What is Fenestration and How Can it Affect Value?

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You may have never heard the word fenestration until reading an appraisal report. What is it? It is the design and positioning of windows and other openings in a building. Imagine this room, pictured below, without any windows. Or maybe just a small window or two.  It would not be nearly as appealing, would it?

There are many types of windows on the market. The most common types found in residential properties are pictured below.  I found these on a simple search for window pictures (not picture windows) in Yahoo.

Windows 3

Is there a value difference in these different types of windows? It would be difficult to find a supportable adjustment, in terms of market value, for these differences in style. At least in my experience.

Typically, the higher the quality of construction of a home, the higher the quality and more elaborate the windows and other fenestration are likely to be. After all, someone who drives a Ferrari is probably not going to wear a digital Timex watch. (Although ya never know. And there’s nothing wrong with digital Timex watches)Someone driving a Yugo (remember those) is probably not sporting a Rolex. Quality of construction does have a direct impact on market value. However, high-end windows on a dwelling that only offers an average quality of construction (or less), is likely to be considered an over-improvement. Likewise, a dwelling with a high quality of construction, with inferior quality windows, might be considered to be under-improved. By the way, I’ve seen both scenarios. Typically, an over-improvement WILL NOT not bring any major additional value to a property, while an under-improvement WILL more often than not, have a negative effect on value.

Not all doors and windows are created equally when it comes to their construction,  design and appeal. Some are more visually appealing than others. Some are more efficient than others.  Enjoy this video of some beautiful doors.


In some areas of the country, “sun-based” designs in fenestration can help with a building’s energy efficiency, helping to keep a building cooler or warmer depending on the season. The efficiency, size and placement of windows, skylights and doors can have a major impact on a dwelling’s efficiency. That can have an impact on value.

When it comes to construction, some are more energy-efficient than others. The National Fenestration Rating Council’s (NFRC) website at, has some helpful information in this area.

If you’re interested in knowing how much new energy-efficient windows may save you, check out this chart from the NFRC. Energy Star Window Efficiency Chart.

To understand the chart, you will have to read the Methodology for ENERGY STAR Savings Estimates for Windows” page on the website.  Otherwise, these numbers could be easily misunderstood. However, it can be a helpful resource if you’re looking to see how much money you could potentially save in terms of energy consumption with new windows.

Window Efficiency Chart

Energy savings can equate to value in some cases. In my experience, unless the energy efficiencies of both the property being appraised and the comparable sales are known,  it is nearly impossible to derive a supportable adjustment. However, having new windows installed does lower the effective of your home, which helps to increase its value. An appraiser can make condition adjustments based upon differences in effective age.


As mentioned in the introduction, imagine being in the room in the first picture in this article, with the beautiful windows which provide an awesome view.  Now imagine that room with just one small window, or even worse, no window at all. The difference would be night and day. Actually, it might literally feel like night and day!

When a room offers a nice placement of windows along a wall that allow for ample views of the outside and natural light, it can completely change the feel of the room. It can brighten up a room with light, and may make the room feel larger.  That would be considered to be more desirable. And that can add to market appeal, which in turn can equate to higher market value.

What if you live in an area in which the views are not that desirable? Well, there’s always imitation fenestration. Say what? Check out these videos. I’m not sure that these would add a quantifiable value to a home, but they are pretty cool!

There’s a lot to think about when it comes to fenestration. But clearly, it can make a difference in market appeal, functionality and efficiency, which may relate to value!

I hope this article gave you some good closure on this topic!

Here are some other articles and videos I enjoyed this week! I hope you will also…

When Compelling Stories About Housing ‘s Future Are Dated – Housing Notes by Jonathan Miller

Slumping volume & rising inventory  Sacramento Appraisal Blog

You’re In The Wrong Biz! – The Real Value Podcast

Five Quick Tips For Agents When Communicating With The Appraiser – Birmingham Appraisal Blog

Acreage Property Roads – What to Consider? Advantage Appraisals

Appraiser Competency For Relocation Appraisals – RAC Blog (Written by Rachel Massey)

National data, does not local data make – Ann Arbor Appraisal Blog

How to Handle Angry Borrowers and Agents – The Appraisal Coach

Evidence Belief – George Dell’s Analogue Blog

AI Damaging the Livelihood of Appraisers – Appraiser Blogs (Jonathan Miller Author)

2 thoughts on “What is Fenestration and How Can it Affect Value?”

  1. Nice job Jamie. Fenestration is a great word. You can use it and sound smart. 🙂 It’s an issue we don’t tend to think much about until we have a reason to think about it. I guess if we walk in and a home is all dark, it could be a fenestration issue.

    1. Thanks Ryan! I do enjoy saying the word out loud! But it’s going to take a lot more to make me sound smart.😃 If whilst walking into a home, and it’s not boarded up and yet is still dark, there certainly could be an issue! Living in Cleveland where there are many cloudy days, we need all the help we can get! When appraising luxury homes, and especially new construction of luxury homes, I take a closer look at the fenestration and make mention of it in my reporting.

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