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7 Home Upgrades that Add Value

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Savvy homeowners thinking about listing their homes in the sizzling hot 2021 housing market may be trying to figure out which upgrades increase home value the most right now. One of our favorite research tools for helping our customers figure out which home improvements will provide the best ROI is Zillow’s annual Home Features that Sell report.

Contemporary Kitchen Design

Each year, Zillow examines home sales from the previous year and compares a home’s actual sales price to its estimated worth (Zestimate) in the month prior to being listed. The features included in a home’s listing description are also analyzed, helping Zillow (and everyone else) anticipate which upgrades are likely to increase a home’s value. In other words, Zillow’s research and analytics help us all figure out which features and interior design styles may help a house sell faster than comparable homes - and for more money than expected.

A summary of Zillow’s most recent Home Features that Sell report - titled Luxury Kitchens & Bathrooms are Pandemic Must-Haves says it all. With people stuck at home during the pandemic, and the housing market hotter than ever, the most sought-after features by home buyers in 2020 were luxurious kitchen and bathroom amenities like smart appliances and heated bathroom floors. According to Zillow, homes that advertised high-end kitchen and bathroom amenities (including steam ovens and butcher block islands) sold for more than otherwise expected in 2020.

Butcher Block Countertop - Photo by Tina Dawson

Photo by Tina Dawson

Kitchen upgrades are particularly attractive to home buyers during the pandemic. Jeff Tucker of Zillow wrote that: “Six out of the top 10 features mentioned in listings that sold for more than expected in 2020 are kitchen-related, two are related to bathrooms and one — “modern farmhouse” — could reasonably apply to both (assuming “modern” does not imply an outhouse situation).”

With home cooking more popular than ever, it is no surprise that high-end kitchen features and amenities are so desirable to home buyers right now. Some of the top kitchen upgrades that may help your home sell faster and for more money in 2021 include:
  • Quartz countertops - According to Zillow, quartz countertops are a 3.2% home sales price premium feature.
  • Butcher block islands & countertops - Butcher blocks are a 2.7% home sales price premium feature.
  • Carrara marble - Carrara marble is a kitchen or bathroom upgrade that can lead to a faster sale - a home with Carrara marble is typically sold 5.3 days faster than expected. Carrara marble makes a timeless kitchen backsplash or feature tile - as well as a durable, attractive organic building material that is ideal for luxury kitchen countertops and floors.

Bianco Carrara Marble in 2" Hexagons

  • Modern farmhouse décor - According to Zillow, homes with “modern farmhouse” in the listing typically garner a 3.6% sales price premium, making it one of the top features desired by home buyers for two years in a row. For details on what makes this interior design style so popular with home buyers year after year, check out our article on The Enduring Popularity of Modern Farmhouse Style Homes.
  • Open shelving - Open shelving also helps your home sell faster - 5.7 days on average according to Zillow. Adding open shelving aka floating shelves to a kitchen is an inexpensive weekend DIY project that nearly anyone can complete. If you are looking for cheap ways to increase home value in 2021 - this is it! Right now, open shelving is one of the best DIY projects to increase home value without spending a lot of money or even hiring a contractor (though you will definitely need to make sure you have a level for this project). 

Natural wood open shelving is an especially good option for homeowners who are trying to add some modern farmhouse style to their kitchen. In fact, its association with the modern farmhouse interior design style may help explain why so many homes with open shelving in their listings sold more quickly than expected in the previous year. To get started, we suggest checking out an easy, step-by-step DIY open shelving tutorial from Grace in my Space.

Modern Farmhouse Natural Wood Open Shelves

While the kitchen is very important to most home buyers, other home upgrades that add value include luxury bathroom upgrades and quality landscaping. Regarding bathroom home improvements with a good ROI for 2021, two of the top bathroom upgrades that home buyers are looking for right now are:

  • Heated bathroom floors - Buyers want luxury bathroom features like radiant floor heating that will warm your cold feet in the morning! Listings that mentioned heated floors or radiant heat brought in about 3.2% more than expected in 2020.
  • Curbless showers - Curbless showers are simply walk-in showers without a curb or threshold. They provide a streamlined, minimalist look that home buyers love. A walk-in shower with no ledge is also easier to clean and provides easy entry and exit, making them a great accessible shower option for households with aging family members or young children that may have a difficult time navigating traditional shower designs with ledges or an edge to step over. A beautifully tiled curbless shower is functional and aesthetically pleasing - a winning combo for home buyers. With that in mind, it makes total sense that residential home listings that mentioned “curbless” were associated with a 3.6% sales price premium in 2020 - making them one of the top 2 home features that will likely help you sell your home for more money.

Curbless shower - photo by Jon'Nathon Stebbe

 Photo by Jon'Nathon Stebbe

According to Zillow, other interior design styles that are popular with home buyers right now include bohemian/boho and mid-century modern; additional features that will help your home sell for more money in 2021 include built-in pizza ovens, steam ovens, and other new appliances especially smart appliances. Pet-friendly outdoor features - like turf or grass lawn, a fenced backyard, and a dog house - are additional home upgrades that add value and can help your home sell faster and/or for more money.

Fixer-upper residential homes weren’t as attractive to home buyers in 2021 (they sold for nearly 13% less than expected), indicating that home buyers prefer move-in ready homes during the pandemic. If you are wondering if making small upgrades to your home prior to listing will be worth it, current data strongly indicates: yes.

For assistance picking out the right wall and floor tiling to help increase your home’s value in 2021, contact our customer support team.

Bathroom Floors Carrara Marble Contemporary Kitchen Design design Home Value Kitchen Backsplash Modern Farmhouse Shower Tile

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