Installing a playset in your backyard is a great way to give your kids years of fun playing outdoors. But since it’s going to be a semi-permanent fixture in the yard (not to mention cost a pretty penny), there’s a lot to consider before going ahead and buying one. One major consideration a lot of parents worry about is how a playset will affect their home’s property value.
A quality playset in good condition can increase your home’s resale value and may even end up being a deciding factor for some buyers. But a worn and rickety playset will likely decrease the home’s value to some degree. Other factors that determine whether or not a playset adds value include safety concerns, the type and style of the playset, and the neighborhood itself.
How a Playset Can Impact a Home’s Value
There’s no clear-cut, universal answer as to whether or not a playset will add much (if any) value to a home. But there are certainly a few ways to improve your odds. Here’s a look at the main factors that help determine whether potential buyers will view a playset as an asset – or as a burden.
The Quality of the Playset
The first thing to consider is the overall quality of the playset. A well-made playset constructed from high-quality materials is more likely to last and withstand the elements, which makes it much more attractive to buyers – especially if it’s not too old. On the other hand, a cheaply-made, flimsy, or outdated playset likely won’t appeal to anyone.
A playset made by a widely-known, trusted brand will also generally be viewed as more valuable. The best usually come with a long-term warranty, which will typically be voided upon resale but nevertheless speaks to the longevity and quality of the product and materials.
So if you have a homemade playset in your backyard (or you’re thinking about building one), it likely won’t have the appeal of a name-brand playset. Even if it’s beautiful, rock-solid, made from excellent materials, and perfectly safe, many buyers may not see it that way.
The Playsets Condition
No matter what kind of playset you have, it will need to be in good (or better yet, great) condition for it to have any chance of boosting your home’s value. That means no rough, warped, or cracked wood to give anyone splinters; no rusty or sharp metal components; no brittle, sun-bleached plastic and vinyl.
A playset that’s sturdy, looks good, and has all of its original parts and pieces will not only appeal to the aesthetic and safety concerns of potential buyers but also instill confidence in the overall quality and longevity of the playset.
A playset that’s moldering or falling apart will only look like an eyesore, a liability, and ultimately a chore to the new buyer since they’ll likely want to tear it down and haul it off to the dump.
Is the Playset Safe?
The condition and quality of a playset are arguably the biggest factors in determining its value, but a natural extension of these two factors is safety. No parent wants their children playing on or near a dangerous contraption, so if the playset seems unsafe in any way, it will likely be viewed as a hazard or a liability.
Today’s high-quality playsets are designed to be as safe as possible, which is exactly what most home buyers with children will be looking for. Outdated or homemade playsets that don’t have the latest safety features (or have hazards like rusty hardware or splintering wood) may be viewed as too risky.
The safety of the playset mostly has to do with its quality and condition, but it also has to do with its location and surroundings – is it in view of the home’s windows, is it covered by a protective canopy, is the footprint large enough, does it have at least 6 feet of open space on all sides, etc.
Neighborhood & Target Buyers
Another important consideration is the neighborhood you live in and what kind of buyers it attracts. If your neighborhood is more geared toward young professionals, students, or retirees, a playset may not go over as well as it would in a more family-oriented community.
However, it’s worth noting that some young couples who aren’t parents already may plan on having kids in the future, in which case, a home with a playset may look like a good investment. Some couples in or approaching retirement may also view it as a good way to keep their grandkids entertained.
A recent report by the National Association of Realtors found that the majority of homebuyers between 30-39 years old have at least one child. And since an even larger majority of all buyers fall into that age range, the odds are in your favor when it comes to selling a home with a playset.
But your neighborhood will certainly play a part, so it’s worth it to do a little research or ask your realtor about your community’s main demographic before installing a playset.
The type and style of the playset also make a difference in how much perceived value it adds. In terms of resale value, the more generic the playset, the better. This is because you want to appeal to the widest range of people possible.
Your kids may go bonkers for a playset decorated and modified to have a superhero or Disney princess theme, but other children may not be so thrilled about it. Of course, if you can’t resist, try to keep your modifications reversible!
And since every family is different, and some families may be at different stages than others, it’s best to have a playset that appeals to kids of all ages. This isn’t just good for resale value but also for getting the most out of your playset – your kids will be able to enjoy it for years as they grow up.
