Selling your home means identifying the most in-demand design elements. But you might be surprised as to what those elements actually end up being when the numbers get crunched. We worked with Trulia to find out what buyers want and what you can highlight.
From trendiness to vintage appeal to utility, certain design features act as game changers for selling a home. Think of the way two words, “exposed brick,” could suddenly make even the tiniest walk-up seem like your potential castle when you were searching for your first apartment. When buyers are sorting through the sea of options and stuck with a difficult decision, or just trying to separate one 3-bedroom Cape Cod house from another, it’s the special little touches that make the difference.
There are a handful of these features accepted as the current elite group. Take, for example, marble countertops. Marble is modern, luxurious. It might have been the clincher when you chose your home. But if you’re selling your home now, is it still reigning supreme? The answer might surprise you: no. Marble has lost its throne to quartz. Thinking about this unexpected shift, we wondered what other features might be assumed to be best-loved versus what actually sells a home. Enter real estate website Trulia, who researched the matter.
“We’re always hearing what home design elements are trending, but Trulia wanted to see what features are actually popular to buyers,” Trulia real estate and lifestyle expert Lynnette Bruno says. “We know that sellers use listing descriptions and photos to highlight their property’s best design elements and attract buyers. Trulia analyzed listing descriptions on homes for sale in the last year to determine what sellers believe are features that are important to buyers, which is usually indicative of home decor trends.”
Without further ado, we give you the head-to-head comparisons Trulia made. Sellers, take note. A tweak in one of these areas might be the dealmaker for you.
Winner: Quartz Countertops
According to Elle Decor, the National Kitchen & Bath Association’s Design Trends Survey of 450 designers found that by 2015, 89 percent were using quartz in their kitchen projects, with granite and marble countertops falling out of favor. Quartz counters are more durable and easier to clean, thanks to their being man-made, and they’re more versatile, meaning they’ll complement any kitchen aesthetic.
Winner: Soaking Tub
"We felt like clawfoot tubs would be more popular amongst buyers, as they connote luxury and classic style,” Bruno says. “However, according to our data, sellers are more likely to list soaking tubs in their home’s description, which shows that sellers think buyers prefer the versatile design of the soaking tub versus the clawfoot.” While undeniably a vision of vintage elegance, buyers seem to have seen the light regarding clawfoot tubs’ low levels of practicality and ease of cleaning compared to soaking tubs.
Winner: Hardwood Floors
Sorry, carpets, but the verdict’s been pretty clear on this one for a while. A major con for rugs is how much more difficult they are to clean than hardwood, and that fact is also what helps to speed up their aging process and make them look outdated. Hardwood, on the other hand, looks fresh and natural, with a timeless quality for any room.
Winner: Subway Tiles
Other tile trends come and go, but subway tile holds its number-one spot year after year. Such perennial appeal makes is an instant advantage for a home buyer, because the odds are they’ll be able to keep it in place forever. Beyond that, there are the reasons that subway tile is such a classic to begin with, like its effortlessly modern look and its neat and tidy finish.
Winner: White Cabinets
White cabinets are another trend-averse design element, which is especially agreeable to buyers who know how expensive replacing them can be. Bright and minimalist, they help anchor any kitchen space in a contemporary vibe, and they coordinate well with any color scheme.
Winner: Sub-Zero Appliances
Sub-Zero and Viking appliances have long been rivals in the kitchen, often vying for the same consumer among its product lines. Both are well-performing with long-lasting luxury features designed for a modern look. Sub-Zero, however, takes the prize thanks to even more advanced systems that keep food fresher in the refrigerator and more evenly cooked on the stove, with dishes more spotless in the dishwasher.
Winner: Bay Windows
Bay windows are like the great compromise in windows, making them a crowd-pleaser in any style of home. They offer tons of natural light and plenty of views without the decreased privacy or vulnerability to outside temperatures that floor-to-ceiling windows might have, plus they often include extra seating or storage space.
Winner: Gas Stove
Gas stoves provide a wider range of cooking options and a speedier reaction time than their electric counterpart. As pointed out on Bob Vila, someone that likes to get creative in the kitchen will want the charring, toasting, and flambéing options of a gas stove. Plus, for most homes, gas costs less than electricity, so the gas stove is cheaper to operate month to month.
Are you surprised by these findings? Tell us if you've incorporated any of the above design elements into your home below!