So…What’s in a name?


Recently, I’ve had a few clients call to ask about some properties that advertised the name of the architect in the listing description. In each case, they did not recognize the architects name and asked what I knew of them, if anything. Needless to say that got me thinking about what including a name can add to the listing in a monetary sense and thought it would make for a good subject for this month’s blog.


There are a few different scenarios that an architect’s name may have an impact on the listing value of a property for sale. The scenarios range from as little as no impact to a great deal of impact.  In most cases, the fact that a home was architect designed instead of just being thrown up by a builder should have a positive impact on the value of the home. However, if they are a relatively unknown architect it will only have minimal influence on value.

When the homes architect is well known, but only locally, it can have more of a positive influence on increasing the value. However, keep in mind that because they are only locally known, the value increase will usually be a nominal one. A local example would be Elizabeth and Winston Close who designed a number of beautiful properties throughout the Twin Cities but are relatively unknown outside of Minnesota. (front page left pic is their own residence in University Grove)

Another scenario that factors in to the value of a property is when the architect is known nationally and/or internationally for his or her architecture. In this case, the architects name can have a major impact on the property value. Speaking locally and nationally, an example would be Ralph Rapson or speaking internationally an example would be Phillip Johnson who designed the IDS Center but also built some homes here in Minnesota as well.

One of the most common themes that I see for modern properties, including mid-centuries, here the Twin Cities is that many realtors are “loading” value onto a property because its architect has a recognizable name but only locally. Many of these homes are consistently overpriced when there is no evidence for increased value (new furnace, updated kitchen & baths etc…) or proper comparables in the area to warrant the elevated price. Owners tend to fall in love with the architect that built their house and in turn believe that a premium must be placed on the home even if there is nothing to substantiate the cost other than the architect’s name. Unfortunately, what usually happens is that the owners transfer that false value to their chosen realtor who, in turn, ends up pricing the home too high.



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