Selling your house? These words can boost its price

Want to sell a home fast? Mentioning its subway tiles or barn doors could help make that happen.

Real estate website Zillow analyzed listing descriptions for more than 2 million homes sold across the country between January 2014 and March 2016 to see whether keywords had an impact on sale prices and timelines.

Certain features did help homes sell for up to 13 percent above their expected values and up to two months faster than expected. Others -- like "new carpets" -- didn't have an effect on the home's sale price.

"When it comes to real estate listing descriptions -- words matter," said Svenja Gudell, Zillow chief economist. "Your listing description is an opportunity to highlight specific details and finishes that might not be visible in photos."

The wording of your listing also hints at the general design and style of the home.

"Craftsman-style homes and amenities resonate incredibly well with today's buyers -- so if you've got them, flaunt them," Gudell said. "Meanwhile, not only are subway tiles and Shaker cabinets popular with home buyers, they may also signal that the home has other desirable features like an open floor plan or a well-appointed kitchen."

But don't run out and start ripping out your floors to install new heated floors just because they may resonate with some buyers, cautions Columbus, Ohio-based realtor Deb Harr of Homes That Click Realtors. While these features are appealing, they aren't going to be the whole reason someone wants to buy the house and probably aren't worth the time and expense of an upgrade.

Instead, look for quick, low-cost updates to refresh the look of your home and help potential buyers envision themselves living in that space.

Things like adding a tile backsplash in your kitchen, switching out builder-grade light fixtures for pendant lights and repainting dated red walls a trendier gray shade will give your home the "HGTV look" buyers want, Harr said.

Even tiny changes like removing highly personal items or buying a new comforter for your bed can help your home look more appealing in listing photos, she continued.

"People who are taking the time to get their homes ready for the market are the ones that are selling the quickest for the most money and oftentimes selling for over list price," Harr said.

Click ahead to see which 10 words and features could boost the sale price of your home.

Barn door

Percent increase over expected values: 13.4

Days sold faster than expected: 57

These rustic sliding doors most commonly popped up in listings around Phoenix, according to Zillow. It had the greatest price impact of the 60 keywords analyzed. But these kinds of doors may not be popular in all areas. Harr said she has sold 125 homes in the last year and has seen only one home in the Columbus market with barn doors in it. Remember, it's a good idea to pay attention to trends in your local market. What are the neighbors doing?

Shaker cabinet

Percent increase over expected values: 9.6

Days sold faster than expected: 45

The simple, clean design of Shaker cabinetry complements a lot of different styles and was a big draw in the Zillow study. These cabinets were most often mentioned in Los Angeles. Replacing all of your kitchen cabinets before selling your home probably isn't a worthwhile investment, Harr said, but this style could be a good choice if you're already planning a renovation project.

Farmhouse sink

Percent increase over expected values: 7.9

Days sold faster than expected: 58

These deep, rectangular sinks, also known as apron-front sinks, add to the rustic, craftsman style exemplified by barn doors and Shaker cabinets. They're usually significantly deeper than modern sinks that are mounted under the counter and they allow you to stand directly in front of the sink with no cabinets or countertops in between. They were most popular in Los Angeles.

Subway tile

Percent increase over expected values: 6.9

Days sold faster than expected: 63

These clean, basic tiles were a big draw for buyers, especially in Philadelphia, according to Zillow, and helped homes sell more than two months faster than expected. Adding a subway tile backsplash can be a quick, inexpensive way to boost your home's appeal, Harr said.


Percent increase over expected values: 6.0

Days sold faster than expected: 50

Quartz, which is gaining popularity as a material for kitchen countertops, was most popular in Los Angeles. These countertops are a great selling point, Harr said, but they don't make a big difference in your kitchen's appearance on their own.

"I see a lot of quartz, but people are trying to put new countertops on old cabinets without refreshing the cabinets," she said. "The old cabinets will still be the first thing you see in that kitchen."


Percent increase over expected values: 5.4

Days sold faster than expected: 14

The rustic craftsman style is a big draw to buyers, Zillow found. Seattle had the most listings mentioning this keyword. This distinctly American style is characterized by exposed wood beams, large front porches, gabled roofs and tapered columns.

Exposed brick

Percent increase over expected values: 4.9

Days sold faster than expected: 36

Exposed brick walls add warmth and texture to a room and popped up most often in listings around New York City. This isn't a feature you can quickly add to your home -- it usually has to already be there -- but it can be a good thing to highlight in the listing.

Pendant light

Percent increase over expected values: 4.6

Days sold faster than expected: 48

These drop-down lights are a great way to add dimension and personality to a room and are relatively inexpensive to install. They were most popular in Phoenix. Taking out basic or outdated lights and replacing them with these trendier fixtures will make a home "more in today's look," Harr said.

Frameless shower

Percent increase over expected values: 4.6

Days sold faster than expected: 38

These glass shower enclosures offer clean lines unobstructed by the sometimes-bulky metal frames seen in other styles. They were most popular in Dallas area homes. This is another investment that Harr said doesn't necessarily make sense to make right before selling your home, but it's something to keep in mind if you're already planning a bathroom remodel.

Heated floors

Percent increase over expected values: 4.3

Days sold faster than expected: 28

This cozy feature showed up most often in Seattle, which isn't surprising given the area's reputation for chilly, rainy days. They can be heated by electric wires or small tubes of hot water beneath the flooring and are most often used under tile or cement floors. Wood flooring can be used, but the temperature changes can cause the wood to expand and shrink.