- A broadband internet connection and other remote work-friendly features can help a home sell for up to 2.5% more than expected.
- Homes with retreat spaces including a she-shed or meditation room can sell for around 2% more.
- Electric vehicle chargers and drought-resistant landscaping can help a home sell as much as 10 days faster.
The latest home sales data suggest Americans don’t expect to stop working from home anytime soon: A Zillow analysis finds home listings mentioning remote work-friendly features and features that make it easier to unwind and entertain at home can sell for more than expected. Features associated with energy efficiency and sustainability can help a home sell faster.
To estimate the price and sales speed premiums associated with certain home features, Zillow conducted a multivariate regression analysis of almost 230 features and design terms mentioned in listing descriptions on Zillow across approximately 3.1 million homes sold in 2020 and 2021. The features with the largest, statistically significant associations with higher-than-expected sale prices included steam ovens, broadband speed and heated floors. Features associated with faster-than-expected closing times included electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, mid-century styling and zoom rooms/home offices.
Features that work hard
The pandemic-led shift to remote and hybrid work has put a premium on certain features that allow buyers to work from home. A strong internet connection has become essential as movers seek out affordability and more space farther away from city centers. High-speed broadband access, when mentioned in a listing description, is associated with a 2.5% sale premium. A Zoom room or home office space can add 1.6% to a home’s sale price.
Hard-working features that add utility to the kitchen can also help homes achieve higher sale prices. Steam ovens topped the list for a second consecutive year as the pandemic launched a new generation of home chefs. When mentioned in a listing description, this high-end kitchen appliance that quickly cooks food with steam can contribute to a home selling for 3.7% more than expected.
Buyers appear willing to pay more for other functional kitchen features such as new appliances (2.6%) and quartz countertops (2.3%) that make cooking and clean-up faster and easier.
Features that play hard
Retreat spaces at home, once considered a luxury, are now wishlist items for buyers at all price points. Homes with a she shed, the female version of a man cave where women can relax and unwind, can command 2.2% more than expected. And homes with a meditation room could see a 1.7% price premium.
Outdoor space with areas for lounging, dining and entertaining continues to be a priority for pandemic-era home buyers. Homes mentioning pizza ovens and outdoor kitchens can sell for 2.3% and 2.2% more, respectively.
While vacation areas are increasingly popular, buyers nationwide appear willing to pay more for homes that feel like a getaway, even if they’re hundreds of miles from the beach. Nautical style was associated with a 2.4% price premium, while a saltwater pool can help a home sell for 2.1% more than expected.
Sustainability for Speedy Sales
Eco-friendly features associated with energy efficiency contributed to homes selling faster than expected. Homes with an EV charging station can sell 10 days faster than similar homes, while homes with drought resistant landscaping or turf can sell at least 9 days faster. Homes boasting energy-efficient features such as double-pane windows, programmable thermostats and smart sprinkler systems can sell between 5 and 7 days faster than expected.
Homes with seismic retrofitting, which make them more resistant to earthquakes, can sell 19 days faster than expected. This feature is found predominantly in updated homes on the West Coast.
One intriguing takeaway from this year’s analysis, compared with the results of the same methodology last year, is that the magnitude of the biggest estimated price premiums shrank modestly. While the reason for this is not clear, there are a few reasonable potential explanations. One is the ever-improving accuracy of the Zestimate for off-market homes (the baseline against which price premiums are estimated), which was rebuilt using neural network estimation methods last year. In addition, it could simply be that in the hottest housing market on record, sellers could more easily fetch top dollar and sell quickly than in years past.
The fine print
As always, here’s a critical note that we always include with our sale price premium analysis: Adding these design features to a home, or just adding these words to a for-sale listing description, does NOT guarantee or definitively cause the ultimate sale price to increase (or fall) as much as observed. Rather, the most likely explanation for these results is that for-sale homes with these kinds of features in their descriptions may be of generally higher quality all around (or are at least perceived to be), in ways that are difficult to observe or quantify but which tend to lead to a higher final sale price.
Essentially, the whole of a home can often amount to more than the sum of its explicitly advertised individual parts, and a home’s overall perception of “niceness” – and the price premium that comes with it – seems associated at least in part with the presence of these currently popular features. But that doesn’t mean this information isn’t valuable to sellers determining how to market their homes and/or buyers determining the right offer – it certainly is!
From a buyer’s perspective, the features present in a home and/or the choices made to advertise said features in a listing description are indicators that a home may be perceived as cutting-edge and/or well-updated. And buyers actively seeking those traits in a home from the moment they move in may be willing to pay more for them when making an offer. But for bargain-hunting buyers or those with different tastes, the presence of such features may be a warning that they could end up overpaying for a prior renovation that doesn’t suit them or for features they don’t want/need. From a seller’s perspective, there’s a clear takeaway: If you’ve got these features in your home, don’t hide them from buyers! And if your home doesn’t have these features, don’t pretend it does. But because we can’t prove causality behind these relationships, it remains unclear if that steam oven will really move the sale price needle so dramatically – much less whether any gains would outweigh the costs of installing one and throwing out the old stove.
Top 10 features that sell for more than expected
Top 10 features that sell faster than expected
|EV charging station||9.5|
|Popcorn ceiling (removed)||7.0|
|Double pane window||6.9|
|Zoom room/home office||6.0|
Over 3.1 million home sales from 2020 and 2021 were analyzed. In each case, the listing description on Zillow was flagged for whether it contained any variation of each of 227 common expressions of interest. The logged final sale price (or days on Zillow) was regressed against the logged pre-listing Zestimate, which represented Zillow’s best guess of how much it would sell for when listed, as well as (simultaneously) the presence or absence of every one of these 227 listing description features. Only results for features with a statistically significant coefficient and which appeared in at least 100 listing descriptions are reported here. Each coefficient represents the extra sale price premium above Zestimate (or change in speed of sale) associated with listings that mention that feature, after using the exponential formula to transform back from log form.