After a year of life indoors watching cooking shows, baking bread and taking part in Tik Tok cooking challenges, home buyers seem to have developed a newfound appreciation for the kitchen.
From the pleasurable to the practical, kitchen amenities such as quartz countertops and smart appliances dominate a list of features associated with homes that sold for more than expected in 2020, according to a new Zillow analysis.
Luxury kitchen amenities account for six of the top 10 home features identified with for-sale listings that fetched higher prices than expected. Some of the features come with a hefty price tag, and it’s worth noting here that the analysis did not look at whether sellers recouped what they spent on the features, only that buyers are willing to pay a premium for homes that include those features in their listing description.
In other words, adding these design features to a home — or including words that describe them to a for-sale listing description — does not guarantee or definitively cause the ultimate sale price to increase or fall as much as observed. The most likely explanation for the findings is that for-sale homes that include these features in their listing 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.
“The features should be viewed as signals that the home may be generally well-crafted and thoughtfully updated,” said Zillow senior economist Jeff Tucker. “For instance, if a home has a steam oven, it likely has other high-end finishes that buyers are willing to pay for. This spring home shopping season, sellers would be wise to flaunt those features in their listing description if they’ve got them.”
If you’ve got them, flaunt them
The top 6 kitchen features associated with a sales premium are:
- Steam ovens
As their name implies, steam ovens cook food with steam instead of hot air. The ovens make regular appearances on cooking shows, a popular pandemic pastime that may have influenced home cooks’ decision to buy one. Homes that mentioned a steam oven in their listing are associated with a 4.9% price premium.
- Pizza ovens
People take their pizza seriously, and for those devoted to crafting the perfect pie, a pizza oven is a must-have. Homes that mentioned pizza ovens in their listing sold for 3.4% more than expected.
- New appliances
A home with new appliances can help assure buyers that they won’t have to sink a bunch of money into replacing a broken refrigerator or dishwasher, and instead save, invest or spend that money on other home projects. Homes with new appliances carry a 3.2% sales premium.
- Quartz countertops
Quartz countertops are made from an engineered material made of crushed stone particles bound together by plastic resin. Known for durability and stain resistance, countertops made from quartz are associated with a 3.2% price premium.
- Smart appliances
Smart appliances are devices that can be operated and controlled through a smartphone or tablet. The technology, which makes appliances more efficient, can be found in everything from refrigerators to thermostats to water heaters. Homes that listed smart appliances in their listing description sold for 3% more than expected.
- Butcher block countertops
Wood is one of those rare materials that can infuse any room with a feeling of warmth, and the kitchen is no exception. Butcher block comes in a variety of wood types and thickness, all of which affect the cost. They were associated with a 2.7% sales premium.
Features Associated with Quicker Sales
If selling your home as quickly as possible is your main goal, consider emphasizing these features if you’ve got them. Listings that mention them are associated with faster sales:
- “Drought-resistant” plantings or yards sold 13.2 days faster than expected for homes in their price range
- “Bohemian” or “boho” design sold 11 days faster
- Turf, 10.9 days
- Mid-century style homes, 9 days
- Smart sprinkler systems, 7.5 days
The bohemian design trend seemed to hit on a listing description sweet spot in 2020: In addition to selling quickly, homes described this way also sold for a solid 2.3% sale premium.
Features mentioned in slower-selling properties did not fit a common theme this year, although past research shows that — in general — higher-end, custom homes tend to take longer to sell.
The slowest-selling homes were ones that mentioned “wellness” — usually wellness rooms — which sold 11.8 days slower than expected; bidets (11.2 days); professional appliances (10.7 days); energy-efficient appliances (10.1 days); and bike storage or hooks (9.4 days).
Features associated with lower expected sales prices
On the flip side, buyer appetite for homes described as “fixers” and “investment” prospects or homes needing “TLC” sold for less than expected:
- Self-described fixer-upper homes fetched 12.9% less than expected
- Those advertising their need for some “TLC” brought in 11.1% less
- Homes marketed for their “investment” potential sold for 4.5% less than expected
“These stark results for red-flag terms like “TLC”, “fixer-upper” and even “investor” properties are a reminder that the true condition of a home is only evident when it’s listed,’’ said Tucker. “The Zestimate algorithm — which Zillow uses to estimate the value of off-market homes — can only rarely tell whether a house needs major repairs in the eyes of most buyers. That’s why homes that are described in these terms by sellers or their agents end up selling for substantially less than the Zestimate for the home before it was listed.”
Still, Tucker said there is a benefit to marketing homes in those terms since certain buyers actively seek out homes that need work, and using those terms can help buyers spot them in a crowded market place. Being forthright about a home’s condition also can help set buyers expectations.
Nothing to Wag About
A wave of newly-adopted pets was one of the bright spots in 2020. Listings that mentioned “dog house” carried a sales premium, but listings that described the home as “pet-friendly” experienced a 2.2% discount.
“Bike parking” also was associated with a 2% negative premium. It may be that those features were correlated with small indoor spaces in large multifamily buildings.