Homes with certain design elements sell faster

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Why do some homes sell for a premium? In addition to timing, a home's listing description can have a significant impact on its final sale price.

Listings mentioning keywords like "barn door," "shaker cabinets" or "subway tiles," sell faster and for up to 13 percent more than expected, according to a Zillow Digs® analysisi.

Zillow Digs analyzed listing descriptions from over 2 million homes nationwide sold between January 2014 andMarch 2016 to see how certain keywords referring to home features, amenities and design styles impacted their sale price.

Of the 60 keywords analyzed, listings mentioning "barn doors," a rustic sliding door often used on bedroom closets and kitchen pantries, saw the highest sale premium (13 percent above expected values). Other common craftsman-style keywords like "farmhouse sink" were also found in top-performing listings. Furthermore, homes described as "craftsman" performed better than any other design style analyzed. While people may think the rustic mason jar-vibe is out, it is still very popular with today's buyers.  

"When it comes to real estate listing descriptions – words matter," says Dr. Svenja Gudell, Zillow chief economist. "Your listing description is an opportunity to highlight specific details and finishes that might not be visible in photos. Craftsman-style homes and amenities resonate incredibly well with today's buyers – so if you've got them, flaunt them! 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."

Understanding what's popular among buyers can also help homeowners who are considering remodeling. For example, listings descriptions that included "new carpets" had no effect on the home's sale price, but listings mentioning "hardwood floors" sold for two percent more than expected. While everyone has different preferences, when it's time to sell, a listing mentioning hardwood floors may be more likely to catch a future buyer's eye.

This report stems from an analysis in the New York Times best-seller, "Zillow Talk: Rewriting the Rules of Real Estate," which looks at how certain listing descriptors like "unique" or "captivating" can impact final sale prices. More information can be found at  

Home Feature Keyword

Effect (percent

homes sells for

above expected


Effect (how

many days

faster than

expected the

home sells)

Most Common


Barn Door 13.4% 57 Phoenix, AZ
Shaker Cabinet 9.6% 45 Los Angeles, CA
Farmhouse Sink 7.9% 58 Los Angeles, CA
Subway Tile 6.9% 63 Philadelphia, PA
Quartz 6.0% 50 Los Angeles, CA
Craftsman 5.4% 14 Seattle, WA



4.9% 36 New York, NY
Pendant Light 4.6% 48 Phoenix, AZ
Frameless Shower 4.6% 38 Dallas, TX
Heated Floors 4.3% 28 Seattle, WA
Stainless Steel 4.2% 42 Chicago, IL
Granite 4.1% 38 Dallas, TX
Backsplash 4.1% 46 Philadelphia, PA
Tankless Water Heater 4.0% 43 Los Angeles, CA
Outdoor Kitchen 3.7% 19 Tampa, FL

Zillow Digs® is a hub for home improvement and design inspiration. Users can browse more than three million photos of interiors and exteriors of real homes, organized by space, style, cost and color. Product tags allow users to easily locate similar products and accessories as seen in their favorite photos, and patent-pending Digs® Estimates help people understand what it would cost to recreate the actual bathrooms and kitchens they are viewing.

In addition, Zillow Digs users can collect images, share favorites and follow others for inspiration, from the Zillow Digs App for iPhone® and iPad®, or on the Web.

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