The 5 Questions Real Estate Pros Say You Should Ask Yourself Before Building a Deck
Outdoor space is coveted these days. You already knew this after a year of staying home, of course. Though as the weather starts to warm up in northern climes, day dreams of decks, patios, and balconies are poised to intensify.
Expanding or creating outdoor living areas is high on people’s lists of home upgrades — and was even before the pandemic struck. But is adding a deck to your home a worthwhile investment? According to these two pros, that answer depends on how you answer these five questions.
Do you have views to enjoy?
What will your view be from your new deck? Will you be able to look out over picturesque scenery? Or will you find yourself staring directly into your neighbor’s kitchen window? “When the home calls for it, decks do provide value,” explains Michael Sadis, a licensed real estate professional and founder of IN HOUSE Real Estate Group based in Huntington, New York. “Especially if the home is elevated and exposed to views.” However, if the surrounding area really isn’t that much to look at, Sadis says a bluestone or brick patio will provide a bit more of a wow factor (and far less maintenance) than its elevated counterpart.
Do you enjoy being out in your yard?
With all this increased time at home, Sadis says backyard amenities are more important than ever for potential buyers looking to get out of the house. “Agents are being more descriptive with their listings too when it comes to backyard spaces,” he says. If you enjoy being outside, expanding upon that outdoor living space can be particularly valuable to you. And, if you’re thinking about selling in the near future, your home is likely to be more appealing than a similar home without a deck.
Are you trying to make your home more attractive to potential buyers?
There’s a difference between adding a deck with resale value in mind, and adding a deck to increase your property value. According to Sadis, you shouldn’t add a deck if the latter is what you’re looking for. “Depending on the height of the deck, a CO [certificate of occupancy] may be necessary, and might require permits and potential increase in taxes,” he says. Additionally, Sadis doesn’t believe you’ll reap the financial rewards down the line.
Are you looking for a home improvement project that will hold its value?
Even if you’re not looking to sell anytime soon, you may be looking to make updates to your home that will hold their value over time. According to Sami Allen, a home finance expert with Forbes Advisor, a deck can fall into that category. “In 2020, wood decks recouped about 72 percent of their initial cost and composite wood decks about 67 percent, upon sale, according to the Cost vs. Value Report.”
So, the question isn’t whether adding a deck to your property will increase your property’s resale value, but instead how much of your original investment you’ll get back. “Adding a deck to a property that you expect to sell soon means accepting that you will lose money on the cost of the deck, plus you will have little, if any, time to use the deck yourself,” Allen says, adding that more expensive decks will lose money at a greater rate over the short-term.
Do you really want a deck?
If you’ve always wanted a deck, the benefit of adding one to your home is the enjoyment you’ll get, which let’s face it, is kind of priceless. Just follow Allen’s advice and build your deck using wood and not wood composite if you do think you’ll sell soon-ish. “Wood composite decks cost more upfront,” she says. “But because they last longer and have fewer maintenance issues, they will likely end up costing the same as a wood deck amortized over the long-term — and long-term is something that you won’t have if selling soon.”