Do Fireplaces Add Value or Just Mess?

With the weather cooling across the country, people are firing up their fireplaces again! Even in Southern California where the weather doesn’t get that cold, a fireplace is still great for adding a bit of charm to autumn and fall evenings. They can help create the feeling of home no matter where you are. But does that fuzzy feeling translate into a higher home value or simply a potential headache?

The Equity of Warmth

A few years ago we mentioned a 2013 survey by the National Association of Realtors. This survey said up to 40% of buyers will spend more money on a home with a fireplace. The same study said a fireplace could add as much as 12% to the home’s value depending on the type and placement of the fireplace. However, in recent years, the value of a fireplace has changed. So, determining their value isn’t quite as straightforward anymore.

A 2019 survey by the National Association of Homebuyers  found that only 41% of newly constructed homes have fireplaces. This number has been dropping since 2015, but this 2019 survey represented a new low. Interestingly, only 7% of homes built in 2018 and valued at less than $150,000 had a fireplace. 60% of new builds that did include fireplaces were in luxury homes valued at $500,000 or more.

The reason for this shift is cost-cutting. The United States lacks enough affordable housing so builders are looking to reduce the cost of starter homes. People with a strict budget are more willing to give up “nice-to-haves” like fireplaces.

Should You Add A Fireplace?

If you’re considering adding a fireplace, it’s very important that you follow all building codes. A fireplace is not a small addition to a home and you need more than just space. A fireplace without permits can be a liability to you and the insurance on the house. It can also be a point of contention when it comes time to sell. Proper ventilation, maintenance, and fuel usage requirements can be different from city to city. So check with your local government before you get your heart set on something that could be restricted in your area.

Also, if you’re adding the fireplace for resale purposes, bear in mind you might not see a return on your investment. Depending on the type of fireplace that you add, it can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000. However, you’ll likely only add a small fraction of that cost to the value of your home. Therefore, if you’re planning to sell your house soon and won’t have time to enjoy it for yourself, that same money may be better spent elsewhere. Replacing necessities that need attention elsewhere should be a higher priority than adding a fireplace.

It’s always best to heck with an experienced agent before making any changes to your home. An agent can help you determine which improvements will help you get the most bang for your buck. Or, they might tell you that you don’t need to make any improvements at all!

Your Home Hearth

The fireplace provides many homes with charm and warmth. However, if it’s something you don’t put a lot of value into, skip it! You won’t negate the value of your home by taking it out, or not putting it in at all. But if there are any concerns about the impact on your home value, a local Realtor will be able to help. If you are interested in selling, The Shannon Jones Team would be happy to help you determine the value of your home. We can schedule an appointment to come out to your home for a better idea of what it’s worth. To get started, simply fill out the home valuation form below!

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About the Author

Shannon Jones has been selling real estate since 1998 and specializes in listing and marketing homes. She has consistently been one of the top Realtors in the Long Beach area. Prior to her award-winning career in real estate with the Shannon jones Team, Shannon has had successful careers in journalism and public relations. She holds a bachelors degree from UC Irvine and a masters degree from UC Berkeley. Shannon holds E-Pro, CDPE (Certified Distressed Property Expert), and PSC (Pre-Foreclosure Specialist) certifications. Shannon is very personable and maintains a very strong moral compass, always putting the best interest of home buyers/sellers above monetary goals. A California native, Shannon enjoys gardening, travel, reading, cooking and poker when she’s not selling homes MY DESIGNATIONS Lic# 01247705 | CDPE (Certified Distressed Property Expert) | E-Pro | PSC (Pre-Foreclosure Specialist) MY SERVICE AREAS Anaheim Bellflower Buena Park Carson Cerritos Cypress Downey Fountain Valley Garden Grove Huntington Beach La Palma Lakewood Long Beach Los Alamitos Los Angeles County Norwalk Orange County Rossmoor San Pedro Seal Beach Signal Hill South Bay Westminster

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