Most new homeowners will say that they don’t regret their decision to purchase instead of rent. When asked why, one of the most common reasons given is that they want to build equity as a form of savings and a form of investment. While some mortgages allow buyers to immediately start building equity, many new buyers will experience something called a “balloon payment.” This makes it impossible to build equity early on, as 80-90% of monthly payments only cover the interest on the loan during the first few years. So if you do want to actually profit off a home investment without having to wait more than five years or so, you will need to find ways to increase the market value of your home. Some homes will automatically increase just due to rising property prices, but you can also make renovations, upgrades and additions to the home. Many of the easiest home improvements can take place in the backyard.
Know When You Might Need a Permit
Before making any major changes to your backyard, it’s important to note that “permanent” structures will require approval from the planning and zoning office in your town. That being said, there are plenty of improvements you can make without necessarily adding permanent structures.
Also keep in mind that permanent structures are defined differently by local, county and state laws. If you are looking to install something, it’s best to call and ask. Sheds, playgrounds and more are sometimes considered permanent and require a permit.
Add an Area for Social Gatherings
One of the most common backyard additions is to make use of decking to add an area that can be used to host outdoor gatherings. Studies have shown that decks generally recoup their entire cost and then some, especially if they provide additional function to the house. The amount of profit you can make from a deck depends on how much you pay for yours, as they can range in price from roughly $1,000 to upwards of $15-20,000. Most people can recoup at least 106% of the cost of a new porch in the home value it adds alone.
Make Use of Plants and Trees
One great addition to most backyards is the use of plants and trees to make proper use of your space. By building vine walls with lattice panels, you can separate your backyard into different areas, divided by purpose. With rows of flowers, you can guide walking to specific paths, and by using trees in specific areas you can create the ability to lounge in the shade as well.
Trees will need on average 5 years before they have grown enough to add value to your home, give or take a couple years depending on type of tree. For lattice plants, anything that hangs can be grown. This includes morning glories, honeysuckle plants, grapes, any type of vine and more. When using flowers to guide walking paths, putting down walking stones can be helpful to discourage people from walking on the lawn. It can also be helpful to install a water feature of some kind, especially if a large portion of your backyard is dedicated to being a type of courtyard. A pond or a fountain can work, depending on what you’re looking for.
Reap the Rewards of Added Beauty and Function
Whether you build it or grow it, a backyard addition is an excellent way to increase the value of your new home investment without having to spend too much up front or wait too long to see a return. By adding both beauty and function, these additions will make your home that much more attractive to future buyers when you’re ready to sell.