The Backyard Upgrade Real Estate Agents Love Seeing

published Jun 10, 2021
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Now that I’m easing my way into yet another new normal, I find myself sifting through the remains of my pandemic survival supply, trying to determine what belongs in a post-pandemic world. Am I supposed to keep all these matching tie-dyed sweatsuits? Do I, a certified non-camper, really need these portable camping chairs? What possessed me to purchase a 4-pack of water snake jelly wigglers?

Look, we all coped with the epic disaster that was 2020 in our own ways. And many of us are discovering that some of those coping mechanisms might be here to stay… and this is especially true of our collective appreciation for all things outdoors. Whether taking the WFH setup outside, dining al fresco, or simply thrusting open the window to release a guttural scream, fresh air has evolved to provide an enduring sense of comfort. And according to real estate experts, outdoor kitchens especially remain in demand. Here are three reasons experts love seeing them.

Added Home Value

Incorporating an outdoor kitchen into a backyard space basically provides the home an additional functioning kitchen space — and homeowners are ordering up. According to the Brown Jordan Outdoor Kitchens and The Harris Poll 2021 Outdoor Living Report, “65 percent of American homeowners aged 35 to 44 cite a full outdoor kitchen as very important if they were designing an outdoor space.” Where there’s demand, there’s certainly value.

Nashville-based realtor Zach Opheim shares, “an outdoor kitchen is a very enjoyable way to add instant value to any home.” This is especially true of homes in warmer or milder climates, like Opheim’s Nashville region. 

Chicago-based real estate broker Kennedy Baldwin agrees that outdoor kitchens add value to a home, but cautions homeowners, “If you’re looking to renovate your outdoor space and add a kitchen, you’ll likely spend more money than you’ll get back — especially in a place like Chicago where outdoor kitchens are only relevant for four months out of the year.”

An Extra Entertainment Center

I’m not sure about you, reader, but now that my friends and I are fully vaccinated, we’re inseparable, and constantly searching for “safe” places to gather. Apparently, we’re not alone. In the 2021 Outdoor Living Report, Phil Kean, architect, builder, and interior designer shares, “In this new landscape, people are committing larger budgets for a comprehensive outdoor experience that caters to cooking, entertaining, and everyday living. Kitchens are now a necessity in these spaces, rather than an element saved for an update later on.” 

Having a fully functioning kitchen in the backyard allows the host and guests to meet their culinary needs without anyone having to pop into the house. Gone are the days of the host hiding away in the kitchen pouring drinks and checking the oven temperature. Outdoor kitchens keep hosts in the mix, where they belong.

Bonus Living Space 

There’s a big difference between a basic backyard and one that is customized for amusement. For those homeowners or house hunters who really are searching for an outdoor living space, a grill and some patio chairs won’t cut it. By incorporating a formal outdoor kitchen into the backyard space, homeowners are really creating an additional al fresco living space that provides the same functions as a communal living room or dining space.

If you’ve spent the last year in a cramped home with other family members or housemates, you know the value of any extra space. Post-pandemic, homeowners will be creating more opportunities to blur the lines between the indoors and outdoors, the business with the pleasure. Altogether, the outdoor kitchen acts as a type of real estate ouroboros. Says Opheim, “By creating another living space on the property, you not only add a fun space to host friends outdoors, but also know you’ve made a great investment towards the resale value of your home.”