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Children’s Backyard Play Area: Does It Help or Hurt My Home's Value?

Jun 21, 2020 by Liz Brumer

As a parent, you want to provide fun ways to keep your children entertained and occupied at home, but as a homeowner, you need to consider how changes to your property can affect your resale value. A children's backyard play area will certainly keep the kids happy, but does it help or hurt your home's value in the long run? This article will delve into the nuances of when and how a play area can impact your resale value.

What is a children's backyard play area?

A children's backyard play area is considered to be any space in the backyard that has semi-permanent play equipment installed as part of the landscaping. It may include a treehouse, fort, slide, swings, trampoline, monkey bars, sandboxes, or any combination thereof. They are typically geared toward younger children but depending on design can appeal to a wide age range.

How can it help my home's value?

In the 2020 National Association of Realtors buyer and seller generational trends report, they found that 61% of homebuyers between the age of 30 and 39 had at least one child under the age of 18 living at home. Considering that age group makes up the largest group of buyers, it makes sense that a children's backyard play area would appeal to a large portion of potential buyers.

If a prospective buyer were to enter your home and the children immediately run to the play area and entertain themselves while the parents get to take a look at the house, you better believe they will see the play area as a positive. They are already benefiting from it being there and they haven't even purchased the house yet. In addition, most children's play areas require little to no maintenance, making them a good fit for busy families.

How can it hurt my home's value?

In most instances, a play area will not detract from your home's value as long as it's in good repair. While parents or young couples looking to start a family might see it as a benefit, those who aren't looking to start a family or those who have older children certainly will not see it as a bonus. More than likely in that case it will be looked at as something to be removed.

With that being said, if you're looking to sell soon and are considering improvements that actually add value to your home, your money would be better spent on upgrades that appeal to a wider audience, such as installing lush grass with pretty landscaping; adding a porch, patio, or deck; or putting in a fire pit area.

How to find a happy medium

If you're currently thinking of installing a play area, you don't necessarily have to go with the standard jungle-gym concept. You could consider creating a chalkboard fence, a tire swing on a tree, or landscape features that double as a children's playspace. Perhaps a pond that's shallow enough for the kids to splash around in, a sandy area surrounded by landscaping that they are free to dig in, or edging garden beds with wood pilings that they can hop along on.

Also be sure to consider your overall space. It may help to have the play area set to the side so that it's not the focal point of the backyard. If you have a small yard and half of it is a play area, it may overwhelm the space. Make it proportional to the yard and your home so potential buyers can better envision the landscape that best suits their lifestyle.

If you have a children's play area and are ready to sell, before listing your home you should treat the play area as you would any other part of your home. Give it a good cleaning, fix any broken or rusty parts, and consider mulching, landscaping, or weeding the area to increase the curb appeal. Installing a backyard children's play area can be a great way to keep your children entertained without detracting from your home's value. Just make sure to choose a high-quality playset so it maintains its appeal over time.

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