Want to sell your home for more than your neighbor? Add a fire pit

Homes mentioning fire pits in their listing description can sell for 2.8% more than expected, according a Zillow analysis. (Getty Images/iStockphoto/RandyAndy101)

If you are selling your home, replacing floors or updating kitchens and baths can be a good return on investment, but they are expensive upfront costs.

There are also all sorts of inexpensive updates that will make your listing sound better, and some of them are unusual or overlooked.

Lighting upgrades go a long way, but investing a few hundred dollars in smart light systems will get some buyers excited when they see that in the listing.

“If you replace your lights with smart lights, which are all app-controlled, your home could sell faster. Zillow research finds that homes that mention smart lights in their listing descriptions sell for seven days faster than expected,” said Zillow lifestyle expert Amanda Pendleton.

Another easy upgrade is just replacing kitchen and bathroom faucets.

“Dated fixtures can really show your home’s age,” Pendleton said. “Even if your home is really well-maintained, a buyer might feel like it looks old and just feels old if the fixtures are from another era. New faucets can amp up not only the style but the functionality of a bathroom and kitchen.”

She added: “And bonus points if you put in a touchless faucet, because those are more appealing to buyers right now who are looking for germ-free features in this COVID-19 era.”

An inexpensive addition that actually adds a lot of bang for the buck when it shows up in residential listings right now is a fire pit.

“I know this sounds crazy, but this is a feature that has really climbed in popularity recently because of home improvement TV shows,” Pendleton said. “We know buyers love fire pits, and homes mentioning this feature in their listing description can sell for 2.8% more than expected.”

Also, clean up the backyard.

A Zillow survey from the Harris Poll finds more outdoor space is the top reason people say they would consider moving as a result of social distancing recommendations. Invest in a few shrubs and flowers, and add some mulch and bark, Zillow suggests.

Homes mentioning landscaping in their listing description can sell for 2.7% more than expected, Zillow research shows.

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Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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