If you want to generate sales heat for your home, don’t neglect the fireplace: A cozy fireplace is often on the top of a home buyers’ wish list.
In fact, a working fireplace with a classic design and mantle can add as much as $12,000 to the value of your home, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.
No one wants a fireplace that emits smoke and gases into the home, has a crumbling chimney or is an eyesore. However, a functional fireplace and beautiful mantle can add ambience and overall value to your home at a relatively modest cost.
Here are three reasons why a fireplace can fuel higher home prices.
Cold Climate Necessity
In colder climates, a fireplace is a necessity. While it may not be the home’s primary or only heat source, a fireplace can provide welcome relief if a winter storm happens to knock out power and gas.
In any climate, potential buyers are drawn to fireplaces because they provide a sense of hearth and home. Even if a fireplace won’t be used frequently, it can provide a focal point for the living room or entire house.
California is usually warm, for example, but it’s difficult to sell a new house there without a fireplace—even if it’s used no more than three days of the year, says Gopal Ahluwalia, director of research for the National Association of Home Builders.
Because a contractor can easily install a gas fireplace—and you no longer need to vent fireplaces through a wall to the outside with a masonry chimney—you now can find fireplaces throughout the house.
You may even see them in bathrooms and bedrooms, as well as in living rooms and family rooms.
Financial Value on Budget
If your existing fireplace looks burned out, a cleaning and upgrade are worth the expense. You don’t want an unsafe fireplace leading to a failed home inspection. The cost of adding a fireplace in a home without one will likely pay off in the long run.
The typical cost of a standard gas fireplace is $600 to $3,000 without installation. Electric fireplaces run about $1,200 to $1,500, and they usually generate enough heat to take the edge off one or two rooms. Re-lining an old chimney is typically less than $5,000.
This article is updated from a previous version by Al Heavens. Published by Patricia Anne-Tom on realtor.com.