Home Buying in Berkeley>Question Details

Utmost68, Home Owner in Richmond, CA

Is a house with an elevator a bad buy?

Asked by Utmost68, Richmond, CA Mon Jun 18, 2012

We are looking at a house that has an elevator outside (the elderly owners added it so that they could stay in their house for as long as possible). The house seems great to us except for the ridiculous elevator. We probably wouldn't use it much (maybe for when my parents come over) but probably don't have the $$ to actually remove it. What do you think?

Help the community by answering this question:


We have an elevator in our house, and it is currently broken. I am wondering if we should have it repaired before we sell our home? I think that if we leave the elevator broken, it will devalue our home, and potentially deter buyers. What do you think we should do?
Mark Leach | http://www.capitalelevatorservice.com/maintenance.php
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 6, 2014
If this house has a 'RIDICULOUS ELEVATOR' it will never leave your awareness.
You should not buy the house.

If you do, two weeks after removing the 'RIDICULOUS ELEVATOR' your 'ah-ha' moment will arrive.

Here in the coastal areas of FL those 19 stairs to the front door get ridiculous quickly. Then it's 20 more stair steps to every level above the front door. Even as a dumb waiter, the elevator has value when the destination is WAY above the horizon.

Just like pools and lakefront, some love it, some not so much, others find them ridiculous.

Choose what works for you.

Best of success,
Annette Lawrence, Broker/Associate
Palm Harbor,FL
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 28, 2014
I think it would be okay to keep the elevator. You might find it convenient sometimes. My grandpa has an elevator in his home and it is convenient when you need to take a lot of things to a different level of your house. The one thing you will have to think about is finding a servicing company whenever you run into issues with it. http://www.goldenstateelevatorservice.com/service/2184734
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 28, 2014
I think since Elevators are not very common, it could catch the attention of buyers if you go to resale the house! Also although it may not be useful for you now I am sure there will be times it will come in handy, not to mention as you get older it may really come in handy :)

I would check on the maintenance cost, and have it serviced or inspected for safety! Otherwise Good Luck with the new house!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 18, 2014
I'm surprised that David is the only person who brought up the maintenance issue. Elevator maintenance is not cheap, but it is critical. An elevator is a great option (especially if you NEED one), but make sure you can afford the added maintenance because one thing is for sure...when it comes time to sell the home, if the elevator is a rotting hulk that wasn't maintained, it will surely DETRACT from the value of your home.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 16, 2014
I don't know why a residential house would have a elevator, unless someone was really handicapped and didn't want one of those stair chairs. I think it would probably be pretty expensive to remove it, because then you have to remodel that area. I think it might be better to find a different house to buy. http://www.goldenstateelevatorservice.com/service/2184734
Flag Sat Nov 22, 2014
One should never purchase property without first considering its "resale potential." An elevator may not be a priority for you now(use it as a two level storage closet) but it has great potential for future value.

In my opinion the more a property has to offer a buyer the better the opportunity......

Good luck,

0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 16, 2014
i am building a house and definitely putting one elevator in my home. I think it will be useful and don't think it is gauche at all. Even if we don't have an elderly relative living with us, it will always be an option. It's very difficult - nearly impossible - to retrofit one into a house. For resale, it will only open up the door to more buyers, especially as more people do have elderly relatives come live with them. An elevator will increase the value of your home.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 16, 2014
I think having an elevator between floors is a great idea. Now you can age gracefully and not have to go to a patio home, maybe avoid a retirement home too.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 15, 2012
I think that an elevator can come in handy if you are living in a multi-story home, especially in the hills. You might even find yourself using it more that you original thought once you move in. There are even certain buyers that see the elevator as an added value. So if you ever do decide to sell this would be a bonus.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 15, 2012
It's an interesting question, and not quite possible to answer as asked. If you don't need it and hate it, then it probably has little value to you. For someone with mobility issues, it could be a blessing, and have value beyond the dollars involved. If the house is uniquely suited to you other than the elevator, then perhaps it is worth living with or removing.

The market would look at it the same way I they might look at a pool. In most cases it does not add any value. Some buyers would consider it a liability if they felt they had to spend the money to remove, and for someone who really, really wants or needs one...it's a big plus. I would never call it ridiculous, because it functions as a tool, with a specific purpose for anyone who needs an assist. If your parents have mobility problems now, you may find it becomes invaluable in the coming years. You might even come to wonder how you ever did without it.

If it really bothers you, then perhaps it's not the right place for you. As with all homes, you should approach the value relative to your use, and make the offer based on what makes financial sense for your family. If you can't make the deal you want, move on and leave the elevator house for someone who can put it to good use. Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 18, 2012
It all depends on whos' buying the home. I work with some elderly people that actually prefer looking at homes with elevators.

It's really a choice you have to make..one of these days you might appreciate the elevator and its convenience. :)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 18, 2012
The elevator is probably not an architectural positive to the house, and if it is there because the house sits on top of a hill, and the path to the front door is only for the fit, the house is missing one very attractive aspect -the "level in" entry. Berkeley is a town of different levels - hills, flats, etc. I would buy the house if it has what you want at a price that is attractive, and take out the elevator if it is an "eyesore". Truly though, a "level in" house attracts more buyers for when you are selling the house - and when we buy a house we also buy "re-sale". all the best. Liz
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 18, 2012
Hey - think twice before giving it away - one day you'll be "elderly", the knees might start to go, and you'll wish you still had it!!

It might also come in handy for getting heavy packages up to the 2nd floor!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 18, 2012
I don't think it's a bad buy

But if you're dead set on getting rid of it, why not advertise it for sale. Surely there are a lot of buyers who would want to have something like this, but can't afford a brand new one.

You can make it the buyer's responsibility to pay for the removal. You can even offer it for free if they would pay to get it out.

Try craigslist or Freecycle.

Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 18, 2012
It is not necessarily a bad buy- it will even be a bonus for buyers with disabilities, if you plan to sell it in the future.

The only downside, as with any additional feature (such as spas, saunas, etc) is maintenance.

If you have any other questions please feel free to contact me!

Davey Cetina
Buyer’s Specialist | DRE# 01887446

Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate
2095 Rose St, Ste 100 | Berkeley, CA 94709
[t] 510.517.7238 | [f] 510.780.2110
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 18, 2012
What is your primary concern with the elevator?
Flag Mon Jun 18, 2012
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