The wife is bent on getting an Electric heater for the living room. We opted not to purchase the gas fireplace when we built our home (through Ryan). She claims these things can cost up to $1000.

She has a guy on craigslist thats trying to get rid of his for < $200. Says he bought it preparing to install it and they moved to a new home w/ a fireplace before he could.

Will this improve the value of my home?

  • It depends on who you sell your house to. If the prospective buyer doesn't like electric heaters then they won't offer as much as someone who does.
    – ChrisF
    Jul 28 '10 at 20:38
  • Is this designed to be permanently installed (aka, an "insert")? Most of the electric fireplaces I've seen are standalone and plug into the wall - more like furniture, really. (I have seen some permanently installed in hotel rooms though).
    – gregmac
    Jul 29 '10 at 16:10
  • Yeah permanent installation. Would look similar to a gas fireplace installed but instead would be electric fireplacesnow.com/catalog/additional_images/fireplaces/… an example Jul 30 '10 at 16:32

As others have pointed out, resale value of any particular feature depends on who you are selling to. In my mind seeing an electric fireplace would trigger the following thoughts: "Looks temporary and cheap. What other things did they skimp on? How much would it cost me to deal with these things down the road?". But obviously not everybody is like me -- other people might be thrilled to see this thing -- study your target demographic.

Another important aspect is that making one's wife happy for

  • The fireplace isn't temporary it an electric fireplace encased in wood frame that would be worked into the wall with bead board or something like that. Jul 30 '10 at 16:28
  • It still screams 'cheap'.
    – Bryce
    Jan 14 '14 at 5:41

"Will this improve the value of my home?": probably not from a purely resale value. Whereas updating your kitchen almost always has a great return on your investment, I am not so sure an electric fireplace in your living room would give you the same return. Some future buyers would see it as a benefit and others would not like it (kind of like the return you get on installing a swimming pool - it helps as much as it hurts). And also it depends on what it would do to the overall interior design/look and feel of the space in general.

But keep in mind this is something your wife really wants to do so maybe it goes beyond the return on investment and then there are non-monetary benefits associated with its purchase and installation.

  • 1
    Yeah good point about the wife Jul 30 '10 at 16:27

Most home renovations usually don't get a full return on investment. Kitchens and bathrooms usually return the most value at resale. This article gives a good breakdown of common renos. As Eric says, what's it worth to your family? That's usually the driving force behind a renovation, and ROI is a pleasant side effect. (Unless you're trying to flip a house.)


If properly installed, I can't see why it wouldn't increase the value of your home by more than the $200 you paid for it. You also need to think beyond just resale and consider the value you (or your wife) gets by having it as well.


I've got one in my bedroom, and I still don't regret buying it. It is kind of nice in the winter and the modern ones simulate the look of a real fire pretty well.

Ultimately, it is just a fancy space-heater though. I really doubt it will affect your property values one way or the other unless you do some kind of permanent installation. Mine just sits along a wall and is plugged in. No major install needed (although there was some assembly required).

In most cases, I've heard that there are almost no renovations you can do that yield a positive ROI especially if you don't plan to sell the home fairly quickly after the renovation. The exception to this rule is where you are fixing something. For example, cracks in the fascia or carpet from the stone age.

  • Yeah I have a normal fireplace that is a glorified space heater and it works great. Not something I would leave when I moved. This would be a permanent installation Jul 30 '10 at 16:30

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