It’s no secret the number one reason people move to Arizona is for its amazing sunshine and dry weather. With an indoor-outdoor lifestyle here in the Southwest, the orientation of a home is often a top factor for a home buyer in their selection of a home. Winter visitors may have a different preference of orientation than someone who lives here year round.
On the Arizona Multiple Listing System (MLS) marketing sheet, you may find that the orientation is noted in the remarks section or in the data listed in the bottom half of the listing under the “Property Description.” It may say “North/South Exposure,” “North/South Orientation” or just “N/S.” But what exactly does this mean?
Part of it has to do with the angle of the sun and how it hits the home. The angle of the sun changes throughout the year with a lower arc in the winter than the summer. This affects the degree of sunlight that will enter the home through windows and patio doors. The placement of windows in a north/south oriented home causes less direct sunlight to enter your house which is typically optimal in the desert.
But that’s not necessarily the case, since different buyers have different preferences. The orientation of particular rooms may be more important for some buyers than the overall home orientation. If you live in Arizona year round, a west facing master bedroom can cause that room to be extra warm and increase your home’s cooling expense. However, if the west exposure is protected by patios, overhangs, a neighbor’s two story home, or mature trees, it might not be an issue. If you spend only winter months in the home, a master bedroom and patio facing west can be a great place to soak up some late afternoon winter rays.
Another benefit to having a patio on the west side of your home is for the enjoyment of our magnificent Arizona sunsets. Take a look at this home for sale in DC Ranch with a southeast facing patio and great sunset views.
Since newer homes aren’t a typical rectangular build as they were in the past and are more energy efficient, orientation is not as important. It depends on the quality of construction, the flow of the home and it’s R-value. The R-value is a measurement of thermal resistance used in the building and construction industry and measures the material’s ability to resist heat flow from one side to the other. Dual-pane windows are another factor in the orientation not being as important for buyers in a new home.
However, even with today’s superior energy efficiency and higher quality construction, a north/south facing home will use less energy than a similar home (same builder, same materials, same model) with an east/west orientation.
Another orientation factor when selecting your home is the placement of the pool. The preferred location is typically the south or west side of the yard for the most sun exposure.
In summary, while many listings boast a north/south exposure, this orientation was more beneficial in the past when construction quality and energy efficiency was inferior to what we have today. If the home buyer is a winter resident, they may prefer a west orientation for maximum sun exposure in the late afternoon and for great sunset viewing.
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