Buyers Are Willing To Pay More For Homes That Mix Work And Play

In a market where home values are hitting new record highs, multifunctional homes with features that accommodate both work and play are fetching even higher prices than the competition.

Zillow’s 2022 Home Features That Sell analysis finds listings mentioning remote work-friendly features and amenities that make it easier to unwind and entertain at home can sell for more than expected, while features associated with energy efficiency and sustainability can help a home sell faster.

“Home buyers are investing in features that reflect the changes in their lives,” said Amanda Pendleton, Zillow’s home trends expert. “While the world slowly exits the pandemic, this data provides some insight into the new normal. Our lives now revolve around where we live, as opposed to where we work. It’s a realignment with wide-ranging impacts, including these changing home preferences that put value on function over style.”

Zillow looked at nearly 230 features and design terms mentioned in listing descriptions for 3.1 million home sales in 2020 and 2021. Sellers whose homes have these desired features would be wise to highlight them in their listing description if they’re looking to sell for top dollar. Zillow’s Homes to Compare tool gives shoppers a comprehensive chart that compares up to five homes side-by-side on more than 70 key listing details including interior features and architecture.

Features that work hard

The pandemic-led shift to remote and hybrid work has put a premium on certain features that allow buyers to work from home. A strong internet connection has become essential as movers seek out relative affordability and more space farther away from city centers. High-speed broadband access, when mentioned in a listing description, is associated with a 2.5% sale premium. A Zoom room or home office space can add 1.6% to a home’s sale price.

Features that add functionality to the kitchen can also help homes achieve higher sale prices. Steam ovens topped the list for a second consecutive year as the pandemic launched a new generation of home chefs. When mentioned in a listing description, this high-end kitchen appliance, which quickly cooks food with steam instead of oil, can contribute to a home selling for 3.7% more than expected. Buyers appear willing to pay more for other functional kitchen features that make cooking and cleanup faster and easier, such as new appliances (2.6%) and quartz countertops (2.3%).

Features to relax and recharge

Retreat spaces at home, once considered a luxury, are now wish-list items for buyers at all price points. Homes with a “she shed,” the female equivalent of a man cave, where women can relax and unwind, can command 2.2% more than expected, while homes with a meditation room could see a 1.7% price premium.

Outdoor space with areas for lounging, dining and entertaining continues to be a priority for pandemic-era home buyers. Homes mentioning pizza ovens and outdoor kitchens can sell for 2.3% and 2.2% more, respectively.

While vacation areas are increasingly popular, buyers nationwide appear willing to pay more for homes that feel like a getaway, even if they’re hundreds of miles from the beach. Nautical style was associated with a 2.4% price premium, while a saltwater pool can help a home sell for 2.1% more than expected.

Sustainability for speedy sales

Eco-friendly features associated with energy efficiency contributed to homes selling faster than expected. Homes with an electric vehicle charging station can sell 10 days faster than similar homes, while homes with drought-resistant landscaping or turf can sell at least nine days faster. Homes boasting energy-efficient features such as double-pane windows, programmable thermostats and smart sprinkler systems can sell between five and seven days faster than expected.

Homes with seismic retrofitting, which make them more resistant to earthquakes, can sell 19 days faster than expected. This feature is found predominantly in updated homes on the West Coast.

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