Gutters are the unsung heroes of real estate. They don’t earn compliments like a property’s gorgeous landscaping or the rustic tile selection of your master shower will. But without them, a home’s structural integrity is at risk.

Every day 14,000 homeowners face water emergencies while 37% have claimed losses due to water issues. Meanwhile, home owners insurance companies pay out $2.5 billion in water damage losses every year. Gutters serve the critical role of pushing water where it needs to be: away from the house to avoid foundation erosion and roof leaks.

“When I go out to appraise a property for a lender, they will almost never lend on a property that doesn’t have gutters and downspouts that are functional,” said Robin Harper, a home appraiser with a decade of experience.

“In this instance, I would be required to provide a ‘cost-to-cure,’ which is an estimate to install or repair gutters and downspouts. The cost-to-cure figure can then be subtracted from the overall home value.”

So, do gutters increase home value? Not exactly, because they’re like the tires of a car: buyers expect a property to have them in good working condition, or they’ll pay less for it. We’ll help you get up to speed on homeownership and gutters with insights from top appraisers around the country who explain:

How gutters shield the house from ice dams and foundation problems

Gutters as guardians of the house: Protecting against ice damming and foundation erosion

Imagine you’re sitting in your living room on a chilly winter day watching television, when suddenly you feel a drop of water on your head. And then another, and another. You look up to find a wet patch spreading out on your ceiling just above you.

Or, picture this: It’s been a stormy few days with lots of rain. You go outside to clean up after the storm and to your horror, find that some of your foundation has washed away—but only in one spot that should have been difficult for the water to reach.

The culprit in both situations? In most cases, bad gutters. Properly constructed and clean gutters are essential to preventing water damage to your home.

The first scenario likely due to an issue called ice damming on the roof, where the water melting from a warmer part of your roof can’t escape. This typically happens when gutters haven’t been cleaned out properly, the water freezes, and then the ice accumulates under your shingles, melting and damaging the attic or ceiling in your home.

The second scenario could be thanks to a broken gutter or a missing downspout—the water is dumping down onto your foundation instead of getting pushed away from the house.

“You need to have gutters because you’re going to start affecting your foundation significantly if you don’t direct water away appropriately,” said Brock Young, a top-selling agent in Kentucky. “It’s not an option out here, honestly. If you’re buying a house that doesn’t have gutters on it, it’s probably because it’s a bank sale home and it’s all beat up.”

No gutters (or gutters in poor condition) will detract value from your house

Not only will a lack of gutters or ones with issues hurt your home and affect the sale, it could also actively lower your home’s value.

Whether you don’t have any gutters or the ones you have are dirty, broken or improperly attached, you’re compromising the longevity of the home by leaving it open to other problems. And those problems will have an effect on the appraisal when you’re trying to sell.

Gutters in poor condition could detract between $500 and $2,000 from the value of an average-sized house with a straightforward installation by a professional.

Gutters are part of the real estate, but there’s not a specific adjustment line for gutters.  If the lack of gutters is ruining something, you’ll detract from that item.

In some cases, the missing or damaged gutters can even end a sale before it begins.

Good gutters will attract buyers but don’t necessarily add value.  All that being said, gutters themselves typically won’t increase the value of your home. They’re standard, especially in areas with a lot of rain, and having them isn’t anything special.

People don’t just normally install gutters for the aesthetics of the gutters.  If you needed them and didn’t have them, it would detract value. But having them won’t add value.

You can, though, add overall perceived value to your home based on the gutters themselves. Our experts at Gutter Boyz of Kentucky shared some tips on what to do to make your gutters work for your home sale.

Make sure your gutters are installed properly.

There are two important pieces to this equation. Proper gutter installation means making sure the water is being diverted far away enough from the house so no damage is sustained around the foundation or on the siding.

But you also have to make sure they’re level—meaning no water is left to pool up in them with nowhere to drain. If that happens, they can start to draw an accumulation of mosquitos and other nasty bugs or cause ice damming.

Match your gutters to your home.

Just like any other part of your property, including outbuildings, shutters, garages, and even gazebos, you’ll want to make sure the color and size of your gutters are appropriate for your home.

For the color, typically the gutters will be the same color as the outdoor trim. As far as sizing, the standard size used to be four inches, but now it’s up to six inches—so get the larger ones.  But, if your house is a bit smaller and the large gutters would look out of place, then stay with a smaller size.

It’s also critical to have enough downspouts. The general rule is one downspout for every 35 or so feet of gutter.

Stick with seamless gutters

Seams are out. If you want gutters that will bring value to your home, skip them and go for a seamless option. It looks tidier and more professional.

Get gutter guards

Gutter guards are covers that go over your gutters to stop junk from building up inside them. These are your first line of defense if you live in a heavily wooded area or have a lot of trees near your house.

They’ll stop leaves and sticks from getting in, and will keep squirrels and their seeds out—so you don’t have to worry about looking up one day to see a patch of sunflowers sprouting from the edge of your roof. As a plus, having gutter guards could add value to a home appraisal.

Whatever your gutter needs, Gutter Boyz of Kentucky is here to help.  With offices in Paducah, KY and Benton, KY, we serve a majority of Western Kentucky.  For a FREE estimate, give us a call at (270) 906-3055 or CLICK HERE to contact us!