When you’re selling your home, timing may be important, but so is the listing description—and having these features in your home (and talking about them in your listing) could earn you more money for your property.

By Lauren Phillips
April 05, 2018
Ariel Skelley/Getty Images

Selling your home can be a daunting endeavor: Not only do you have to find a new place to live and address all the logistics that go along with that, but you also have to find a person to take your old home (for a decent price) before you can go anywhere.

Fortunately, there are some ways to make the home selling process move more quickly—like listing at the right time—and even get you some more money for your property.

There are plenty of don’ts to avoid when decorating a home you plan to eventually sell, but it’s equally important to know the dos: The updates and upgrades that can earn you a major money boost when it’s time to sell your home.

Real estate and rental listing site Zillow recently released its Home Features that Sell analysis for 2018, highlighting the aspects of homes that attract buyers—and higher offers. Zillow looked at the listing descriptions for nearly 4 million homes across the United States between January 2016 and December 2017 to see which home features, as called out in the listing descriptions, earned home-sellers more money or shortened the selling process.

According to Zillow’s analysis, the top feature was steam shower, which earned homes 29 percent above their expected values. Professional appliance also earned an additional 29 percent, and pizza oven earned 26 percent. Specialized features such as pet showers, outdoor kitchens, and entertainer or prep sinks all helped homes sell for 25 percent above the expected price. On a standard home worth $210,200 (the median home value in the U.S., according to Zillow), that’s tens of thousands of dollars. See the full list of top features—with the average percentage above expected value houses with these features earned—below.

Steam shower - 29%

Professional appliance - 29%

Pizza oven - 26%

Pet shower - 25%

Outdoor kitchen - 25%

Entertainer or prep sink - 25%

Shed or garage studio - 24%

Heated floors / radiant heat - 24%

Meditation room - 24%

Wine fridge - 22%

Chef’s kitchen - 21%

Craftsman - 21%

Herringbone or parquet floors - 21%

Free-standing tub - 21%

Solar panels - 21%

Coffered ceiling - 20%

Outdoor fireplace - 20%

Carrara marble - 19%

Home theater - 19%

Farmhouse sink - 19%

With these features, it’s not enough to simply have them. As with any other highlight of your home, you need to spotlight the most lucrative features.

“While everyone has different style preferences, when it’s time to sell, being specific and strategic with your home’s listing description can have a big financial payoff,” says Jeremy Wacksman, Zillow’s Chief Marketing Officer, in a statement. “Homes with spa-inspired bathrooms, chef-like kitchen amenities and certain craftsman or farmhouse features are very popular among today’s buyers. If you have these features in your home, try to highlight them in listing photos and descriptions as it may help catch a future buyer’s eye.”

Using keywords such as “steam shower” or “hardwood floors” in your listing can help draw in buyers searching for those features—and willing to pay a premium for them. And if your focus is on speed rather than profit, features such as exposed brick, open shelving, dual flush, and mid-century spotlighted in the listing can shorten time on the market by more than 10 days.

Knowing all this, it may be time to take a hard look at your home and consider adding some of these features to make it a more buyer-friendly property—it could pay off when you decide to sell.