Most investors know the value of outdoor living space these days, but many think simply adding a fire pit or a nice patio will suffice to meet picky buyers’ dreams. While this may be true in some markets (after all, recently reported outdoor projects boost home values by “up to 10%” overall), for homes listed at $150,000 or more, the upgrade with the best returns may surprise you. According to additional research on the topic, this year’s top outdoor upgrade is an outdoor shower.

Of course, there is a little more to this than initially meets the eye. Analyst Nicolas Bedo commented on the results in a little more detail. “Outdoor showers carry a bigger price-premium than any other feature geared toward summer fun – probably because it means there is a pool or other body of water nearby,” he noted. Before you make this unique upgrade, make sure it fits a need for the homeowner who will be living in the property.

Bedo listed several other outdoor upgrades likely to attract special attention in listings and result in higher price premiums at point of sale:

  • Barbeque
  • Fire pit
  • Pool
  • Spa

Outdoor showers, however, dominate other upgrades in nearly every market. In New York, for example, homes with outdoor showers sell for more than 256% more per-square-foot than typical listings without the feature. In Massachusetts, nearly one in 10 listings features an outdoor shower, compared to Hawaii, New Jersey, Florida, and North Carolina, which only boast between 1 and 2%.

“Mentions of outdoor showers are associated with the largest listing-price premiums of any feature analyzed,” wrote Bedo.

“Outdoor features can give any home a special quality in the market, and anytime you have a unique feature, it can bolster the prospective value of a home,” observed’s director of economic research, Javier Vivas.

Categories | Article | Market & Trends
  • Carole VanSickle Ellis

    Carole VanSickle Ellis serves as the news editor and COO of Self-Directed Investor (SDI) Society, a membership organization dedicated to the needs of self-directed investors interested in alternative investment vehicles, including real estate. Learn more at or reach Carole directly by emailing

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