Common Joe 'n Jane Real Estate Wiki

Real estate exam prep made easy! Dive into our wiki for key concepts and study materials tailored for success in your exams.

<--Back to Wiki Home
Bite sized definition logo.

Define Obsolescence in Real Estate


Obsolescence: Obsolescence is when something loses value because it's no longer as useful or desirable as it once was. This can happen for two main reasons: functional (it doesn't work well anymore) or economic (external factors, like changes in the neighborhood or economy, make it less valuable).


Imagine an old house with a strange floor plan that has tiny rooms and narrow hallways, making it difficult to move around. This is an example of functional obsolescence because the design is outdated and less practical than modern homes.

Additionally, if a new airport is built nearby and the noise makes living in the house unpleasant, that's an example of economic obsolescence because an external factor has decreased the property's value.

Illustration of a diver exploring the depths of the ocean. This image represents in-depth further learning in various real estate dictionary and glossary terms on our website.
"A Deep Dive for Real Estate Appraisers"

As an appraiser, it's essential to understand various aspects related to obsolescence to accurately assess a property's value. Here are a few additional points to consider:

Identifying obsolescence: Be observant and thorough when inspecting a property. Pay attention to details that may indicate obsolescence, such as outdated design features, poor layout, or the presence of external factors like noise or pollution.

Distinguishing between functional and economic obsolescence: Recognize the difference between functional obsolescence, which relates to the property's design or construction, and economic obsolescence, which is due to external factors beyond the property owner's control.

Curable vs. incurable obsolescence: Determine whether the obsolescence can be remedied (curable) or not (incurable). Curable obsolescence, like outdated fixtures or appliances, can be easily fixed and improve the property's value. Incurable obsolescence, such as a poor location or permanent external factors, cannot be resolved without significant effort or expense.

Impact on value: Understand how obsolescence affects the property's value and accurately account for it in your appraisal. Consider the cost of remedying curable obsolescence and the potential impact of incurable obsolescence on the property's marketability and desirability.

Effective age vs. actual age: As an appraiser, it's essential to differentiate between a property's actual age (the number of years since it was built) and its effective age (the condition of the property relative to its actual age). A well-maintained property may have a lower effective age than its actual age, which can influence its value.

Communicating obsolescence: Clearly explain the obsolescence factors you've identified in your appraisal report. Provide a detailed analysis of the impact on the property's value and any recommendations for addressing curable obsolescence.

Being knowledgeable about obsolescence and its various aspects will allow you to provide accurate and comprehensive property valuations as an appraiser. This information will help your clients make informed decisions about their real estate investments.
Illustration of Dumb Ox mascot.

"Wit & Whimsy with the Dumb Ox: Unlocking Knowledge with Rhyme:"

In a world where things can age,
Obsolescence takes center stage,
A loss of value we must gauge,
By functional or economic page.

A house so old with tiny rooms,
Its value drops, the market looms,
Functional obsolescence it assumes,
As modern living it now consumes.

Economic factors play their part,
Like a noisy airport's thunderous art,
The home's value takes a dart,
As living there is less than smart.

Obsolescence, you see, can be,
Functional or economic, we agree,
Affecting value undoubtedly,
For homes and properties, near and far, carefree.

Invest in Your Future.

Buy Access Now!