There are myriad reasons why homes sell over asking — a hot seller’s market, undervalued price points, escalating bidding wars — but as it turns out, the keywords you use in the listing description can significantly impact the final sale price of your home.
Real estate site Zillow analyzed the listing descriptions of four million homes that were sold in the United States between January 2016 and December 2017. From this data, they were able to pinpoint 20 keywords, including home features, amenities and design styles, that were more likely to sell at a premium. While some are full-on bougie (looking at you, pizza oven), other upgrades are more approachably priced.
Whether you’re looking for ways to increase ROI or your home already has some of these sought-after features, learning how to craft a real estate listing that sells (ideally for over asking) is an important step in the process.
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1. Steam shower – 29% above expected value
Seeking flawless skin and relaxed muscles? Steam showers offer numerous health benefits, which homeowners can reap without ever stepping foot in a day spa or gym. Expect to fork over $2,000 to $4,000 for this at-home luxury.
2. Professional appliances – 29% above expected value
Professional-grade appliances are geared toward serious home cooks. From six-burner gas ranges to convection steam ovens, these workhorses will help you churn out restaurant quality meals — for a price.
3. Pizza oven – 26% above expected value
If pizza night is a weekly occurrence in your household, splurging on a wood-fired outdoor pizza oven may be a worthwhile investment. Pizza tastes delicious and apparently it sells houses, too.
4. Pet shower – 25% above expected value
house studio apartment, the pet shower is also the people shower, but some homeowners have a dedicated space in their laundry room or basement to wash their pup’s muddy paws. The jury’s still out on whether a miniature, subway-clad shower will convince your dog to like bath time.
5. Outdoor kitchen – 25% above expected value
Those who live in warmer climates where dining al fresco is a year-round occurrence may want to consider investing in an outdoor kitchen, complete with a grill, built-in refrigerator, prep sink and plenty of counter space.
6. Entertainer or prep sink – 25% above expected value
Speaking of prep sinks, these suckers add value to the inside of your home, too. Installing a smaller, secondary sink in a bar area or kitchen island makes entertaining a breeze. Plus, it’s an opportunity to incorporate an interesting bowl or faucet.
7. Shed or garage studio – 24% above expected value
A backyard shed or garage studio can be used as a home office, artist’s retreat, music room or guest suite. Clear out those rakes and shovels and turn yours into an inviting, usable space.
8. Heated floors / radiant heat – 24% above expected value
Radiant, in-floor heating has quickly become a must-have feature for today’s home shoppers. It’s more affordable than you might think, and a worthwhile upgrade if you’re already ripping apart your bathroom or basement for a remodel.
9. Meditation room – 24% above expected value
There’s no one way to design a meditation room, so with the right props you could easily stage a den or spare bedroom as a meditation room and include it in your home listing. Scouring Pinterest for inspiration will help you find your zen.
10. Wine fridge – 22% above expected value
You can pick up a quality wine fridge from Home Depot or Walmart for less than $300, so I’ll consider this an approachably priced home upgrade. No one has to know that it’s $6 Trader Joe’s wine you’re storing in there.
11. Chef’s kitchen – 21% above expected value
This term gets thrown around a lot in real estate listings, but a true chef’s kitchen should have those aforementioned professional-grade appliances, ample prep space, multiple sinks and built-in organizers.
12. Craftsman – 21% above expected value
Who doesn’t dream of owning a tastefully restored, 1930s Craftsman-style bungalow? If you currently live in a home with this timeless style of architecture, congratulations! If not, please don’t attempt to “fake it ‘till you make it” by adding visible knee braces to the exterior of your modern home.
13. Herringbone or parquet floors – 21% above expected value
Hardwood flooring arranged in a herringbone or parquet pattern adds old world elegance to your interior. The installation is quite complicated, so expect to pay much more than what you would for a typical layout.
14. Free-standing tub – 21% above expected value
Free-standing soaker tubs are the ultimate luxury. Why stand in the shower when you could drink a glass of wine and watch an episode of your favorite Netflix show, all while practicing proper hygiene?
15. Solar panels – 21% above expected value
Solar panels may be the least glamorous home feature on this list, but they’re certainly the most practical. Switching to solar is a big investment, but the move can save you thousands of dollars on future electric bills, and you’ll be eligible for a bevvy of tax incentives.
16. Coffered ceiling – 20% above expected value
Coffered ceilings, or as I like to call them, waffle ceilings (that’s what they look like, okay?), add architectural interest to your home. If you’re handy, you could try building a coffered ceiling yourself, but otherwise, it’ll set you back about $10 to $15 per square foot with professional installation, according to Angie’s List.
17. Outdoor fireplace – 20% above expected value
We’re not talking about a $100 chimenea here, we’re talking a hand-laid brick fireplace surrounded by a couple of comfy chairs. Honestly, if you already have one of these, why are you even moving?
18. Carrara marble – 19% above expected value
Carrara marble is beautiful and timeless, but it is also porous. While those keywords may do wonders for your online listing, if you’re in the market for a countertop material that is resistant to chipping and staining, go with a quartz that looks like marble.
19. Home theater – 19% above expected value
How does anyone with a home theater ever leave the house? I’d just be holed up in there on the ninth season of The Office with a bag of buttery popcorn. That said, with the right audio system, projector screen and leather reclining chairs, you could transform a boring basement into a cinematic dream.
20. Farmhouse sink – 19% above expected value
Farmhouse sinks are also called apron-front sinks, but it seems the Fixer Upper-lingo sells more homes. If you’re thinking of swapping out a regular ‘ole undermount sink for the farmhouse variety, know that you’ll most likely have to remove your countertops to install it.