Outdoor spaces, such as patios, have become increasingly attractive to buyers, thanks in part to the rise of more flexible and remote work. In fact, in a Fall 2021 HomeLight survey, agents reported that outdoor space was the third-most-prioritized feature for homebuyers. Moreover, in HomeLight’s Top Agents Insights Report in late 2020, only 2% of agents interviewed said that patios would see fleeting popularity, showing that in most cases, the answer to the question “Does a patio increase home value?” is likely to be “Yes.”
Abby Nelson, a real estate agent in Orlando, Florida, with over 15 years of experience says that “For every single buyer, [a patio] is a huge positive. It can add such a ‘wow’ factor that it will make your house move that much quicker, that much better, that much easier, and for more.”
But just how much value will a patio add to your home? A HomeLight survey of top agents estimated that a new patio costing $3,269 to construct would bring a $3,563 increase in value, or a 109% return on investment. More likely than not, you’ll recoup the costs of your patio and add value to your home in the process.
However, estimates of added value vary, and your exact return on investment will depend on your location, patio type, and buyer demand.
Additionally, your added value will depend on what other homes in your neighborhood look like and are worth. You don’t want to go all out making a beautiful patio if it’s not the norm for your neighborhood.
Since a patio costs an average of $3,650 to construct in 2022, you’ll have to consider your desired sale price before deciding if the addition will be worth it. Follow these tips to get the most out of this investment.
Keep patio costs down for a higher return
In general, kitchen and bath remodels that hover in the low- to mid-range recoup a higher percentage of their costs at resale than upscale overhauls do. The logic follows that patio ROI is higher for less ambitious, lower-scale projects as well. Spend less money in the first place, and it’s easier to make that money back.
Investing in a basic patio space rather than all the luxury upgrades is the way to go if ROI is your top priority. Attract buyers with a feature that’s high on their wish list, then let them outfit the space to their liking once they’re the owners.
Plus, even if a fancy patio could help you command a much higher price point, the value that buyers assign to outdoor living space might not align with an appraiser’s opinion, according to Nelson.
If construction isn’t in your timeline, that’s okay, too. Nelson says buyers often just like to see that there would be enough space in the yard to add a patio at some point down the line. Her reasoning is that patios are a less invasive project than something like a kitchen makeover, since the projects happen outdoors. You can still comfortably live in the house while your patio is under construction, so buyers are more willing to take it on after the sale.
Consider hiring a professional
Patio installation is not for the casual DIYer. In a DIY patio installation gone wrong, big issues can crop up such as unlevel stones or a mismatched mosaic of materials.
Nelson says she’s seen it all, including “patios added onto patios onto patios, next to slabs next to pavers, added onto a different type of pavers… and if you don’t do the base right, your pavers will pop up and look uneven.”
Unless you’re handy with a masonry saw, landscaping nails, and a plate compactor, leave this project to the pros. Additionally, hiring labor for a 100-square-foot patio should only cost you about $500-$1,500.
Keep your patio proportions in line with the rest of your house
When you set out to add a patio to your outdoor living space, take proportions into consideration. Nelson recommends applying the rule of thirds to make sure your patio plans don’t get too ambitious.
Divide your space accordingly:
- 1/3 landscaping or buffer
- 1/3 grassy area for the kids and dogs to run and play
- 1/3 patio
You want the patio to look like an original part of the house, rather than an afterthought. It will be difficult to recoup much value on an elaborate patio attached to a run-of-the-mill house.
Pick patio materials that match the style of your home and hold up to the elements
When selecting the materials for your patio, you want to consider the following factors:
- Installation difficulty
Keep in mind that materials such as brick or poured concrete can be vulnerable to cracking and erosion in harsh weather climates.
Pavers, or manufactured stones, on the other hand, can last up to 100 years because if one breaks, you can replace the individual paver.
Travertine pavers are an eco-friendly and highly durable option that come in a wide variety of styles. You can get Tuscany Scabas or Mediterranean Walnut Patterned Tumbled Travertine at less than $7 per square foot at Home Depot.
