“Kitchens and bathrooms are what sell houses” is the phrase we hear from experts.  But is this true in today’s market and with today’s buyer?

Kitchens, in my humble view, still reign supreme when it comes to getting the biggest bang for your buck as long as you don’t get lost in the upgrades.  Watch Fixer Upper or Love It or List It on HGTV and there isn’t one buyer who wants a white kitchen with a beautiful countertop and backsplash.  As an agent, I’ve seen buyers buy a home based on how nice the kitchen was.  To learn more about getting the most return on investment in a kitchen upgrade please click here.

But there is a new trend that is shaking things up and forcing a delay in the master bathroom upgrade.  Buyers are pining for great outdoor living, especially in areas that boast nice weather all year round like Florida and California.  Here in Southeast Florida, specifically Highland Beach, Delray Beach, and Boca Raton, real estate agents are seeing more and more money spent updating landscaping, adding water features, updating patio pavers, putting in an outdoor kitchens, adding a big screen tv…the list is only bound by the imagination.

And this new trend makes perfect sense because it unofficially adds square footage to the home.  Buyers are more likely to purchase a small interior footprint of a home if it has ample outdoor space for entertaining.  This, as you can imagine, brings a lot of value to a home.

The following are high priority items for buyers when it comes to backyard renovations:


Buyers want to feel that their backyard is an exclusive sanctuary.  And you cannot have this if you have a nosy neighbor peaking into your yard from their window.  You can achieve privacy in 2 ways.  First, hire a contractor to put up a fence.  Wood fences are less expensive to install but involve a lot of maintenance.  Plastic composite fences are more popular today because they are aesthetically pleasing and involve next to no maintenance.  Either way, unless your neighbor has x-ray vision, he/she won’t know that you are skinny dipping in your pool.  You can also obtain privacy naturally.  Planting certain shrubs can be a great solution for privacy.  To save some money, plant fast growing shrubs when they are young.  If you have the time and patience to wait for a year, they will grow and give you all the privacy you need.


Today’s buyers are looking to have a place to sit and eat their BBQ and a separate area to sit back, relax and watch the game.  There are so many retailers now that sell outdoor furniture that are total upgrades from your mom’s chez lounge.  Furniture manufacturers are now making outdoor furniture that are comfortable and look fantastic.  It’s no wonder why home owners are spending more time outside than inside, even when it comes to binge watching Netflix.


The backyard, although more functionalized by the modern buyer, is still a place of retreat.  Therefore, it still needs to be aesthetically pleasing to the eye.  Carefully placed perennials, lush landscaping, soothing water features appear to be in higher demand.  The bottom line is that when you step outside you would like to escape life’s stressors if just for a few moments.
So if you are looking to make an upgrade to your home either to get more out of your living space or to create more value, look beyond the interior.  Spending a few thousand dollars outdoors can really go a long way when it comes time to sell or time with the family to unwind. 
Should you have questions about what type of home improvements give you the best bang for your buck, whether its indoors or outdoors, contact the Premier Real Estate Team Ott & Casamassimo.  We are happy to give free expert advice to local residents.