These features ‘set you ahead of the competition’ when selling a home

A prospective home buyer is shown a home by a real estate agent in Coral Gables, Florida.

Joe Raedle | Getty Images

Today’s home sellers may be able to command higher prices due to recent increases.

Certain luxury features may help sell your home for more money or faster than expected, according to new research from Zillow.

“If you have these features in your home already, you should definitely flaunt them in your listing description,” said Amanda Pendleton, Zillow’s home trends expert. “That is going to set you ahead of the competition.”

The real estate website evaluated 271 design terms and features included in almost 2 million home sales in 2022. Those that came out on top may add up to about $17,400 on a typical US home.

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Two chef-friendly features topped the list of those that helped sell homes for more — steam ovens, which helped push prices up 5.3% over similar homes without them, and pizza ovens, which increased prices by 3.7%.

Other features that rounded out the top 10 included professional appliances, which had price premiums of 3.6%; terrazzo, 2.6%; “she sheds,” 2.5%; soapstone, 2.5%; quartz, 2.4%; a modern farmhouse, 2.4%; hurricane or storm shutters, 2.3%; and mid-century design, 2.3%,

Zillow also looked at which features helped sell homes faster than expected.

Doorbell cameras topped that list, helping to sell homes 5.1 days faster. That was followed by soapstone, with a 3.8 day advantage; open shelving, 3.5; heat pumps, 3; fenced yards , 2.9; mid-century, 2.8; hardwood, 2.4; walkability, 2.4; shiplap walling or siding, 2.3; and gas furnaces, 2.3.

Home prices in February rose for the first time in 7 months

To be sure, homeowners shouldn’t necessarily add these features with the idea they’ll see sale premiums, Pendleton said.

Moreover, some more unique features — like she sheds, spaces dedicated specifically to female home dwellers and their hobbies — may make it so it takes a bit longer to find a buyer who appreciates the amenities.

However, the features are signals of perceived qualify a buyer associates with a nice home right now.

“These personalized features kind of add that wow factor to a home,” Pendleton said.

Emphasis on improvements that spark joy

The current housing market is “anything but traditional,” Pendleton notes.

For buyers, there’s not as many listings to choose from as homeowners who don’t want to give up their ultra-low interest rates, he noted.

“Homes that are well priced and well marketed are going to find a buyer very quickly today,” Pendleton said.

Existing homeowners are now more likely to be thinking of different ways to re-envision their space, according to Jessica Lautz, deputy chief economist at the National Association of Realtors.

Personalized features kind of add that wow factor to a home.

Amanda Pendleton

home trends expert at Zillow

“There are a lot of people who want to remodel because they are locked into low interest rates and have no intention of leaving their property,” Lautz said.

At the top of homeowners’ wish lists are ways to maximize the square footage of their home, Lautz said, such as basement remodels or attic or closet conversions. Adding home offices is also very popular as people continue to live hybrid lifestyles.

Some improvements also stand to provide a 100% or more return when a home is put on the market.

The top of that list includes hardwood floor refinishing, according to Lautz, which not only makes a home look more beautiful but also makes it more marketable.

“It brings a lot of joy, and it has a lot of bang for the buck when you go to sell your home,” Lautz said.

Putting in new wood flooring or upgrading the home’s insulation also tends to provide returns of 100% or more, he said.

Zillow’s research found certain features may actually hurt a home’s resale value. That includes tile countertops or laminate flooring or countertops. Walk-in closets may also negatively impact a home’s value, as buyers may prefer to use the space for other purposes.

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