Firing Up The Fireplace

Sitting by the fireplace

Winter is coming, and what better way to welcome it than by curling up in front of your own cozy fireplace? A lot of homeowners debate about adding a fireplace to their home. It can be a considerable investment with costs as high as $30,000, and the lingering question is often whether you'll ever see a return on the investment. In truth, you just might. But let's be honest, when the chill of winter sets in and the holidays grow closer, there's nothing more endearing than a roaring flame and the warmth of a homemade fire. Outside of this blissful scene, what should you consider before kicking off this home improvement project?

Making the Choice

There's no denying the appeal of a fireplace. Outside of its practical value, it provides a certain relaxing and romantic ambiance. This home feature has also been a growing trend, one that doesn't dissipate. In fact, a 2013 survey conducted by the National Association of REALTORS® revealed a strong homebuyer preference toward fireplaces as one of the most preferred home features. Approximately 40 percent of the homebuyers surveyed said they would pay extra for a house with at least a single fireplace.

trendy fireplace

So, if you're hung up on installing a fireplace because you wonder if you'll get your money's worth, should you choose to the sell your house, you can stop stressing. The addition of a fireplace will increase the appeal (and the value) of your home. The truth is this sought after home feature isn't as common as it used to be. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that in 2012 only 49 percent of new homes built included a fireplace, down from 57 percent a decade ago.

But the appeal of a fireplace—both to you and potential homebuyers—isn't always enough to justify the cost. Fireplace installation can be pricy, and that fact alone will discourage the most frugal of homeowners. Is there such a thing as a budget friendly fireplace?

Hunting the Budget Friendly Fireplace

The world would be a wonderful place if money was no object, but most of us have to consider our finances when pondering an addition to the house. With fireplace costs going as high as $30,000, is it even possible to find a budget friendly fireplace? The answer is yes, but you must be willing to hunt. There is a fireplace for every budget, even with professional installation costs factored in.

If you're adding a fireplace as a value asset, keep in mind that its value is not calculated separately during a professional home appraisal. Assigning that value can get tricky. It is a smart investment, but estimating the value added to your house requires taking into consideration the overall value of the home.

fireplace in livingroom

For example, a $10,000 fireplace will hold its value when added to a $1 million home. Buyers expect this feature in an "upscale" home; therefore adding it is a sound investment with an almost guaranteed return.

In contrast, the same fireplace won't be such a vital element of a $100,000 home, particularly if other essential features considered more important by potential buyers are missing. If your goal is to increase home value, it will be wise to conduct some market research to learn whether potential buyers will pay more for your home if it includes a fireplace.

traditional fireplace

Maxing Out That Value

Most of us settle into a home with the intention of staying. We don't think about selling in 10 or 20 years, and we certainly don't look at every home improvement project as a potential value asset.

The truth is none of us knows where we'll be five years from today, let alone a decade or two. The home improvement projects of today could very well be the hot features of tomorrow that turn our home into a market star.

The best fireplace, the one that truly maxes out value, is the one that provides the most enjoyment. It's the one that finishes that family room, great room, or kitchen. It's the central gathering place during the holidays, the romantic backdrop that completes those well-deserved date nights, and the relaxing ambiance that turns cold wintery nights in the warmth of home.

Luckily, you don't have to brainstorm your project on your own. We've pulled together the top things to consider before kicking off a fireplace project, from materials and design to choosing a contractor. And don't forget, you have choices between wood burning and gas units as well as energy efficient elements. You can even opt to add the fireplace to your outdoor space.

A fireplace is both practical and indulgent. It's a feature you won't regret adding to your home, and it's likely it will increase its value in the long run. Isn't it time you treated yourself to the better things in life?

Posted by: TrustedPros
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