Should I Buy a Home with a Fireplace?

With our long Adirondack winters, it’s not surprising to find a fireplace at the top of many homebuyers’ wishlists – especially those in the market for a winter vacation home in Lake George or Bolton Landing. Fireplaces add warmth, character and ambiance, but, if you’ve never owned a home with a fireplace, you may be wondering if it’s a smart decision.

5 Common Fireplace FAQs

As a real estate agent for the Southern Adirondacks, my clients often have questions about owning a home with a fireplace. Here’s some helpful information that I’ve shared with them over the years.

What’s Better – Gas, Electric or a Wood Burning Fireplace?

Wood burning fireplaces look great and smell even better, but they tend to be drafty when not in use, and they don’t actually provide much heat since most of it escapes out the chimney. Of course, they do come in handy during a power outage, provided you have a steady supply of dry wood and a place to store it. Gas and electric fireplaces, on the other hand, are safer and more convenient, and they also provide more heat – gas being the better of the two. However, they won’t work when the power goes out and they don’t produce that warm wood burning scent or the sounds of a crackling fire.

Does a Home with a Fireplace Cost More?

Fireplaces are not specifically considered in a home appraisal, but because they do add value, a home with a fireplace will often be priced higher than a similar house without one. In fact, fireplaces can add as much as 10% to a home’s value, which means homebuyers can expect to pay between $1,000 to $5,000 more for a home with a fireplace in Lake George or Bolton Landing.

Can I Use a Fireplace to Heat My Home?

While fireplaces are not designed to heat an entire home evenly, both gas and electric fireplaces are often used to heat a single room, and heating only the room you are in, can actually save you money on heating bills. For example, if your fireplace is located in your family room, you can set the thermostat to 50 degrees in the evenings and rely on the fire to keep you warm. You’ll just want to make sure that you set the heat to turn back on 30 minutes before going to bed.

Will a Fireplace Affect my Homeowner’s Insurance?

Standard homeowner’s insurance policies do not usually cover fireplace damage, so you’ll likely need to add specialized coverage. And since most insurance companies view fireplaces as an added risk, it could increase your insurance premiums. In addition, regular fireplace maintenance is a common contingency of coverage, especially if it’s a wood burning fireplace, so you should expect to pay an additional $100-$200 for chimney cleaning and maintenance each year.

How Expensive is it to Add a Fireplace?

If you’re thinking about buying a home without a fireplace and adding it later, there are some costs you’ll want to consider. In 2019, gas fireplace installations cost an average of $2,000 for the ventilation and gas line installation, while wood burning fireplaces varied from $1,000 to $4,000 depending on the complexity of the masonry work needed. Alternatively, electric fireplaces do not need to be installed. Many models are available with beautiful furniture quality casings for less than $500, and some come with wheels so that they can be easily moved to wherever heat is needed, similar to a space heater.

Looking for a Home with a Fireplace in Lake George or Bolton Landing?

You’ve come to the right place! I’ve been a real estate agent for Lake George, Bolton Landing and the Southern Adirondack Region since 2006, and I have several homes for sale with gas, electric and wood burning fireplaces. View my current listings, or give me a call at (518) 321-1870.