Seller Topics October 3, 2023

Pricing and Amenities

Why do some homes sell more quickly than others? The first answer is typically price. If a home is priced below market value and there is a demand for homes, it will usually sell very quickly. The drawback is if you price your home too low you might be leaving money on the table. That’s a difficult balancing act. A good real estate agent should be able to give you a breakdown of how pricing will play out. Sometimes it may take a little longer—and good marketing by an agent—to get the best price. But there are other factors that must be considered when selling a home.

Often you hear that a home is “move-in ready.” Basically, that means a person can buy it and step right in and be comfortable. Homes that are move-in ready will sell more quickly. The expectation is that everything is in great shape.

Some people like newer homes and other people like older homes. Some people like the convenience of being in the city and other like being outside the city. There are good markets for both types of buyers.

With that said, sometimes everything may be in great shape but may have very dated amenities. A home with outdated trends will present some challenges.

It’s important to understand that trends will come and go. At one point in history avocado green appliances were popular. I hope you’re not waiting around for that fad to come back into style! Some other forgettable and notable fads include shag carpet, bright orange laminate countertops, wallpaper, popcorn ceilings, carpeted bathrooms, and fuzzy toilet covers—to name a few. Fads come and go—it’s a matter of being in style or being outdated.

Some people like nostalgic styles—but that market is much smaller. Also, some people may like aspects of older styles but not every aspect.

So, what is making a difference today? Recently Zillow looked into popular amenities. Homes with avocado appliances didn’t make list of positive features—but other kitchen options were on the list. These are the features that helped homes sell above list price:

  • Steam oven | 5.3%
  • Pizza oven | 3.7%
  • Professional appliances | 3.6%
  • Terrazzo | 2.6%
  • She shed | 2.5%
  • Soapstone | 2.5%
  • Quartz | 2.4%
  • Modern farmhouse | 2.4%
  • Hurricane shutters / storm shutters | 2.3%
  • Mid-century | 2.3%

They also looked at features that helped homes sell faster than normal on the market. Those features were:

  • Doorbell camera | 5.1 days faster
  • Soapstone | 3.8 days faster
  • Open shelving | 3.5 days faster
  • Heat pump | 3 days faster
  • Fenced (back)yard | 2.9 days faster
  • Mid-century | 2.8 days faster
  • Hardwood | 2.4 days faster
  • Walkability / walkable | 2.4 days faster
  • Shiplap | 2.3 days faster
  • Gas furnace | 2.3 days faster

Keep in mind that these are national trends and that local real estate markets are different. If you Google what helps sell homes faster, you will likely find several pages that recommend a swimming pool. That may be great for southern California or Florida, but it likely won’t help in South Dakota.

Interestingly, a few years ago (according to fireplaces were mentioned in more listings than any other amenity but they had no noticeable impact in the speed in which a home sold. I personally love the ambiance of a fireplace but today you can easily get an electric fireplace that will create ambiance without the ashes. Of course, if you have a fireplace and don’t want to deal with the mess it is possible to get a gas insert for your fireplace. However, that is an expense that you are not likely to recover as it likely won’t raise your home’s value—but you may enjoy your fireplace more and you’ll have an alternative heat source.

Choice of paint colors often have an impact on how quickly a home will sell. Neutral colors are always the safe choice. Even though bold paint colors are gaining in popularity again (after a stretch when gray was the main color), neutral colors are the safe bet if you are painting an interior to sell a home. Think whites, tan, and light gray as the safest colors.

If you are debating on making a change to your home before putting it on the market, consider doing something that will make sense. Tearing out old shag carpet and replacing it with a low pile bright fuchsia carpet simply won’t do the trick. Again, think more neutral colors.

Of course, you don’t have to give your home a complete makeover to get it ready for sale. A dated home will sell as long as it is priced right—but it might take a little longer for people to look past a home with avocado and orange (unless they are fruits in a bowl).

As always, if you are looking for some feedback, suggestions, or a comparative market analysis (CMA) of your home just contact me and I will help you.