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These features could boost your home's sale price by over 30%

MarketWatch logo MarketWatch 4/5/2019 Jacob Passy
a kitchen with a sink and a window: A kitchen with top-end features like this is a dream to home buyers and sellers alike. © Getty Images/iStockphoto A kitchen with top-end features like this is a dream to home buyers and sellers alike.

If the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, then the way to a home buyer’s wallet may be through the kitchen.

A new report from real-estate firm Zillow found that home listings touting premium kitchen features sold for 30% or more above the expected price. To complete the analysis, Zillow examined the listing descriptions for 4.6 million home sales across the country that were on the market in 2017 and 2018, identifying specific features that led to a higher sales price or faster sale.

The biggest money-making features were steam ovens, wall ovens that pump in steam to cook food in a healthier manner. These netted a 34% sales premium, higher than any other feature. Of the 10 home features that generated the biggest boost in the home’s sales price, six were kitchen-related. These amenities included professional-grade appliances (32% premium) and wine cellars (31%), and “pot fillers,” attachments that extend a faucet so it’s easier to put water into a big pot (28%).

Money-making features that weren’t specific to food and drink included steam showers, a “garage studio” and heated floors.

Home featureSales premium
Steam oven34%
Professional appliance32%
Wine cellar31%
Steam shower31%
Pot filler faucet28%
Shed/Garage studio27%
Heated floor26%
Waterfall countertop26%
Outdoor kitchen25%
Prep sink24.1%

Just because properties sold for more than expected doesn’t mean they sold faster. In fact, homes with steam ovens were the slowest to sell, taking 22 days longer than similar homes in the same market and price tier. This, Zillow said, is an indication that certain amenities may appeal to a very niche audience — but one that’s willing to pay more for homes that fit their vision.

Generally, faster sales were associated with properties that had features that have been popularized by remodeling shows on television, such as open shelving (11 days faster than expected) and subway tile (10 days faster).

Related video: Projects that will help you sell your home faster (provided by Southern Living)

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Also see: Why so many property listings advertised as ‘bargains’ sell above the asking price

For buyers of starter homes, a slightly different set of amenities had more appeal. The No. 1 feature among these properties were free-standing bathtubs — properties with these sold for a whopping 59% above asking price.

The “Chip and Joanna Gaines Effect” — a reference to the hosts of the HGTV show “Fixer Upper” — is also still in full-swing: Craftsman features prompted starter-level homes to sell for 38% above their expected price. Other popular features in starter homes include pizza ovens (47% premium) and coffered ceilings (32% premium).

Home feature Sales premium for starter homes
Free-standing bathtub59%
Pot filler49%
Wine cellar47%
Pizza oven47%
Solar panel40%
Prep sink39%
Craftsman38%
Dual range oven36%
Coffered ceiling32%
Mid-century32%

These amenities, however, don’t boost a home’s selling price singlehandedly. Indeed, most home improvement projects don’t even recoup their full cost through a higher resale value.

Rather, these features — when identified in the home’s listing description — can act as a signal to buyers that the property is in good condition.

“If you have these features, flaunt them,” said Skylar Olsen, director of economic research at Zillow. “Having a steam oven, a heated floor or other luxury features in the home is a signal that there is more than the home’s basic features at play. These homes are special. They likely come with an elevated design sense and the extra touches valued by home shoppers who can afford the best.”

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