Is It Removable?
Some playsets are anchored with metal ground anchors, while some are anchored with concrete. The former can be fairly easily removed and dismantled, while the latter is a little more permanent. Some playset footprints may also require a more intensive removal process, such as poured-in rubber.
A removable playset is the safest bet in terms of resale value since many buyers will be glad to have the option of taking it down (without a lot of muss and fuss) if they want to. You’ll also be able to take it with you when you move if you just can’t bear to part with it.
If you haven’t yet installed a playset, it’s best to consider how much of the yard will be taken up by the playset, its footprint, and its safety perimeter. If the yard is fairly small, many homebuyers would rather have the open space to do with as they please, so you’d be better off with a small playset or no playset at all.
To Fix Up or Tear Down?
If you already have a playset on your property but it’s in rough shape, you may be able to make it more attractive to potential buyers with some repairs and improvements. That means cleaning it up, replacing rusted hardware and damaged components (swings are often the first to go), sanding, refinishing, and resealing any wood, etc. However, if it’s in really bad shape (rusted framework, rotting wood, sun-damaged plastic), you’d probably be better off removing it.
Now that we’ve covered the key ways a playset can increase or decrease a home’s value, let’s look at a few other aspects of the financial equation.
How Much Value Does a Playset Add?
There’s no clear way to know how much a playset will add to a specific home’s value, but a playset alone likely won’t be enough to trigger a reassessment. A quality playset mainly adds curb appeal and perceived value rather than significantly increasing the property value in dollars. That being said, a playset, in combination with excellent landscaping and other attractive outdoor features like a pool, shed, or gazebo can potentially increase a home’s value by 10-25%.
Do Playsets Raise Property Taxes?
In most cases, it’s unlikely that a playset will raise your property taxes. A playset can add to your home’s overall property value, but the increase probably won’t be significant enough to raise any eyebrows at your local tax assessor’s office. However, every state and county has different codes and regulations, so it’s always best to check with your local tax assessor to be sure.
Do Playsets Make Your Insurance Rates Go Up?
Installing a playset may make your insurance rates go up, but not in all cases. Most insurance companies view playsets as a liability and either have certain stipulations for covering them or won’t cover them at all. Whether or not it will increase your premium ultimately depends on your insurance company and your specific policy.
The key point when it comes to how playsets affect insurance rates is what’s being covered – injuries caused by the playset or damage to the playset itself.
In the event that someone gets hurt on your playset, you may be held liable – whether they were on your property at your invitation or not. This is why most insurance companies recommend increasing the liability coverage on your home insurance policy if you have a playset. This will increase your premium, but probably not by too much; typically around $200 per year.
In the event that your playset is damaged or destroyed as a result of a storm or other such occurrence, your insurance may cover it without a change in your policy. Usually, one of two types of coverage will apply in the case of damage to your playset – personal property coverage and “other structure” coverage.
Personal property coverage will typically only cover damage caused by specific “named perils” listed in the policy. If the damage was caused by something not listed, it may not be covered.
Other structure coverage (aka Coverage B) protects structures on your property that aren’t connected to the main dwelling except by utility lines or fences. Carports, sheds, guesthouses, gazebos, greenhouses, and even mailboxes all fall into this category. There’s typically a limit on how much will be covered, usually around 10% of the home’s main dwelling coverage.
The tricky part is, other structure coverage is usually reserved for more permanent structures, leaving many homeowners wondering whether a playset will be covered.
Is a Playset Considered a Structure?
A playset may be considered a structure (and thereby be protected under a homeowner’s “other structure” coverage) by some insurance companies, but not others. How it’s anchored typically makes a difference – a playset may need to be permanently anchored with concrete to be classified as a structure, but not in every case. Whether or not a playset is recognized as a structure depends on the insurance company and its specific requirements.
At the end of the day, you’ll have to speak with your insurance company about their rules for what qualifies as a structure. And even if they don’t cover it under other structures coverage, you may be able to work with them to get it covered another way.
Clearly, there’s a lot to consider when installing a playset. But in the right circumstances, and once you have all your bases covered, a quality playset can be a great investment. Not only will it keep your kiddos happy and active for years to come, but it can also help make your home a hot commodity when it comes time to sell.