Getting ready to list your home and looking for some a smart update to make before it hits the MLS? If your indoor kitchen is already nicely updated and shows well, an outdoor kitchen might be the answer.
According to REALTOR magazine, outdoor kitchens continue to be a “major draw. The appeal of outdoor living continues to be important to homeowners, and the outdoor kitchen is at the center of that,” they said. “The latest American Institute of Architects Home Design Trends Survey shows that outdoor kitchens are among the most wanted kitchen features in new architectural projects.”
In fact, almost 50% of the architects who responded to the survey “reported the popularity of outdoor kitchens is still growing,” and not just in “warmer climates like Florida, Texas, and California—outdoor kitchens are also taking hold in colder areas like the Northeast.”
The problem with outdoor kitchens is they can get pricey. “Outdoor kitchens are known for being expensive,” said HGTV. “Factor in durable, weather-resistant materials, quality appliances and electrical and plumbing installation, and you may feel like you’re tackling a full kitchen renovation.”
There are ways to keep costs down, though. Figuring out the secret sauce so you spend just the right amount to attract interest and get good return on your investment instead of overspending is key.
Watch for sales
You may think it’s a poor time to add an outdoor kitchen because we’re heading toward the end of the summer, but it’s actually a great time to buy a grill. “To get a deep discount on a gas grill or charcoal grill, the best time to buy is in September and the Fall,” said The Spruce Eats. “You have to wait until the summer grilling season is truly over and stores are eager to get all remaining grills out the door.”
While you’re at it, look for deals on patio furniture and things like fire pits, too. Staging your outdoor area is a good way to help buyers picture themselves living there, and the bonus is you get to take your new stuff with you!
Stay away from custom
Custom built-ins can make your costs skyrocket. “First, consider purchasing a pre-made outdoor grill island or bar-style structure,” said HGTV. “This can help to eliminate what can be costly custom improvements like concrete countertops and stone bases. It’s also a great solution for homeowners who would like to take the grilling station with them for a future home.”
Search, search, search
Don’t limit yourself to big box stores when looking for materials. “Look to reuse-it centers and salvage yards for inexpensive outdoor kitchen cabinets, countertops, building supplies, apartment-size appliances, and other materials you can upcycle to flush out your budget-friendly outdoor kitchen,” said Better Homes and Gardens.
DIY that sucker
If you’re a little bit handy, or just good at following directions, you can create an amazing grill island that looks like a custom job. “If you have a space for it, this DIY grill island is the perfect outdoor kitchen,” said DIY & Crafts. “You can have this one built in a weekend, if you have a few friends that will help with the heavy work. It can be covered in stone when it’s finished, which gives it a wonderful appearance or you could cover it in brick or another material. This is a pretty simple one to build and is sure to save you a bundle over having one professionally built.”
Be smart about adding water and power to your island
“Running gas lines, electricity and water to an outdoor island is fairly expensive,” said DIY Network. “If you’re on a tight budget, you might want to consider using propane bottles to fuel your grill.”