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Real Estate
August 30, 2021

Backyard Renovations to Enjoy Your Home…and Increase Your Property Value

Post By:
Marcela Mastrangelo
Real Estate Agent
Compass
Guest Contributor:

Whether you want a more comfortable environment for guests during parties and BBQs, or a safe and fun area where children can play, there are countless reasons why investing in the backyard will serve you well, now and when you're ready to sell the property. This additional outdoor space often plays a key role in the valuation of a home. And though usually hidden from sight, the condition of the backyard can also influence how quickly you'll be able to sell, and in some cases if you can sell at all. 

By making a few simple updates, you can create an outdoor oasis that you and your family will enjoy, while increasing your property value at the same time. But before you pull out the drill, let’s talk about what backyard improvements pay off the most.

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Backyard Renovations that Pay Off

Patio/Deck

Let’s start with the base. The number one renovation any homeowner should make is a patio or deck. This will increase the amount of outdoor living space available for hanging out with friends and family or entertaining- a very attractive feature for potential buyers in the future.

This project can cost anywhere between $2k-$10k depending on the size and what type of material you choose. Not only does a patio or deck amplify backyard living but it also saves money in the long run with less landscaping maintenance. Save on the upkeep and have more space? Win-win!  

Add some comfy cushions and colorful pillows to the deck furniture you already have, and this beautiful new outdoor living space will be ready for the next BBQ!

Outdoor Kitchen

One of the most popular backyard renovations is an outdoor kitchen. As the saying goes, the kitchen is the heart of the home- and the outdoor kitchen is no different. This is not just a place to cook food but rather an extension of your living room, with family and friends gathered around to talk, watch TV or play games. 

The average cost for a custom-built outdoor kitchen is between $10,000 and $50,000 and sometimes even higher. It may require some electrical work—with permits in most states—but it's an investment that will bring years of enjoyment. 

With outdoor kitchens, you can go as big or as small as your space and budget permits. Have a smaller budget? You can save money by adding less expensive amenities, like cheaper appliances and fewer luxury materials. However, investing in quality is always worth it, particularly when it comes time to sell. When designing an outdoor kitchen with expensive material such as stainless steel or high end stone, homeowners won't have to worry about replacing everything before reselling because these are fixtures designed to withstand the elements (as opposed to more vulnerable materials like wood).

Pergola or Shade Structure

Imagine you're hosting a party for your friends and family. You want to sit outside, but it's scorching hot out there! A pergola or shade structure is just the thing you need. Not only does it provide some much-needed relief from the heat, but it also further establishes the backyard as a true outdoor living space. A built in electric outlet will bring indoor amenities to the outdoors, making this area conducive for lighting, laptops, TVs, speakers and chargers. Under the pergola, you can relax in comfort. 

Landscape

Curb appeal isn’t just for your front yard. The landscape around your home has a direct relationship with the upkeep and condition of your house. A lush lawn is likely an indication that you take care to maintain it, but if there are weeds growing everywhere or dead patches where grass should be then this can speak volumes about what's happening inside as well.

Landscaping can make a strong first impression on potential buyers, with 17% of real estate agents noting that up-to-date landscaping sealed the deal for their buyers. Costs are typically recovered in 100% ROI. 

Trees are an important part of every landscape. Not only do they provide beautiful scenery and nice privacy to your yard, but they also have countless other benefits that we don't often think about. They help reduce soil erosion by protecting our land, keep wind at bay with their broad leaves, insulate homes in wintertime and shade in the summertime; all this while helping improve air quality!

Fence

Adding a fence has many benefits. A fence will not only add curb appeal and increase privacy for everyone on both sides of its border, a fence also adds security that is hard to find with just hedges or other low shrubs. With fences around the perimeter of the property, you'll be able to feel safe from potential intruders outside your home as well as contain your pets or children to the bounds of your property. 

A sturdy wooden or PVC fence may cost more than you want to invest at first glance; however, over time this investment will pay off tenfold as the home appreciates.

Backyard Renovations that Don’t Pay Off (depending on where you live) 

Swimming Pools

Yes, a pool in the summertime sounds like a dream. It's a fun activity for the family and a way to cool off in the heat. But if you live in an area where it's cool most of the year, this can ultimately be more of a headache than enjoyment. A typical pool installation can cost anywhere from $30k to $75k. Not only are they costly to build but they’re also costly to maintain. In addition, some buyers view swimming pools as a risk for small children, so this can be a deterrent for some families. 

Fire Pits

If you live where it's warm year round such as Florida, Arizona, or California, fire pits become more of an aesthetic rather than functionality. I  personally love the look of a walkway leading up to conversational chairs around a fire pit. Although in reality, how often will I  use it when I  live in South Florida, where it's 90 degrees (or more) most of the year? If you live in an area with cooler year-round weather, then a fire pit may be just what your home needs to light up its beauty. A study from NAR and NALP has ranked them as 10 on their Joy Score because they provide an average 67% ROI! The price of these varies depending on which type of fire pit you purchase but it's worth investing for some quality family time under starry skies.

I hope you were able to find some inspiration for your own backyard project. Remember, the key is finding a balance between value and enjoyment. Adding a patio or deck, building a custom outdoor summer kitchen, incorporating a shade structure or pergola, installing a fence for security and privacy, and updating landscaping for curb appeal are projects you can count on. Which one will you tackle this summer? Before you pull the trigger, feel free to reach out if you want details about the backyards in your market and advice on how to make your home stand out!