Concrete pavers are another affordable option offered in an array of tones, shapes, and sizes.
Keep in mind the era and design of your home and try to emulate that style in your patio. You might use brick pavers for a colonial home, or concrete pavers for a contemporary-style home. An experienced local contractor can help recommend great choices for your area.
Make your existing patio look like new
Already have a patio space to work with? Don’t underestimate the value of sweat equity and a little elbow grease to get it in top shape for showings. The work you put in here can mean the difference between your patio being a value add or an eyesore.
Power wash your patio
First step: give it a good power wash to clean off all the dirt and debris. You’re working with sturdy stones or concrete here, so you can’t do too much damage.
You will need a zero-degree power washer nozzle for cleaning hard stains and sealant off of concrete. Rather than buy a pressure washer for a single cleaning, you can rent one from a home improvement store. Or if you’re not confident in your power washing abilities or don’t have the time, you can always hire a professional.
Fix any cracks in your patio
Cracks may not seem like a big deal in your patio, but the damage can build up over time. In colder environments, cracks can widen during the winter months when water that gets into the cracks freezes and expands. Then, in the warmer months, grass and other vegetation can creep through your patio.
A Fall 2021 HomeLight Report shows that 25% of agents recommended home sellers fix cracks in their decks and patios to help increase resale value.
If you used pavers, you can simply replace the cracked paver. For concrete patios, you can buy a crack filler for a hassle-free solution.
Re-seal your concrete or pavers
Once your patio is 100% dry from the power wash, it needs to be resealed. Sealant blocks the pores in concrete and keeps it from absorbing water and salts. About every 3 years, your patio is due for a new coat of sealant to protect it from discoloration, cracks, and crumbling.
You can purchase concrete sealant at any home improvement store, then follow this step-by-step for how to apply it to your patio.
Wipe down all your outdoor furniture
Furniture covered with mildew, cobwebs, stains, and dirt will only serve to deter buyers. Here’s how to clean your outdoor furniture according to Better Homes & Gardens:
- Wood and wicker: Hose it down, and use a mild, oil-based soap and warm water to wipe off grime.
- Metal, iron, and aluminum: Use metal polishing paste or white vinegar/water mixture.
- Glass: Spray on vinegar or glass cleaning solution.
- Plastic: Apply a mix of 3 tablespoons dishwasher detergent and 1 gallon warm water.
Help buyers visualize their new home with vignette staging techniques
Patios represent rare moments of recreation and relaxation, so it’s no wonder they rank high on home buyers’ wish lists. But buyers will want to envision how they can use the patio space in their day-to-day lives.
“You could have all this great space but if they (the buyers) don’t know where they would put the furniture, or how they would use the space… I think the outdoor staging takes the patio to the next level,” says Nelson.
Staging is most effective if you can create vignettes, or small scenes that set a focus or mood for a space.
With a patio, the possibilities are endless. You could arrange the space with cushioned seating and end tables where buyers can imagine sitting and reading a book, or entertaining friends.
Alternatively, you might inspire the image of dinner outside with a classic patio table and chairs, dressed up with a simple vase, fresh flowers, and place settings suitable for the outdoors.
Getting the most value out of your patio investment
A patio doesn’t get as much traffic as spaces like the kitchen and family room. Yet an outdoor oasis can be the thing that makes a house feel like a home—especially in a time where we’re all embracing our homes more than ever.
Like any major home remodeling project, you aren’t guaranteed to recoup all the money you spent on a patio at resale. However, you can expect the addition of usable outdoor living space to help you fetch more money for your home if you made smart construction decisions and took good care of it during your course of ownership.
Ultimately, you’ll find greater success staging, marketing, and selling your home and its patio with the help of a professional real estate agent. HomeLight’s Agent Match Tool can match you with three top agents in your area to help you get started on your home-selling journey.
Header Image Source: (AndyG/ Pixabay)