We know it’s starting to get cold outside, but what if we told you that there was a way to enjoy your backyard even as we approach an Iowa winter? One of the hottest upgrades for homes right now is literally hot: outdoor fireplaces. While fire pits are also on-trend, a fireplace can become a permanent fixture of a home that can be a big selling point at sale time. It’s one way to take a backyard up to the next level of luxury. In fact, in the Midwest, 65 percent of agents said that they’ve seen buyers’ interest in outdoor fireplaces increase in their markets since 2020, according to a recent survey from real estate experts compiled by HomeLight.
Why do you need an outdoor fireplace if you have one indoors?
You might be wondering why fireplaces are moving from indoors to outdoors. While indoor fireplaces are still a draw for buyers (in the Midwest interest in indoor fireplaces went up 17 percent since March 2020), outdoor fireplaces have become more desirable as people have gotten used to spending more time outside. Midwest agents reported that outdoor fireplaces increased in value by 73 percent since March 2020. Fall is a great time to enjoy the warmth of an outdoor fireplace and buyers are taking note.
Picking an outdoor fireplace to add the most value
Like an indoor fireplace, when it comes to outdoor ones there are many options. Gas and wood-burning models are the most common, but some cities or communities have regulations about wood-burning fireplaces — and they might not be allowed in certain communities depending on ordinances. Gas fireplaces are also lower maintenance, and that can be a plus to avoid any problems down the road. Agents in the survey leaned a bit towards gas as a preference, with 48 percent of them saying gas-burning fireplaces add more value, while 44 percent mentioned wood-burning. No matter what type it is, an outdoor fireplace can be the focal point of a cozy lounge area. If you are thinking of adding one, you’ll want to design a space around it to make sure you are maximizing the benefits of adding a little warmth outdoors.
Is the expense worth it?
An outdoor fireplace like a pool, spa, or sauna can grab a buyer’s attention as something extra, and it can also increase the value of your home when it comes time to sell. Before Covid, Midwest agents valued outdoor fireplaces at nearly $3,000; post-Covid that’s up to more than $5,000. However, ROI will vary as the cost of adding a fireplace could be at least $20,000 — and of course, you can go high-end or not, depending on your budget.
If you want to extend the number of days that you can spend outside each year, adding an outdoor fireplace to your home can be one option. Buyers may find more homes on the market with this luxury feature or think about adding one to a new home. Either way, fall is a great time to think about taking a fireplace outdoors.