Homeowners will be spending more time outside once Daylight Savings goes into effect on March 8. Naturally, spring and summer are heavy seasons for the outdoor remodeling business due to longer days, lighter evenings and temperate weather. The National Association of REALTORS lists exterior home improvements as the most valuable projects, but these renovations are also a popular choice for homeowners wanting to take advantage of the spring and summer months.
Choosing the right renovations is crucial to create an outdoor living space that appeals to you and a potential future buyer. So what’s hot and what’s not when it comes to your home’s outdoor spaces? Cannon Christian, president of Renovation Realty, offers the following outdoor home improvement tips that will benefit your lifestyle, wallet and future sales price.
Wood decks and patio additions. Decks and patios become an extension of the home, providing an enjoyable outdoor location for homeowners to host backyard barbeques, family dinners or to simply relax and capture open-air views. According to Remodeling Magazine’s 2015 Cost vs. Value Report, deck additions are also a smart financial decision. On average, 80.5 percent of the cost of installing a wood deck is recouped when selling, one of the highest rates in exterior projects. Additionally, the cost per square foot to add on a deck is extremely minimal compared to the cost of creating space by adding another room or indoor space. Add a small fire pit, table, seating or bar area on the deck and create an additional living area that will appeal to your family and future buyers.
Natural landscaping. Homeowners are embracing the eco-friendly trend in outdoor spaces by incorporating efficient irrigation, native plants and flatter slopes. Research what watering system is best based on the size of your lawn and garden. As a rule of thumb, sprinklers are best for large areas, drip irrigation systems are best for smaller yards or gardens and single plants, and hand watering is always a good option because of the ability to control the amount of water used. Stay sustainable with solar-powered LED path lights that can be placed along paths, throughout gardens and near seating areas.
Vinyl Siding. This doesn’t seem like the most appealing project, but it is low cost and easy to install and maintain, making it a great option for you and future home buyers. Vinyl siding is plastic siding for the exterior of the home, and acts as a weatherproof protectant. It comes in many colors and has a wood panel look. Due to its durability and price, it is estimated to recoup 81.5 percent of its cost; more than a 10 percent increase since 2011. If you aren’t a fan of vinyl, House Logic reports that fiber-cement is another valuable siding option, but is more expensive upfront.
Sunrooms. What was a huge trend before the housing bubble hit is now declining in popularity and value. A sunroom addition will only recoup 50 percent of its out of pocket cost once selling. The turn-off lies in the cost compared to usefulness. These rooms are hard to heat and cool, leaving the room unused except for select temperate months for many regions. Potential home buyers would rather use that space as an add-on to the home or tear it down for more outdoor space. Either way, it’s a hard sell due to extra work for the buyer.
Water features. Many homeowners are refraining from installing fountains, ponds and other water fixtures because of drought in a large portion of the western states. Potential home buyers see this as a money-sucker and burden, and now can even be fined by the government for excessive water usage in some states. It’s best to steer clear of adding new water features for now. If you already have a fountain fixture, fill it with stones and plants to maintain appeal and beauty in an outdoor space without wasting water.
Fancy, high-end materials. Consumers are still very wary of the housing market and are looking for durable products at a good value that will not need to be replaced quickly. Due to an uncertain market, homeowners are playing it safe and planning to stay put for now. As mentioned before, the eco-friendly movement is also steering homeowners toward all natural materials.
Before planning outdoor projects for the next few months, think about how to incorporate these tips into your ideas, even if it’s just a few changes here and there. After time, these small improvements can add up!