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Is That Backyard Oasis You Built in 2020 Still Worth the Money?

2020 saw a huge uptick in homeowners tackling backyard renovation projects in an effort to make a perfect little oasis since they were stuck at home. These projects cost a pretty penny and homeowners that wanted to sell their home saw a nice return on that investment. The question is, are those investments still worth the money you put into them? 

We looked at insights from top real estate agents and you might be surprised by what they have to say. Let’s take a look at the most popular 2020 backyard upgrades and what they’re worth today. 

In-ground hot tubs

Homeowners didn’t just spring for in-ground swimming pools in 2020 – many opted for in-ground hot tubs, too! This feature gives the backyard an upscale, spa-resort type feel without actually leaving your home. 

Before COVID, a house with an in-ground hot tub (which could range between $8,000 to $25,000) would fetch a nice profit around the $4,000 mark. However, fast forward to today, agents say buyers are willing to pay near $7,000! Unfortunately, you won’t recoup the entire cost of the hot tub – you’d only get around 42% return on your investment. 

Freestanding hot tubs

Although a freestanding hot tub can be moved to the new house, sellers may choose to leave the hot tub at the property if the buyer wishes to buy it. The average buyer would be willing to pay just under $2,000 ($1,999 to be exact) an additional $800 on top of the pre-COVID average of $1,200. 

This might sound like a decent amount of money, but considering entry-level hot tubs can cost between $2,000 to $6,000 ($4,000 to $8,000 for a mid-level unit), you may not get all of that money back. If you spent more than $2,000 on the hot tub, you may only recoup as much as 50% of your investment.

Outdoor kitchen

Homeowners tossed out that old charcoal grill and opted for a grilling area to befit a king… of the barbecue. They rolled up their sleeves and built an outdoor kitchen that has everything they could ever hope for. These kitchens featured countertops, a wet bar, cabinets, a sink, appliances, and even a television (and a grill of course). 

An outdoor kitchen can range anywhere from $5,500 for a basic setup and up to $22,000 for a fancier setup (a top-of-the-line luxury outdoor kitchen could cost up to $100,000+!). When it comes time to sell, the estimated value of an outdoor kitchen typically ranges between $6,000 and $9,700 (outdoor kitchens in the Pacific and Northeast regions are more valuable, coming in at $12,500 and $11,900 respectively)

This means you could see a 71% return on your investment. Not too bad, right?

Patio and garden of family home at summer


A deck in the backyard is a fantastic addition, especially if you enjoy spending time outside or entertaining guests. Building a deck could cost between $4,000 and $10,000, depending on the materials, size, labor, and location. Yet, if you were to spend the national average ($7,200), you could see a 97% return! 

Your backyard oasis is still valuable

It’s understandable to want to make sure you’re getting a nice return on your investment when you spring for upgrades. While you may not recoup your entire investment for any of these projects, they still add a decent value to your property – not to mention appeal to a broader pool of potential buyers!

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