Would it be foolish to add a fireplace to our home prior to selling?

Asked by Laura V, 60656 Thu Dec 6, 2007

We plan to put our Oriole Park home on the market this spring. The home has been remodeled throughout. Would it be foolish in this market to install a direct vent gas fireplace in the living room to attract buyers? It is an attribute our home lacks. I wouldn't increase the asking price but rather would hope to get a better/quicker offer. Any advice or thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks!

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Ginger R.’s answer
Ginger R., Home Seller, Massachusetts
Thu Dec 6, 2007
Hi Laura - You mentioned venting thru an existing chimney. Is this a double flue chimney? The fireplace should not be vented through a shared flue, eg the furnace flue. This is something that would be written up by a home inspecctor and probably be a code violation. Pls. excuse me if you already know this.
We have built several homes & usually include a gas fireplace. We absolutely love them. However, when we go to sell, it is sometimes tricky. If the buyer has had a gas fireplace before, they love them. If not, they are sometimes not sure that they want one. In particular, people with young children are leery of them.
Since there is not consistent demand, I would hesitate to install. Instead, I would price it out, and have the brochure on hand.. You can let buyers know that the price includes the fireplace, or a credit at closing, if they prefer. I have done this before & invariably, they did not take the fireplace. Just my 2 cents.
2 votes
Tom McCarey, Agent, Chicago, IL
Thu Dec 6, 2007
Laura,

Quick question - is it your intent to enhance the value of your home via the installation of the ventless? If so, I strongly urge you TO NOT INSTALL the fireplace. Why? Too many variables, none of which definitively indicate that the fireplace will either a) make your home more "sellable" or b) increase the value of your home.

Here's the thing - the large majority of my buying clients don't like ventless fireplaces. Plus, a ventless fireplace juts out a good three feet from the wall where it is placed, completely disrupting a room's flow to both sides and in front. Finally, if the buyer of your home wants a ventless fireplace - let them install it (and pay for it).

By the way, the National Association of Home Builders does studies on things like this and its findings indicate that the greatest bang for the buck in doing work on a home that you will sell is performed in the kitchen and the bath.

I bid you the best of luck with marketing and selling your home!

T McCarey
Realtor, Husband, Father, Friend
2 votes
Deborah Madey, Agent, Brick, NJ
Sat Dec 8, 2007
It might make your home sell a little faster, but it is unlikely that it will add $$ to your bottom line. The Dec issue of the magazine delivered to all NAR members features a cost vs value chart. It includes national and regional averages. Ask your local Realtor to share the info from that article with you as it pertains to any other improvements that might be under consideration.

While the artice is a great source and guideline, the input of a local Pro who can summarize the collective opinions, wants and needs of buyers in your market is invaluable. Weigh that input accordingly when looking at data such as this article presents.

My vote on the fireplace would be no....but, I am not in your market and defer to the locals there.
1 vote
Mike Long, Agent, Naperville, IL
Fri Dec 7, 2007
I would say not to install the fireplace. 10 years of working with buyers and I can honestly only think of one or two that just had to have one. Even if the competition has a fireplace I would think the cost of putting one in would not see the return you would hope for. As much as you might attract a buyer who has to have the fireplace you could turn off more who would prefer not to have it.

Take your money and your energy and make sure the rest of your place is ready to sell. Fresh paint, new light fixtures, new window treatments, new faucet or new sink. Make sure everything is up to date and price accordingly. Pricing is more important than ever. You've heard how interesting the market is these day plus we're in December and the holidays can naturally slow things down a little. Good Luck!
1 vote
Judi Bryan, Agent, Bloomingdale, IL
Sat Dec 8, 2007
Laura,
Fireplaces are nice here in the midwest...but there are certainly a couple of important considerations....(1) what percentage of your competition has fireplaces? (2) what usable wall-space would be sacraficed if the fireplace were installed? and (3) what is the cost of the fireplace relative to the impact it's likely to have? Frankly, unless the VAST MAJORITY of your competition has a fireplace (so not having one would be a considerable negative....and I truly doubt this is the case), it's probably not a prudent investment.

Good luck....

Judi
0 votes
Cathi Weaver, Agent, Chicago, IL
Fri Dec 7, 2007
Hi Laura,

I would also recommend not doing the fireplace. That will not increase the value of your home. As mentioned, it will take up more space as well as make the room less versatile in general.

If you want a quick offer, be sure your Realtor has an aggressive marketing plan and prices your home correctly to start. Also, if you can be ready to get it on by the end of January, that is when the Spring market starts in our area.

Cathi
Web Reference:  http://www.cathiweaver.com
0 votes
Laura V, Home Seller, 60656
Fri Dec 7, 2007
I just want to thank all of you for your advice. I'm very happy to hear that for many buyers, the lack of a fireplace is not a deal breaker. Thank you all so much for your input and for saving me the time and money of installing a fireplace.
0 votes
Keith Sorem, Agent, Glendale, CA
Thu Dec 6, 2007
Laura
Yes, I would make improvements that will help your home to be more competitive. You might want to ask a local Realtor about what makes sense...don't over do it.

It sounds as though you know your competition. Would it not be a shame to lose a buyer because every home on the market has a fireplace but yours?

Good luck!
0 votes
Laura V, Home Seller, 60656
Thu Dec 6, 2007
Thank you both Tom and Ken. Tom, to answer your question, yes, the intent would be to increase the value or rather make the home more attractive to buyers. I would not install a ventless fireplace mainly out of CO2 concerns. This would be a vented fireplace that would vent out through an existing chimney. However, even the vented chimneys may stick out enough to turn off a buyer. We have already renovated our kitchen and bath so that is good news! Ken, I will definitely take into account the effect on the layout of the room. It could possibly encroach on the dining area so that is a very valid concern. Thanks again!
0 votes
Stacy Karel, Agent, Chicago, IL
Thu Dec 6, 2007
I wouldn't do it.... especially if it is in an area where a flat screen TV would go for that room. I don't think that a fireplace is one of those must have features. Focus your invesment on staging your home and small bathroom or kitchen updates.

Stacy Karel
Web Reference:  http://www.condochicago.com
0 votes
Ken Dooley, Agent, Chicago, IL
Thu Dec 6, 2007
Hi Laura,

It's never foolish to add attributes to enhance the marketability of your home. If it's lacking and it can be done, then go ahead and install a fireplace.
The cost however is the unknown and you may find it's too expensive and not worth the time and effort. You should also seriously consider where to position the fireplace as it could completely throw off the layout of a room and create a bigger problem than the one you were initially trying to solve.

Best of luck,

Ken Dooley
Web Reference:  http://www.KDRchicago.com
0 votes
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