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Fireplace: A good investment in your new home?

January 8, 2015

When the air gets chilly and it’s time to turn on the heat inside your home, the idea of a fireplace becomes very inviting. There’s nothing as cozy on a wintry day as snuggling up in front of a crackling fire. If you don’t already have one figured into your home design plans, is a fireplace a good investment in your home? According to a study by the National Center for Real Estate Research, a fireplace can increase the average home value by 6 to 12 percent. Reports from a 2013 survey by the National Association of Realtors showed that nearly 40 percent of homebuyers would pay an extra $1,400 for a home that included at least one fireplace. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported that more than half of the homebuyers surveyed in 2012 considered a fireplace a desirable or essential feature. If you’re considering the addition of a fireplace because of the return on investment, you should also consider the potential energy savings. Today’s energy-efficient fireplaces (including gas inserts) are designed to keep more heat in the house and release less up the chimney. Consider the cost What does a fireplace cost? The price can vary greatly. You could spend from a few hundred dollars to $20,000 depending on the style. A ventless fireplace doesn’t require a chimney, which saves money on the construction. A gas or propane-fueled fireplace might cost $2,000 to $3,000, not including installation. Be prepared to pay more than $4,000 for a wood-burning fireplace, in addition to the price of having a mason do the brick or stonework to finish it. Also factor in the cost of fuel—wood, propane, gas, electricity, or gel—and maintenance. Every chimney should be cleaned once a year, just prior to heating season, to check for cracks, damage, and creosote build-up that could spark a chimney fire. Should you add a fireplace to your new home? The choice is yours. Talk to your home builder about the options and costs, and then see what ignites your enthusiasm!

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