If you’re thinking about adding a deck to your home, there’s good news: According to Lisa Hicks, a Realtor® with Nest Realty Asheville, any size deck in any climate will add value to your home—even a tiny one that barely fits a bistro table. But, of course, adding a deck isn’t cheap, especially if you’re going for an all-out oasis. Kumar Kirk, a sales manager with Just Decks Atlanta, says you should expect to spend at least $5,000 on a deck. “From there, the prices have no limit,” he says.
So, is it worth it? We talked to experts about the dollars and cents, as well as some key considerations. Here’s what they had to say.
Pro: A deck adds value—for you and for potential buyers
To state the obvious, adding a deck has the potential to increase your own joy—so much that you may never want to sell your home. And when you do decide to put your home on the market, a deck is a definite bonus.
Hicks says that she rarely meets a buyer who doesn’t respond positively to a deck (so long as it’s in decent condition). She estimates that even a basic deck adds about $5,000 in value. Add in some shade, built-in seating, and an outdoor kitchen, and that number goes up exponentially.
Frank Shoemaker, a Realtor with Berger Realty in Ocean City, New Jersey, agrees, adding that the key must-haves in his market are space—specifically, enough space for a table that seats eight to 10 people—and shade. “Personally, I like decks that are half [shade] and half [sun],” he says. “It gives you options.”
Con: Not everyone wants a deck
Of course, there are a few exceptions to the rule—including buyers who intend to rent out their home on Airbnb and buyers with pets or small children. For them, the risk may outweigh the benefit, Hicks says. That said, you can easily reduce liability, while also increasing the value of your deck, by adding a gate.
Con: A deck requires maintenance
While a deck that’s in good shape is a plus, a deck that’s been neglected can be a huge turnoff. Rain, snow, sun, and wood-destroying insects can cause your deck to go downhill quickly. Kirk says that decks breaking, or even collapsing, are more common than you’d think.
The key is annual maintenance, according to Samson Ferrell, a senior designer with Smoky Mountain Deck Builders. “On a yearly basis, typically in the spring when all the pollen falls, sprinkle some Dawn dish soap on the deck and kind of give it a bath,” Ferrell says. “If you do that yearly, you won’t have to do the staining and painting as often.”
How often you need to stain or paint really depends on where you live and how much sun your deck gets. Most decks will need to be stained or painted every three to five years. If your deck is in a mostly wooded, shaded area, expect every three years. “If it gets plenty of sun and dries out, you’re looking at that five-year mark,” Ferrell says.
Pro: A deck made from composite material requires less maintenance
If you’d like to take a more laissez-faire attitude toward deck maintenance, consider building with composite materials, which last about three times longer than pressure-treated wood. “I always recommend a composite wood like Trex. It can handle such a beating from the amount of sun we get,” says Steve Kwong, a Realtor with Charles Rutenberg Realty in Orlando. The downside? Trex and other composite materials are between two and three times more expensive than pressure-treated wood.
The bottom line
A deck is an investment, both in terms of upfront cost and regular maintenance—but it’s also a guaranteed value-add to your home. So long as you’re willing to put in a bit of effort to keep it in decent shape, the pros outweigh the cons for you and for future buyers.
May 2, 2023 - Post from Realtor.com
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