AgentIndustry News

‘If you’ve got them, flaunt them:’ 15 design features that raise home sales

A new analysis from Zillow Digs showed that listing descriptions mentioning barn doors, subway tile and farmhouse sinks sell faster and at a higher price
  • A new analysis from Zillow Digs evaluated 60 keywords related to design style, home features and amenities and incorporated listing data from 2 million homes sold across the country.
  • The evaluation showed that listing descriptions that mention items like "barn doors," "subway tile," and "craftsman" on average sell faster and for more money.
  • Dr. Svenja Gudell, Zillow chief economist: "When it comes to real estate listing descriptions -- words matter."

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Maybe it’s the abundance of addicting home rehab reality shows, the intrigue of an illustrious-sounding feature you have to Google to visualize or the all the future dinner parties you plan in your head during the home search (complete with the best the conversation pieces), but homebuyers love design, character and quirks.

And if you’re selling a home with even one standout feature, don’t let it get lost among the beds and baths. Doing so could cost you time and dollars, a new analysis from Zillow Digs shows.

The study, which evaluated 60 keywords related to design style, home features and amenities, incorporated listing data from 2 million homes sold across the country between January 2014 and March 2016. (The analysis controlled for property size, age, sales timing and sample consistency to account for the potentially greater prevalence of these features in higher-end markets.)

Among those listings included in the analysis, homes mentioning “barn doors” — which are rustic, sliding and typically placed on bedroom closets and kitchen pantries — had the highest sale premium of 13 percent above expected values, selling nearly 60 days faster.

The country theme is apparently a big hit, with keywords evoking a craftsman feel like “farmhouse sink” coming in as a top performer. Moreover, “craftsman” in general turned out to be highest performing design style.

“While people may think the rustic mason jar-vibe is out, it is still very popular with today’s buyers,” the report noted.

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Here are the top 15 listing description features that emerged from the analysis, based on how home listings performed in terms of price and days on market.

Barn doors

John Dorado / Shutterstock.com

Barn doors

  • Sold for 13.4 percent above expected values
  • Sold 57 days faster than expected
  • Phoenix (most common metro)
Shaker cabinets

Dave Head / Shutterstock.com

Shaker cabinet

  • Sold for 9.6 percent above expected values
  • Sold 45 days faster than expected
  • Los Angeles (most common metro)
farmhouse sink

Photographee.eu / Shutterstock.com

Farmhouse sink

  • Sold for 7.9 percent above expected values
  • Sold 58 days faster than expected
  • Los Angeles (most common metro)
subway tile

littleny / Shutterstock.com

Subway tile

  • Sold for 6.9 percent above expected values
  • Sold 63 days faster than expected
  • Philadelphia (most common metro)
White quartz countertop

Kritchanut / Shutterstock.com

Quartz

  • Sold for 6 percent above expected values
  • Sold 50 days faster than expected
  • Los Angeles (most common metro)
craftsman

Jesus Cervantes / Shutterstock.com

Craftsman

  • Sold for 5.4 percent above expected values
  • Sold 14 days faster than expected
  • Seattle (most common metro)
exposed brick

PlusONE / Shutterstock.com

Exposed brick

  • Sold for 4.9 percent above expected values
  • Sold 36 days faster than expected
  • New York City (most common metro)
A pendant light

daylightistanbul studio / Shutterstock.com

Pendant light

  • Sold for 4.6 percent above expected values
  • Sold 48 days faster than expected
  • Phoenix (most common metro)
frameless shower

Jodie Johnson / Shutterstock.com

Frameless shower

  • Sold for 4.6 percent above expected values
  • Sold 38 days faster than expected
  • Dallas (most common metro)
heated floors

mimagephotography / Shutterstock.com

Heated floors

  • Sold for 4.3 percent above expected values
  • Sold 28 days faster than expected
  • Seattle (most common metro)

stainless steel kitchen

ShortPhotos / Shutterstock.com

Stainless steel

  • Sold 4.2 percent above expected values
  • Sold 42 days faster than expected
  • Chicago (most common metro)

granite counter

Iriana Shiyan / Shutterstock.com

Granite

  • Sold for 4.1 percent above expected values
  • Sold 38 days faster than expected
  • Dallas (most common metro)

backsplash tiles

Joe Ferrer / Shutterstock.com

Backsplash

  • Sold for 4.1 percent above expected values
  • Sold 46 days faster than expected
  • Philadelphia (most common metro)

Image courtesy Wikimedia

Image courtesy Wikimedia

Tankless water heater

  • Sold for 4 percent above expected values
  • Sold 43 days faster than expected
  • Los Angeles (most common metro)
outdoor kitchen

Ozgur Coskun / Shutterstock.com

Outdoor kitchen

  • Sold for 3.7 percent above expected values
  • Sold 19 days faster than expected
  • Tampa, Florida (most common metro)

“When it comes to real estate listing descriptions — words matter,” said Dr. Svenja Gudell, Zillow chief economist, in a press release. “Your listing description is an opportunity to highlight specific details and finishes that might not be visible in photos. Craftsman-style homes and amenities resonate incredibly well with today’s buyers — so if you’ve got them, flaunt them!

“Meanwhile, not only are subway tiles and shaker cabinets popular with home buyers, they may also signal that the home has other desirable features like an open floor plan or a well-appointed kitchen.”

The data also shed light on how homeowners should focus their remodeling efforts to account for buyer demand. While mentioning “new carpet” in the listing description had no impact on sales prices, those that included “hardwood floors” sold for two percent more than expected, the report said.

Email Caroline Feeney.

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