Outdoor Improvement Projects that Increase Homeowner Happiness

December 1, 2016

A curb appeal makeover can create a pleasing, uplifting space for you and your family to enjoy. It also makes your house inviting to visitors, neighbors, and even potential buyers. According to a new report from the National Association of Realtors® and National Association of Landscape Professionals, updating your outdoor living spaces can add value to your home on resale. But, you don’t have to be considering putting your house on the market to tackle outside remodeling projects. The 2016 Remodeling Impact Report: Outdoor Features indicates that outdoor home improvement projects can also make you and your family happier.

The Methodology
Both associations gathered data from a HouseLogic.com consumer survey about the last remodeling project they completed, and ranked the happiness level of the homeowners on a scale of 1 to 10 once the project was completed. According to the report, the Joy Score was calculated by combining the share who were happy and those who were satisfied when seeing their completed project and dividing the share by 10. The higher the Joy Score, the more happiness was felt from the project.

4,079 consumer respondents participated in the survey along with 434 members of the National Association of Landscape Professionals.

Other factors that were considered:
Costs were calculated assuming a 2,506-square foot house—the average size according to U.S. Census data.

The house is a post-1978-built home with no hidden issues.

  • Access to Coffee Shops (measure of both proximity per square miles and the availability per capita of coffee shops and similar establishments
  • To ensure the most applicability, projects and materials represent standard or typical quality; a few projects feature ‘better-quality’ materials. But there are no top-of-the-line projects.

Top 10 Outdoor Features
Ranked highest to lowest, these are the features that appeal to buyers, according to the report:

  1. Standard Lawn Care Program
  2. Overall Landscape Upgrade
  3. New Patio
  4. New Wood Deck
  5. Softscape
  6. Sod Lawn
  7. Seed Lawn
  8. Outdoor Firepit
  9. Outdoor Fireplace
  10. New Pool

Lawn Care and Landscape Management and Improvements
If homeowners don’t have the expertise or the time to invest in properly caring for their lawn, hiring a landscape professional could be worth the expense for the increased sense of enjoyment, as well as the ROI. Landscape and lawn improvements listed in the report include: fertilizing, weed control, installing a front walkway, adding stone planters, installing trees, shrubs, flowers, mulching, sodding and seeding.

New Wood Deck
Replacing or installing a new deck can be an expensive and time-consuming task, but it can also increase the amount of living space in a home. Especially for homeowners who like to entertain, or just spend time outside. According to the report, Seventy-seven percent of the homeowners surveyed said they have a greater desire to be home since

completing the project, 51 percent have an increased sense of enjoyment when they are at home, and 77 percent feel a major sense of accomplishment when they think of the project.

New Patio
While only four percent of Realtors® have suggested sellers add a new patio before attempting to sell their homes, based on the report, the homeowners surveyed who chose to install new patios said the end result provided better functionality and livability.

Outdoor Firepits and Outdoor Fireplaces
According to the report, only three percent of Realtors® have suggested sellers add an outdoor firepit, and only one percent of Realtors® have suggested sellers add an outdoor fireplace before attempting to sell their properties. While the ROI values recovered from each project are only seventy-eight percent and sixty percent respectively, they still provide happiness to homeowners on chilly fall evenings.

New Pool
Only one percent of Realtors® have suggested sellers add a new pool before attempting to sell. In fact, Realtors estimate that homeowners will only recoup fifty percent of the value on a resale. But with a Joy Score of 10, homeowners install pools for the enjoyment they and their family get from the finished results.

For a complete copy of the report, click here.

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