If you’re trying to sell your home, you probably have these two concerns: how much you can get, and how long it will take to sell. Timing – when you put a home on the market – can significantly influence the final sale price. Homes listed in late spring (May 1 to May 15), for example, sell about 18.5 days faster and for 1% more than the average listing nationwide, according to new data from online real estate aggregator Zillow. (See The Best Day and Month to List Your Home for more on the best timing.)

But timing isn’t the only factor that can help home sellers fetch the best price, and in the shortest amount of time. It turns out that a home’s listing description is important, too. A recent Zillow Digs analysis found that listings with keywords like “barn door” and “exposed brick” sell faster and for up to 13% more than expected.

“When it comes to real estate descriptions – words matter,” said Zillow chief economist Svenja Gudell. “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.”

Keywords with the Most Impact

Certain keywords do more than alert potential buyers about your home’s specific features – they help buyers get a better idea about the general layout or style of your home. “Not only are subway tiles and Shaker cabinets popular with home buyers,” said Gudell, “they may also signal that the home has other desirable features like an open floor plan or a well-appointed kitchen.”

For the study, Zillow Digs analyzed 60 keywords in listing descriptions to identify the different home features, amenities and design styles that lead to a faster sale and better price – using data from 2.8 million homes across the nation sold between January 2014 and March 2016. They found the 15 home feature keywords that had the greatest impact on sales price and speed of sale. Here they are – along with the local market where each feature is the most popular:


% home sells for above expected price

# days faster than average the home sells

Most common metro

 Barn Door




 Shaker Cabinet



 Los Angeles

 Farmhouse Sink



 Los Angeles

 Subway Tile







 Los Angeles





 Exposed Brick



 New York

 Pendant Light




 Frameless Shower




 Heated Floors




 Stainless Steel












 Tankless Water Heater



 Los Angeles

 Outdoor Kitchen





Keep in mind that some of these features – like stainless steel appliances and granite countertops – are popular no matter where you live. Other features may be more important to buyers in certain parts of the country. Outdoor kitchens, for example, may be more popular in markets that have better year-round weather. Likewise, heated floors, which are a big plus in regions that get cold, may be less important in hot states like Florida

The Bottom Line

Knowing which features are important to buyers can help you sell your home faster, at a better price – as long as they’re included in the listing description. These are the features that buyers favor and, as Zillow’s Gudell said, “If you’ve got them, flaunt them.”

Understanding what’s popular with buyers can also be helpful if you’re thinking about remodeling. Listing descriptions that include “new carpet,” for example, had no impact on a home’s sale price – but listings with “hardwood floors” sold for 2% more than expected. Putting your money into projects that generate the best returns will help you get the most for your house when it comes time to sell. (See Home Improvements That Really Pay Off and Top 5 Home Renos for Your Money.) Plus, you’ll get to enjoy the upgrades while you’re still in the home.