When it comes to listing your home, choose your words carefully.
Seattle-based Zillow analyzed more than 60 keywords used in 2 million real estate listings between January 2014 and March 2016 and concluded that buyers jumped at certain features more than others. For example, the real-estate research firm found that home listings that contained the words “barn door” (a rustic-style sliding door often found in kitchen pantries and bedroom closets) sold for more than 13% above the expected value and 57 days faster. Other keywords that helped sell homes faster and at higher values included the terms “Shaker cabinet” and “subway tile,” as well as “farmhouse sink” and “Craftsman-style.”
Zillow noted that there were regional differences, too. The words “exposed brick” in a listing for a New York–area home helped move the home 36 days faster and at a 4.9% premium. “Craftsman” proved popular in Seattle, too, helping move homes off the market 14 days faster and with a 5.4% price premium.
Certain features could also indicate a more unique or spacious property, resulting in a higher sales price. “Not only are subway tiles and Shaker cabinets popular with home buyers, [but] they may also signal that the home has other desirable features like an open floor plan or a well-appointed kitchen,” said Skylar Olsen, a senior economist with Zillow.
Home sales in 2016 are currently running at an annual rate of 5.08 million, which would be a 2.2% increase over last year, according to the National Association of Realtors. The median home price in February was $210,800, up 4.4% from February of 2015, the 48th consecutive months of year-over-year gains, the NAR said, as supply constraints push prices higher.
Olsen noted that phrases like “new carpet” or “new paint” had no significant effect on listing price and days on market, as they may be regarded as a last-minute (and low-cost) effort by a seller to make the home more desirable prior to putting it on the market, but homes with “hardwood floors” in their listings sold for 2% more, on average. Hardwood floors are a far more expensive addition to a property that lacks them than is paint or carpet, she said.
Here are the most influential keywords in home listings and how they impacted sales values and market times:
|Home Feature Keyword||Effect (percent homes sells for above expected values||Effect (how many days faster than expected the home sells||Most common metro|
|Shaker cabinet||9.6%||45||Los Angeles|
|Farmhouse sink||7.9%||58||Los Angeles|
|Exposed brick||4.9%||36||New York City|
|Tankless water heater||4.0%||43||Los Angeles|
|Outdoor kitchen||3.7%||19||Tampa, Fla.|
Our article this week is from MarketWatch.com’s Personal Finance Reporter, Daniel Goldstein.