced and my reason is comprimised.

posted by molloy at 8:52 AM on September 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

I just moved from a third-floor apartment with a nice mountain view to a first-floor apartment with a view of the house next door. I don't miss it particularly.

Would you take this flat if there were no sea view? (You say it's priced under market rent, that might be reason enough to take it regardless.) It doesn't sound like you're sold on it. If you're going to be all resentful of the sea view for seducing you out of your money then you should probably skip it :)
posted by mskyle at 8:56 AM on September 6, 2012

It's lovely but I feel like I am being seduced and my reason is comprimised.

Seduced out of or into what? If it's below market rate and you can afford it while still affording other things, then okay. If you're feeling like you'd be paying more because of the view (even though it's under market rate) and you'd rather spend that money some other way, then do that.

No one here can tell you what is actually more important *to you.* Only you know that.
posted by rtha at 9:05 AM on September 6, 2012

If you're "being seduced," then maybe the view *does* matter to you! I've found that, for instance, having a lake view 100% improves my vacation experience of a cottage rental, even if it's a lake I never actually swim in or boat on -- it brings a relaxation, makes moments when I slow down, provides the hypnotic effect that waves and fire seem to have on the human system (and sometimes some associated reflectiveness that is valuable). You obviously don't *need* that to live, but it's a real quality-of-life thing that is nonzero in value for sure, in the same way that apartments that get a lot of natural light are valuable for their mood effects. If you love the view, it's worth giving the higher rent a try -- if the feeling sticks, you were probably right to make the choice.
posted by acm at 9:17 AM on September 6, 2012

If you were going to go for a romantic weekend away with your significant other, and a hotel room with a view was $200 but the same quality room with a view of the parking lot was $100, which would you choose? Don't think about it, go with your instinctive first answer.

My answer: I would love to wake up in the morning and see the ocean; we don't do this often, and that's more important to me than $100.

My husband's answer: I could use that $100 to take my wife to a fancy restaurant instead.
posted by desjardins at 9:34 AM on September 6, 2012

Your potential view is gorgeous, and to me, it's not just a view, it's a location.

When I see that view I picture going out first thing in the morning and jumping the waves, or threading my toes through the sand at the edge of the water. I picture sitting on the beach and reading a book, or making sandcastles over my feet. I picture running or walking along the beach with the sea breeze in my hair and the cries of seagulls all around.

Yes, I'd gladly pay more to live in that place. If you're seeing that same thing and all you see is a view, I'm wondering if it's not really that important to you to be near a beach and you're just thinking it should be because a lot of other people (like me) love the beach?
posted by treehorn+bunny at 9:36 AM on September 6, 2012

For me, having a view is soothing. I'd much prefer an apartment with a water view over a house with no view (or territorial view), if everything else is the same. I find it soothing and much less stressful to live somewhere with a view, and so I'm more likely to spend time at home instead of going out and I'm less likely to get sick. How much is better mental and physical health worth? And how much money would I save staying at home rather than going out? Probably at least 20% of rent, possibly 40%, especially if it's still in the affordable range.

But it depends on what YOU would gain from it.
posted by ethidda at 12:41 PM on September 6, 2012

If it wasn't for this view, I'd probably move to a more interesting and cuturally diverse part of town.

Sounds like you've said it yourself what you value more.

Seriously, are you the type to spend more time at home, or is your recreation and fulfillment garnered by social and cultural goings on? As stated, when it's dark, you can't see the view anyway (but you can go out and socialize or go to local events.) Just because you don't have a view, that doesn't mean you can't furnish your apartment with things that inspire you or reflect your personality or that you just like to look at. Your view might be your walls, and if you like to go out enough that you won't get bored with them, I'd say go for an apartment where you know you'll be out and about. To me, later in life is when you might have to do with just a view for entertainment. Also, some people like scenery; others prefer a balcony with a view of the hubbub of the life. Me, I want it rural--YMMV.
posted by BlueHorse at 1:14 PM on September 6, 2012

Wait that's you're view? I'm cynical about "sea view" price hikes, but damn, that is a gorgeous view!

That said, it sounds like you don't really like the place, in general, in which case, yeah, by all means move.
posted by Sara C. at 1:53 PM on September 6, 2012

If a really great view is important to you, you will know it.

You won't have to talk yourself into it. You'd pay anything to get that view, and when people asked you about the place, you'd gush "but the view is aMAZing! I can't wait to get up in the morning and look at that VIEW!"

You don't have that reaction, which makes me think you'd be better off in a nicer place downtown than in a place with a view.
posted by Miko at 5:00 PM on September 6, 2012

The view is lovely, but I wouldn't pay 40% extra to live there.

A family recently was buying a house near the beach and she found the same house with a sea view would go for around 30% more than one without. But she realised she could afford one across the road from the beach if she took one that had its view blocked by other buildings. And she was much happier being able to step out her front door and being at the seaside than she would have been sitting inside looking out, with a ten minute walk down the cliffs to get there.
posted by lollusc at 6:09 PM on September 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

>when it's dark, you can't see the view anyway

Unless there is a full moon, reflecting off the waves.
posted by yclipse at 7:37 PM on September 6, 2012

I lived in an apartment on the main floor in our house. When the chance came to move to the third floor (no view to ocean view!), rent increased from $625 to $900 (the latter had an extra room and patio as well).

It has been amazing. Three years in, we have never regretted the decision. Looking out at the water makes me calm and happy. Worth every penny.
posted by futureisunwritten at 7:14 AM on September 7, 2012

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