FAQs: What is the Difference Between Cost, Value and Worth?

FAQs is an ongoing-series that revisits, and answers questions I hear most often, in 400 words or less (click here  to read others)

At face value, Decorating and Staging are visual entities.  But trust this Westchester County Home Stager and Decorator:  they deal with a lot more intangibles than you may think. Helping my clients untangle and clarify the difference between COSTVALUE and WORTH adds perspective and confidence to their decision process.

Let me first share one of my favorite quotes from Albert Einstein:  “Not everything that counts can be counted; and not everything that can be counted counts.”

I suggest my clients think of COST as something they actually choose to part with, to get something else. You make a trade that you think will benefit you. It’s temporary, a means to an end. COST could be money to pay for something, time or energy you give up to get something done. It’s qualities like privacy and freedom, in exchange for getting your house sold; or peace and quiet while you go through renovations, or updates in your house.

VALUE and WORTH are similar: both very personal, but different in degrees.

In my mind,  VALUE is an advantage…a perception, a characteristic, it’s what makes something a good-or better choice. VALUE is the fufillment of a need, or a wish.

It can  motivate, clarify a decision, or be the hoped-for result when COST is involved.  Homeowners will remodel, or update their space so they can use or enjoy it more. Sellers understanding their potential buyer pool will highlight features that will appeal to the needs-or dreams these types of buyers will have.

WORTH, on the other hand is really a conclusion, even an action.  WORTH takes value a step further, it’s a decision about COST vs. VALUE.

For example-a serious buyer would find WORTH, and choose to pay more for a home that was freshly painted over a similar home in need of a paint job…or the COST of an air conditioner -weighed against the VALUE of a good nights’ sleep on a steamy summer night would lead many to conclude it’s WORTH (like the credit card) was just PRICELESS!