Are Your Home Electronics Appraising For Value?

Home appraiser values electronics (and the nearly 1,000-square-foot addition) at one fourth of the cost to purchase them and put them in.

Are Your Home Electronics Appraising For Value?
Jason Knott · January 14, 2009

Like many homeowners these days, the new low mortgage rates were too attractive to pass up, especially when it will save me almost $400 per month.

But I got quite a shock when the home appraiser basically valued our electronics (and the nearly 1,000-square-foot addition) at one fourth of the cost to purchase them and put them in!

It turns out that two home theaters, multiroom audio and retrofitted structured wiring with wireless access points and a weather station ain’t worth much in the eyes of an appraiser.

Admittedly, it’s nothing fancy, and one of the rooms is not finished yet, but it includes flat panels, components and speakers and subs.

Why? My wife got various excuses (I wasn’t home), including:

  • Electronics rapidly depreciate. They are like cars, I was told, the old “the-value-is-greatly-diminished-the-minute-you-drive-off-the-lot” routine.
  • Many systems are not in high demand. Nobody cares about structured wiring. Most people don’t even know what it is. Even the fact that the kitchen is set up with a small flat panel apparently doesn’t matter.
  • It’s all about square footage, bedrooms and bathrooms. Prior to the appraiser’s arrival, on the phone I pointed out the value of the items from my insurance company, I was told that “they use totally different criteria than we do.”

I believe the real culprit here is the appraiser (who was a woman … but I am not saying that is the reason), who was virtually unfamiliar with the equipment and home electronics in general.

I know the CEA’s TechHome Rating System has stalled like a Yugo in rainy weather, but something’s got to be done.

By the way, in case you want more information … I am purposely not detailing my system brands or costs in this article, so don’t ask.

What are you hearing from appraisers? What are you doing to educate them?

  About the Author

Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990. He joined EH Publishing in 2000, and before that served as publisher and editor of Security Sales, a leading magazine for the security industry. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He is currently a member of the CEDIA Education Action Team for Electronic Systems Business. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Jason at [email protected]

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