It’s important for REALTORS® to know how to drive up the value of their client’s home. Certain upgrades can add more value to a home than they cost to complete, which is why so many sellers are eager to tackle improvement projects before selling their homes.
One feature that always seems to draw potential buyers in is the fireplace. In fact, the National Association of Home Builders lists fireplaces in the top three most sought after features of a home. If one of your clients has a fireplace, it may be wise to suggest that they install a fireplace gas insert if they don’t already have one.
What is a Fireplace Gas Insert?
Wood-burning masonry fireplaces are built into the home, and usually made out of brick or stone. Although homeowners love the rustic look of a masonry fireplace and the sound of crackling wood as the fire burns, these fireplaces are not very energy efficient. In fact, it is estimated that open fireplaces use more energy than they create when temperatures are below freezing.
How can this problem be solved? With a fireplace gas insert. A gas insert is a box usually made out of steel or iron with a glass front. These fireproof boxes, which are powered by natural or propane gas, are designed to fit inside open masonry fireplaces to create a more energy efficient heating system. The box traps heat inside, therefore reducing the amount of heat that is lost when the fireplace is being used. Some inserts are even designed with vents in the front of the box so the warm air created by the fire can be directed back into the room.
Benefits of a Fireplace Gas Insert
There are many benefits of installing a fireplace gas insert that your clients should know about. Of course, the most obvious benefit is the energy savings. According to the Hearth, Patio, and Barbecue Association, gas inserts have a 58% to 85% energy efficiency rating, which means homeowners will save a lot of money on their monthly bills by adding this insert to their existing fireplaces.
A gas insert will also instantly make the room look more elegant, sophisticated, and modern. Masonry fireplaces are beautiful, but there’s nothing quite like the look of an insert. Inserts come in many different designs and finishes, so you won’t have any trouble finding one that complements your home. Sellers who are truly interested in making their home more appealing to buyers should be eager to make this change, since an insert will make their fireplace seem more welcoming and attractive.
Once you have a gas insert, you won’t have to waste time trying to light the fireplace, which is another benefit homeowners will enjoy. Gas-powered inserts are turned on with a button and use fake, decorative logs instead of real firewood. This means you won’t have to haul firewood into your home, set up the fire, and clean up ashes after you’ve finished using it.
How Much Will it Cost?
Prices will vary depending on the exact insert, but it is estimated that fireplace gas inserts cost between $2,000 and $5,000, which includes fees associated with installation.
Make sure your clients do not try to pinch pennies by handling the installation on their own. It’s recommended that homeowners work with a technician who has been certified by the National Fireplace Institute to ensure the job is done correctly.
Before You Buy a Gas Insert
Let your clients know to check and see how many square feet a model is designed to heat before making a purchase. Many gas inserts can heat up to 2,000 square feet, but there are some models that only heat around 1,500. It’s also important to buy the correct size, so advise your clients to carefully measure the space before deciding on an insert.
Installing an Insert vs. a Gas Fireplace
If your client has a wood-burning fireplace, he may ask whether it’s better to install an insert or do a complete renovation and replace the fireplace with one powered by gas. In terms of cost, it is much cheaper to install an insert, and because an insert gives you many of the same benefits as a gas fireplace, this is a better option.
The next time you meet with one of your clients who is selling his or her home, make sure you mention the benefits of switching to an energy efficient fireplace gas insert prior to putting the home on the market.