Homeowners love adding additions, improvements, and luxurious touches to their homes. This is particularly true when living through a global pandemic and spending a lot more time at home. Even after the vaccine arrived, however, many homeowners and families are realizing how much they continue to enjoy a luxurious experience at home, with comfort and fun at their fingertips.
A good example is adding an in-ground hot tub in the backyard, making your few houseguests feel like they’re at a fancy mountain getaway instead of just staying home most of the time. Whether combined with an inground pool or as a single feature, in-ground hot tubs feel like you’re stepping out of the daily grind and into relaxation.
The price tag on luxurious backyard modifications can get high, though, so some people turn to considering return on investment: will they be able to get some of these costs back when they sell the house? In most cases, it’s unrealistic to expect to get every penny back from an expensive install, but getting even a bit of a premium back at your home’s sale makes the luxury more affordable until then.
Inground hot tubs are an interesting case study in how different regions have changing demand for these kinds of features, especially in our current low-inventory sellers market. Read on to see how your in-ground hot tub purchase may shake out in the market if you sell in the coming years.
North-eastern Buyers Willing to Pay
First, some baseline numbers: according to the HomeLight Real Estate Agents Q2 2021 survey, an inground hot tub boosted home sale prices by $4,052 on average before COVID. That’s strong, but given that in-ground hot tubs tend to cost at least $8000 with installation and materials, you’d still be making a pretty big investment in your own enjoyment, not just in resale value.
That being said, the popularity of in-ground hot tubs has changed a lot, with the average return on investment at sale after the vaccine became widely available being up around $6,925. This means recouping nearly $3000 more in costs, and in the colder zones of the country, the boost could be even more.
North-eastern buyers deal with some of the colder temperatures in the United States, and some parts of that region are also just more expensive housing markets, but they are also valuing hot tubs higher. In these expensive markets, you’ll see a boost to home sale price, more like $8,292. When buyers have higher budgets, in particular, you may see that the in-ground hot tub is just the thing to make Northeastern buyers put their best offer forward.
Midwestern Buyers Paying More Than Before
Midwesterners, which includes a large swath of cold-weather zones as well, have grown their interest in ground hot tubs the most of any region, even though you won’t see the kinds of returns there that you’d see in the Northeast. Before COVID, you’d only see an average of $1,890 bump in your sale price for an inground hot tub, while after, $3,899 is more of the average, showing the appeal has really grown by leaps and bounds.
If you’re selling a home in the Midwest, be it a primary residence or a rental property, keep in mind whether you’re in a luxury market or not – part of the lower return on investment is that not every home is a target for luxury buyers, but pockets of midwestern real estate will have motivated buyers who are definitely hoping for, if not expecting, luxury features like the in-ground spa.
Costs of Inground Hot Tub Installations Vary A Lot
All of that said, hold off on buying an in-ground hot tub just for these high return values. If you aren’t planning to use it a lot yourself, you’re unlikely to recoup your costs when sale time comes.
When HomeLight investigated it, the average costs with hot tub and installations were between $8,000 and $25,000, with the wide variation attributable to things like luxury features or materials, as well as the size of the spa. Even the lower-end in-ground hot tubs are unlikely to give you a consistent 100% ROI, though finding the perfect buyer who wanted a hot tub anyway could help you find this success.
Here are four tips for making sure you get the best return on investment out of your in-ground spa:
- Take the time to do the research and get a highly reputable but affordable installer. Aim for a spa with a reputation for being long-lasting; it doesn’t have to have the top price tag to potentially last the longest and therefore hold its value at selling in a few years.
- Learn as much as you can from the installers about maintaining the in-ground spa. Anything from knowing how the plumbing to the tub is run to how often to treat the water and clean the tub will help extend its life as a new-looking tub.
- Right before selling, hire an excellent home cleaner who has experience making in-ground hot tubs look great. Remember, a potential buyer reacts much differently to a well-loved, worn-down tub outdoors than to a gleaming jewel that seems like it was just installed yesterday.
- Remember that setting matters – don’t neglect tiles, landscaping, or patio features near the hot tub. Make sure the whole space is styled wonderfully to create the maximum impact on your potential buyer!
In most cases, the post-vaccine world will give you a little more return for your investment, but you should assume that choosing a hot tub should be for your own enjoyment and relaxation. If your family will enjoy your backyard more in the years before you choose to sell the home, that is the best reason for this kind of renovation to be truly “worth it.”
Apply the same level of return-on-investment care to the rest of your home as well – your in-ground hot tub is just one of the many ways you can make sure that your home is in top shape and attuned to the needs of a buyer.