Fixing Up Your Home? Here’s What Pays

— By CNBC’s John Schoen
Posted 14 April 2016.

 

As the spring real estate selling season gets in gear, some houses are moving faster getting better offers than others.

Apparently, a lot depends on a short list of key features that home buyers favor in local markets around the country, according to e recent analysis from real estate site Zillow.

After searching for 60 keywords in more than 2 million listings, Zillow researchers found that some of the most popular features helped boost the final sale price and shorten the time a house was on the market. For homeowners considering making improvements, the analysis offers some insight into which upgrades generate the best returns. A listing that included the phrase “new carpets,” for example, had no effect. But “hardwood floors” boosted the sale price by two percent more than expected.

Here are the other features that buyers favored, and the local markets where those features are most popular:

  • Granite Counters -Granite counters are popular across the country. In Dallas, that phrase in a listing helped sell a house 38 days faster than average at a 4 percent premium to the expected price
  • Stainless Steel– When it’s time to replace old appliances, the higher cost of stainless steel may be worth it when you sell your house in Chicago. Listings with that phrase sold 42 days faster than average at a 4 percent premium.
  • Exposed Brick– Exposed brick is hot in New York City. Homes that listed that feature sold for a 5 percent premium.
  • Quartz– Quartz is a popular material for kitchen countertops in Los Angeles. Those listings sold for 6 percent more and 50 days faster than expected.
  • Subway Tile– In Philadelphia, homes that listed “subway tile” sold 63 days faster than average at a 7 percent premium.
  • Farmhouse Sink– Farmhouse features are big in Los Angeles, too. Homes with a farmhouse sink in L.A. sold for nearly 8 percent more than expected, and 58 days faster than average.
  • Shaker Cabinet– When it’s time for a kitchen makeover, you can spend a lot of time trying to choose a cabinet style. In Los Angeles, home shoppers seem to prefer the Shaker style. Listings with that keyword fetched a nearly 10 percent premium.
  • Barn Door: Never mind the barn, home buyers in Phoenix apparently like the look of a barn door — inside the house. Homes with this feature sold 57 days faster than average, and the sale price was more than 13 percent higher than expected.
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