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Lucrative Listing Descriptions: The Surprise Features to Stress When Selling

A steam shower is good for a lot more than helping relieve stress after a long day – homeowners that note this humid home feature in their online listing description can also expect it to help them net a heftier sum when it comes time to sell.

Of all homes listed for sale on Zillow between 2016 and 2017, those mentioning “steam shower” in their listing descriptions earned their sellers a 29 percent higher sale price than listings that didn’t mention it, the highest premium among more than 100 listing terms analyzed by Zillow.[1] “Professional appliance” came in a close second, also helping sellers cook up a 29 percent premium over listings that didn’t advertise that feature. “Pizza oven” came in third, netting sellers a 25 percent premium. That’s a lot of extra dough.

Of course, all homes aren’t created equal, and sellers looking at different price points are attracted to – and willing to pay extra for – different amenities. Among just those homes priced in the bottom one-third of all homes, “solar panel” was the most lucrative feature to advertise in listing descriptions, netting sellers of these homes an extra 40 percent over other, more entry-level listings that did not advertise them. Among more typical homes priced in the middle segment of the market, a “shed/garage studio” was the biggest draw, helping net sellers a 24 percent premium.

Among only higher-end homes priced in the top-third of the market, a “sub-zero fridge” proved a valuable investment, netting a 38 percent premium over otherwise high-end listings with more run-of-the-mill refrigerators.

But some home sellers aren’t necessarily trying to maximize profit, and instead aim to minimize the time their home spends on the market. For those with a need for speed, noting “exposed brick” in their listing (assuming their home has it) can put some pep in their sale’s step – listings mentioning the term sold a full two weeks faster in 2016-2017 than those that did not. Advertising “open shelving,” “dual flush” and “mid-century” features also shortened the time spent on market among all homes sold in the last two years by more than 10 days — as did “subway tile,” as pictured in this high-end kitchen:

Just like with price premiums, what makes a sale speedy differs by market segment. Noting “open shelving” in a bottom-third listing led to a sale 14 days faster than entry-level listings that didn’t mention that feature.

Having and advertising a “shed/garage studio” shaved 15 days off the sale time for mid-market sellers, while “dual flush” features helped high-end sellers, err… finish their business… 14 days quicker.

[1] This analysis measured how listing keywords associated with different home features can impact the sale price and time on market of a home, holding constant other factors. We analyzed 3.6 million home sales between 2016 and 2017 to identify which home attributes found in listing descriptions are associated with a higher sale price and less time on market. Multiple regression was used to control for the age and size of the property, the year and quarter of sale, zip-code-level ZHVI at time of list (local market cost), MSA-level ZHVI growth compared to national growth at time of list (local market hotness), and county value tier at time of list.

Source: Zillow