Creating Value with Your Backyard Living Space
Our homes may be our castles, but our yards can create a personal oasis
Your yard first and foremost reflects your personality and style
Creating your outdoor “dreamspace” will give you and your loved ones hours of enjoyment, while adding value when it comes time to sell
Independence Day is here. Many people will be entertaining, hosting gatherings within their homes and having their own fireworks shows in backyards across the country. Coronavirus is still with us, as some states are reclosing and slowing down reopening phases. It’s an uncertain time, though truly most all times are uncertain, we’re just unaware of risks we face.
In the midst of this uncertainty, homeowners have taken this time to really evaluate and invest in what makes a home a joy to live in. With so many people sheltering in place, they’re looking at every inch of their home and planning their next improvement project. One area homeowners are focused on is their outdoor space, and one of the features desired most by buyers at the moment is a backyard oasis.
So what would be the perfect oasis? When people go into their backyards, they want to be less restricted. They don’t want to have walls surrounding them and suffocating them after a long day at the office. We’re seeing and hearing that they want to sit in a nice relaxed area where they can enjoy an adult beverage with their friends and loved ones. Buyers right now are craving in-ground pool systems, and pool companies are being overwhelmed with orders. Even with installers moving as quickly as they can, homeowners are having their orders put on a 2-year waiting list here in Louisville Kentucky.
Now, if you are a seller in this market, would I advise you to rush to have a pool installed in your backyard before we list your home? Professionally, no. While the addition of a pool could equate, on average, to about a 7% increase to your property value, depending on the age and condition of the pool, studies show that if the pool is over 7 years old, it will decrease the value drastically. Only 20%-25% of Americans have pools in their homes. It’s important for clients to know the necessary maintenance needed just to keep a pool functioning could run anywhere from $5,000-$10,000 annually. Pools are a rarity in our market, and there are good reasons for this, but they are a luxury that can not only provide enjoyment for family and friends but also an extremely attractive amenity for buyers.
But pools are not our only option when bringing different ideas to the table for a backyard oasis. Another sought-after feature in the current market is a deck or patio. This is an excellent improvement to make, adding value both to your experience of the home and increasing its attractiveness to potential buyers. What I see often though and missed by many owners is the importance of scaling the deck size appropriately relative to the house. Some owners will have ideas about taking decks and making them absurdly huge. When thinking about how big your deck should be it’s not unlike thinking about the square footage of your interior home. Bigger may sound better but it’s really about maximizing the utility of the square footage. Many people will spend money to increase the square footage and in return have lower quality. I would argue for using the highest quality materials and finishes and creating only the square footage you’re going to actually utilize. Making sure the deck fits everything you want and nothing more, makes it a comfortable outdoor parlor, not just a big vast space.
If you’re looking to get away from decks and opt for a patio, there will be more options on ways to utilize the space, such as making a gazebo where you could sit and relax, adding a water feature or an outdoor fireplace or, most in demand, an outdoor kitchen. A well-outfitted outdoor cooking area will really set your patio apart, helping to create your personal sanctuary. Adding a gas fireplace for the cool fall nights could be just what is needed to take as much advantage of a beautiful backyard space.
Backyard oases are there to suit the homeowners firstly. If you enjoy traveling and visiting tropical locations, you can create a backyard space to evoke that emotional connection. Adding a waterfall and tropical plants will bring a lush, verdant feeling. A family who is non-stop in the kitchen and loves to cook, but wants to be in the open spaciousness of their backyard will get untold hours of enjoyment from installing an outdoor kitchen. The homeowner who loves an early morning, solitary swim can add an in-ground pool to create their personal aquatic dreamscape. The vision is yours and the options are limited only by imagination.
We know how much your home means to you, so take a step into your backyard, and consider how you can create a space that you look forward to spending time in. If you create a space that excites you, you’ll have added tremendous value when it comes to sell.
Ethan Adams is a real estate professional specializing in the luxury real estate market. He lives in Louisville, KY and is here to help you understand the market, value your home, as well as guide you through buying or listing your next property. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.