Homeowners looking to sell in 2022 might be in for a pleasant surprise if their homes have a few key features.
CREDIT: KIP DAWKINS
By Kristine Gill
According to a study by Angi, the home services site connecting homeowners to pros, there are some features that can boost your home's sale price by as much as 3.2%, attracting buyers and encouraging them to spend a bit more on the property. A recent analysis from Angi highlights the home features—think walk-in closets, pot fillers, and kitchen islands—that could heighten buyer interest this year.
Even if these features don't boost property values, they can be the key to a quicker sale. Read on to see what real estate agents say buyers are looking for in their potential homes.
Hard-Working Home Features
The Angi study was conducted by poring over tons of property listings to see which features in homes (and outdoors) garnered extra cash or interest for the seller.
"This study looked at features listed on various authoritative sites as well as more than 250,000 house listings on Zillow from across the U.S. We looked at their listing descriptions, rather than the photos, and the various features listed under the 'Interior Features' and 'Overview' sections," says Bailey Carson, a home care expert at Angi.
Angi's analysis zeroed in on a key feature in each of 40 metropolitan areas, assessing which offered the most value.
In California's San Francisco/Oakland/Berkeley region, a swimming pool upped the house price by 11.35%. But in the New York/Newark/Jersey City region, it was a garage that topped the list, raising prices an average of 18.47%.
Elsewhere, fireplaces, high ceilings, granite countertops, and fences brought in the most for sellers. Carson says that, if you're looking to add features to your home, you can think about the features on the list in your area or take a more holistic approach to the home and the space available.
"In determining which features are a good investment for your region, think about practicality and use of space," she says. "Is it something that improves the quality of life in your home? Does it make use of previously under-utilized space? Does it fit the climate where you live? Does it fit the rest of the house? Those questions, and thoughtful conversations with your contractor and realtor, can help you determine the specific features that will give you the most return on investment."
Keep in mind too that the study stressed correlation over causation, meaning it's not guaranteed that adding or having these features is the reason the homes were listed at higher prices: The data only reveals which features were common among higher-priced homes. Still, if your home has highly sought-after features, you may get a little more buyer interest when it's time to sell.
Certain highlights topping the list were region-specific.
"Some features are appealing regardless of location, while others will be more desirable in certain climates, like a fireplace or hot tub," Carson says. "If you live somewhere with consistently warm weather, you're likely better off investing in a more region-friendly feature like a patio, deck, or pool."
The study also took a big picture–look at which features brought in the highest prices across the country. That list highlights just 10 features, beginning with a pot filler for a 3.2% boost, followed by pendant lighting, under-cabinet lighting, and double sink vanities. The full list also included double ovens, patios, garages, and walk-in closets.
"Closet space is always a big plus," says Frank Jacovini, a Philadelphia-based real estate broker. "It's not a priority, but if there's no closets or they're very limited, that is a turn-off. [Potential home buyers] like at least one closet in each bedroom and hopefully a bigger closet in the main bedroom."
"Granite is a plus," he adds. "Some people have something more fancy, like concrete or marble, but you have to at least have granite."
And not all features will upgrade your particular home. In the Louisville, Kentucky/ Jefferson, Indiana, area for example, kitchen islands are a bonus. But as Jacovini points out, islands take up precious kitchen space in the townhomes he sells in Philadelphia, and that can be a turn-off for buyers.
CREDIT: KRITSADA PANICHGUL
Working with What You Have
As Jacovini points out, coveted features vary by metropolitan area, so a pot filler in Philadelphia might not get you what a swanky garage would.
If you're looking at your listing (real or imagined) and wondering whether your home has what it takes to lure in buyers, don't stress, he says. Most buyers are simply looking for move-in ready homes with some modern updates.
"Years ago, a first-time buyer wouldn't mind buying a fixer-upper. It's really move-in condition now, rehabbed homes, that are selling. Homes that need updating are kind of languishing on the market," Jacovini says. "Today the millennial buyer just wants a wow-factor. They want to see hardwood floors, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, finished basement, sheetrock walls with nice lighting and fixtures."
If your home doesn't meet this criteria, Jacovini usually suggests fresh paint throughout the home and a freshly painted front door to boost curb appeal.
Carson says that simply inserting a key feature into your home won't necessarily increase the price on its own, either. What's most important is the overall quality of the property and the care taken to keep it updated and in good shape.
"It is important to note that, while a pot filler can be great, it won't distract prospective buyers from chipping paint, a broken HVAC system, or old, stained carpeting," she says. "It's crucial to prioritize any outstanding maintenance or repair projects first, bringing your home up to date and getting it ready for its next owners. Then you can think about the add-ons that can give your home that extra something special."
Carson suggests projects with a better return on investment, such as replacing garage doors, remodeling kitchens and bathrooms, and adding a deck or master suite to your home. You can also see returns when you replace your roof or windows.
And if your home does have these features, play them up in your listing to lure buyers.
"The list could also be useful for better understanding the current buyer and the different features they find desirable in a home," Carson says. "This can help with staging as well as developing flyers and other materials that can highlight these features for prospective buyers."
Kristine Gill is a former newspaper reporter who spent five years as a spokesperson for a law enforcement agency. She writes about homes and real estate for Better Homes & Gardens.