Creating a backyard oasis was a major passion last year – with fewer options for safe travel and socialization, many people opted to make their own family HQ into a luxurious retreat.
Of course, between the high demand for contractors and the costs of materials during supply chain challenges, many people also spent a pretty penny on these updates.
Now, as the vaccine rollout makes other options like travel and socializing locally more available, how are these features faring in the market?
It seems that they’ve developed some lasting appeal, so let’s look at HomeLight’s top real estate agent findings on what backyard upgrades have been fetching in the 2021 real estate market.
The Good News: Values Are Up for Backyard Improvements
Across the board, features like hot tubs, outdoor kitchens, and decks are enjoying a heyday; even if people have more options now, they’re choosing to prioritize these features when purchasing a house, perhaps amid a realization that a home oasis was something that tops their list for enjoyment.
Freestanding hot tubs, for instance, aren’t technically bundled with the property but they used to fetch, on average, $1,202 from buyers who wanted the seller to leave the hot tub. These days, the average is up around $1,999. For outdoor kitchens, sellers could expect to see a $6,156 average price bump pre-COVID, and now these same features are sending values up $9,751 on average.
Decks, in particular, have popped from adding $4,252 to a home’s value up to $7,014 – and given that many decks cost less than that to build, some people are finding them to be a nearly-pure return on investment. That, however, isn’t universally true.
The Caveat: Choose Backyard Features For Your Own Enjoyment, Not Just ROI
ROI on even these bigger values tends to range, from as little as 25% to over 100%, but here’s the key: you usually have to have gotten a good, lower price than average for the upgrade and also be in an area where the upgrade is in unusually high demand, like hot tubs in the Northeast United States.
It’s wonderful to recoup even part of your costs when you sell your home, but the inconsistent returns foreground an important point for anyone who is about to jump on the upgrade train at this point. You should focus on upgrades that really will get great use from your own family and friends. The ROI really comes from using a spa, kitchen, or beautiful new patio to the fullest yourself.
There are very few large upgrades like these that can consistently find a buyer who is competitively interested in them; of course you might find a prospective buyer who is willing to pay top dollar to get into a house with an inground hot tub, but you can’t guarantee that this person will be one of the people who looks at your particular home. Instead, price out your upgrades with your own plans for them at the forefront, and treat any boost to home value when it’s time to sell this house and buy a new home as a side benefit. This avoids any unwise financial choices and helps you pick exactly what your family will enjoy most.