How much value will a paved driveway add to your home? Is it enough to consider paving your driveway in preparation for sale?
The short answer? It depends.
A driveway will add value to your home. How much depends on factors like typical houses in the area, market conditions, and the type of material you choose.
Let's take a look at some common materials to give you an idea of the pros and cons of each and how costly the project may be.
Concrete is a popular option for driveway material. It is durable and in most places can last for decades with little to no maintenance. Keep in mind that de-icing your driveway can cause concrete to break down faster. So if you live somewhere with frigid winters, this may not be the best option for you.
Another problem is that concrete isn't the most attractive material. Plus, it can stain easily if you spill oil or a similar substance on it.
However, you can easily dress up a concrete driveway by using stamped concrete. This ornamental concrete can replicate the look of bricks or even cobblestones for a more attractive entrance to your home.
It's an affordable option at $3 to $10 per square foot. Its durability is a desirable factor in the home selling process — as long as you keep it looking nice.
Looking for an even more affordable option? An asphalt driveway could be the way to go. The material is a mix of sand, rock, and asphalt cement. It typically comes in black, as you're used to seeing on roads. If you want to get fancy though, you can get stamped asphalt.
Installation is extremely affordable at $2 to $5 per square foot. Oil spills and grease stains won’t show up and if the driveway starts to look worn down you can reseal it.
This is an advantage when you want to sell. Since the driveway typically takes up a lot of the front yard, a clean one adds considerably to the home’s curb appeal.
What if you have a really large driveway to cover? For example, a long winding driveway up to a stately rural home.
An even more affordable option is gravel. Gravel typically cost between $0.75 and $3 per square foot. The trouble with gravel is it requires a significant amount of maintenance to keep it looking nice. You'll have to rake it back into place, put down a new layer every few years, and will wage a constant battle against weeds.
If you're looking to boost home value, gravel probably isn't the material to do it with. It'll look sharp when you first lay it down, but it won't stay that way for long.
What if you could build a driveway and help save the planet at the same time? You can with a recycled glass driveway.
You might be wondering how you could possibly safely drive across glass. A glass driveway is actually small bits of recycled glass, tumbled until it is smooth and bound together with resin. You don't have to worry about sharp edges.
You can play with the color scheme a little depending on the glass bottles that you choose. But the snazzy look comes at a higher price. Expect to pay $8 to $18 per square foot for this type of driveway.
For an equally eco-conscious buyer, this can be a big boon to your home’s sale price.
You may be wondering how you could possibly drive on a grass driveway without destroying it. There are actually a couple of ways you can do it.
First, you can put down an all grass driveway with a plastic base. This base keeps the grass together and helps prevent car tires from digging into the ground and tearing out the grass. The second option is to use a concrete grid and allow grass to grow between the squares.
Both options are a more economical way to build an eco-friendly driveway. You can expect to pay between $4.50 and $8 a square foot.
The biggest downside to this type of driveway is the maintenance. Just like a lawn, you'll have to put in the effort to keep the grass green and looking good. If you live in an arid desert-like climate, this probably won't be the best option for you.
Should You Pave Your Driveway?
Now you have an idea of the options and what they will cost, should you pay your driveway? Will it add enough value to your home to be worth the expense?
This depends on a few things. If most of the homes in your area have driveways and yours doesn't, this can make your home less desirable. The reverse is also true. If most homes don't have driveways and yours does this gives your home an edge over the others in the neighborhood.
Something else to consider is current market conditions. For example, in a seller's market you won't have to try too hard to find buyers. As long as your home is on par with others being offered buyers will be interested. However, if the market is more of a buyer's market you may have to try a little harder to catch buyers’ attention. A paved driveway might be just what you need to put yours over the top.
Alternatively, what if you're still planning to live in your home for a few more years? You may not get the full ROI out of your paved driveway when you sell but you'll get to use it and enjoy it. That can make it worth it.
These aren't the only factors that affect the value a driveway can add to your home. How do you find out the best course of action for your situation? You talk to an expert, of course!
Experienced real estate agents know what buyers are looking for. They know what's going on in the area and what the current market calls for. A local agent will not only be able to advise you on a driveway but also on any other repairs or upgrades your home could use in preparation for sale.