I personally probably would pass on a house that doesn't have a fireplace. It seems to be a "must-have" on many buyer's lists and knowing that we moved a lot in the past, I would want to have features that not only I enjoy but that others want. That being said, if I LOVED the home and it was missing a fireplace, I would look into the cost to add one.
My home has a fireplace that I never use but it looks really great. It was customized with a type of stone over lay. I do not know if I could make a home buying decision solely based on a fireplace. If all of the other factors were right with no fireplace; I would buy. However, if I just felt like I wassettling on the home; I would move on and look for one with a fireplace. I think they add to the warm feeling that you get when you walk into a beautiful home.
Personally i wont refuse to buy a house that is without a fireplace because now a days so many portable and beautiful fire pit or fireplaces are available in the market. There can be other factors to refuse a house for buying.
If the property worked for me in all other ways (neighborhood, floor plan, price etc) I would not refuse to buy it for the lack of a fireplcae. Adding the typical fireplace on an exterior wall is relatively inexpensive ($1500 - $2500). Many people don't realize that the vast majority of firpelaces they see now a days are not real masonory fireplaces, they are simply inserted wood or gas log fireplaces. They do not cost much and installing them is realitvely easy for a contractor. The enetire job typically takes a half a day or so.
Great question Brenda, personally I love fireplace. But if I was purchasing and had a small budget that would not be a deal breaker. I had clients who absolutely wanted the fireplace, they have given up some other facts about the home inorder to have that feature.
It sure does depend on the buyer. The one thing I miss having in my home is a fireplace, I never had one and always wanted to have one. Should it be a deal braker? I dont know..... a fireplace may be installed, it may not be one with a chimney though. I have learned something interesting this past week, it is more efficient to have a wood burning stove rather then a fireplace because a fireplace takes most of it's heat out the chimney when a wood burning stove distributes heat in to the room.
Obviously depends on buyer preference - for me, I would probably identify that as a required feature - which is rather silly since we rarely use our fireplace. Also depends on area of the country which influences buyer preferences and expectations.
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Personally I put a lot of value on a fireplace -- and not just any fireplace -- it has to be wood-burning. My current home does not have a fireplace and that is not a mistake I will make a second time.