Listing Language

These amenities can help your Austin home sell for 25 percent more than expected

These amenities can help your Austin home sell for 25 percent more

Backyard Deck of HGTV 2015 Smart Home
Buyers want to cook under the big Texas sky. Photo courtesy of HGTV Smart Home

Knowing when to list your home is only half the battle — the way you describe it also has a huge impact on the final sale price. Zillow analyzed listing descriptions from nearly 4 million homes nationwide that sold between January 2016 and December 2017, and boiled down which keywords for home features, amenities, and design styles had the greatest effect with buyers.

Dallas, for example, really values an outdoor kitchen. It was the most common metro to include that specific term in our listings, and overall a dedicated place to cook al fresco brings in 25 percent more than expected.

Steam showers and professional appliances top the list with a 29 percent premium each, while pizza ovens and their 26 percent take the third spot. Other "chef's kitchen" (yes, that's one of the terms) must-haves include prep and farmhouse sinks, wine fridges, and Carrarra marble (but no mention if that's on the counters or as the backsplash).

In addition to steam showers, bathroom-centric buyers love to hear when a home has heated floors or radiant heat and a freestanding tub. Other indoor perks include coffered ceilings and a home theater.

Outdoors, it's not just kitchens that rake in the dough. Shed or garage studios, solar panels, and outdoor fireplaces all bring in at least 20 percent more.

Some terms suggest regionally specific preferences, such as Los Angeles' love for meditation rooms, Seattle's penchant for Craftsman styles, and New York's appreciation of herringbone or parquet floors. Outdoorsy Coloradans find a dedicated pet shower to be an extra plus.

If owners are more interested in a quick sale than top dollar, there are a few other terms that Zillow says decreased time spent on the market. Touting a home's "exposed brick" helped it sell a full two weeks faster in 2016-17, while "open shelving," "dual flush," "subway tile," and "midcentury" all shortened sale time by more than 10 days.