In 2021, a backyard or other outdoor space is a hot commodity. If you are looking to sell now, or in the future, taking full advantage of this space by adding amenities can raise the overall value of your home and increase its appeal to buyers. The real estate experts at HomeLight recently polled more than 1,000 top agents across the country to see what outdoor features are top of mind for buyers. Read on to see the seven additions that are high on the list of what buyers are looking for to take backyard entertaining to the next level.
Revamped decks or patios
The first step is to start with the basics by assessing your foundation, that is your deck, or patio, whether it’s wood, composite, concrete, slate, or another material. If your deck or patio could use an update, now is definitely the time to do it, as people are spending more time at home, and buyers want a space that is ready for entertaining. You may want to consider alternatives if replacing an existing deck or patio. Agents are noting that with lumber prices on the rise (the report cited an increase of 150 percent for prices since mid-April 2020), you may want to look at composite, which is made from recycled plastic or wood, is lower maintenance, and may have a better ROI by withstanding the elements for longer than wood might.
One of the top outdoor features on people’s minds this year might surprise you — a fire pit. In fact, more than 54 percent of agents surveyed said this is wanted by buyers to up the coziness factor. Moveable fire pits can do the job without breaking the bank, or, if you have more space and a bigger budget, you can go for an inground built-in option. In winter, a portable fire pit can also be stored until it’s the season to bring it out again. Fire pits come in many styles and there is an option for every budget. If you are looking to remodel your backyard, you might consider adding a fire pit that has a permanent spot, sunken into the ground, or built into a side wall or recessed table.
Up your comfort level with a screened-in space
The more comfortable and inviting your outdoor area is, the higher its appeal will be to buyers. When temperatures rise and bugs are out and about, having a screened-in space can make a huge difference. That could be why 30 percent of agents in the survey said that a screened-in space is what buyers are looking for in their next home, particularly in warmer climates, and this could equal a high return when it’s time to sell.
Keep it cool
As temperatures rise, having protection from the elements is another factor to consider. For larger yards that are set up for entertaining and eating meals outdoors, a sunshade can be especially appealing. In the survey, 34 percent of agents said this addition has high buyer appeal, whether it’s as a large rollback sunshade or a smaller covering. The ideal choice depends on the size of your yard and its layout.
In the era of Covid-19, backyards are more than just places to enjoy meals, they are even becoming places to prepare them, especially in areas with milder climates. Agents are noting that buyers want, even more, going so far as seeking full outdoor kitchens. This is definitely a luxury upgrade, but the investment can be worth it for homes with space for full outdoor dining. These next-level outdoor kitchens might include a bar, range, and even a fridge, to make your home truly stand out from the crowd. With 46 percent of agents saying this feature is hot in their markets, it’s definitely something worth considering that could yield a big return and bring in buyers.
Keep it to yourself with a privacy hedge or fence
So you’ve added the outdoor kitchen, firepit, and screened-in area and you are ready for entertaining, the next step is to give it the same privacy that you would have inside your house. That’s right when backyards become an extension of people’s homes, privacy is key, and nearly 50 percent of agents in the survey said that this extra element can attract buyers and add value. You’ll want to consider how a hedge or fence fits into the overall layout of the rest of your backyard, assessing the greenery that you already have to make sure everything is well integrated. Combining privacy and greenery is an ideal way to make the space functional, beautify it, and make it inviting at the same time.
Upgrade your irrigation system
When you have added that green, you need to keep it that way — no one wants to buy a home with a brown yard. Adding an irrigation system can be the ticket to keeping yards, which are a big draw for buyers, looking their best. Landscape professionals say that, for example, installing a lawn of about 2,800 square feet, could cost about $3,500. Meanwhile, agents report that you could recover about 86% of that at resale. The bigger your yard, the bigger the job, as you will want to consider more than your lawn but any greenery including hedges and potted plants to make watering as seamless as possible.
There are unlimited changes that you can make for your home and outdoor additions are particularly hot right now with everyone spending more time at home. For the highest return on your investment, think about how you can make the outside of your home an inviting space to host gatherings all year long. Working with an agent who knows your area and its market well can be the ticket to focusing on what’s particularly popular in your area and for your climate.