The Top 10 Features That Help Sell a House

Stacey Marcus
Written by Stacey Marcus
Updated September 1, 2021
Attractive home exterior
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If your home is overdue for an upgrade, it doesn’t hurt to think long-term—as in, making improvements that will not only make you happy, but help your house sell quickly and give you a strong return on investment (ROI) in the future. 

"Sellers should try to look at their homes through the eyes of a potential buyer,” says Shari Sagan McGuirk, real estate advisor and partner at Sagan Harborside Sotheby's International Realty. “That will help them make better decisions on where to invest their resources to get top dollar for their home.” 

Here are McGuirk’s 10 must-have features that will make your home fly off the market.

1. Updated Kitchens

Updated kitchen
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Long heralded as the heart of a home, kitchens are probably one of the most important features when selling. Updated kitchens, especially if they are outfitted with stainless steel appliances, new countertops, and bright lighting, are a top priority for many home buyers.

2. Renovated Bathrooms

Modern stylish bathroom design
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Buyers looking for a home in move-in condition will appreciate a recently updated bathroom. Oversized showers are an even bigger plus, but make sure there is at least one bathtub in the home, too.

3. Big Closets

Big walk-in closet with organizers
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McGuirk says one of the most sought-after components of a new home is more closet space. So if your home lacks that must-have storage space, consider remodeling a spare room into a walk-in worthy of a Kardashian. 

And no matter what size your closets are, make sure they are tidy for tours, smell nice, and have a fresh coat of paint.

4. Charming Details

Staircase with seating areas
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Stagers advise homeowners to declutter their homes. Not only does this keep prospective buyers from stepping over a mess, but it clears the way for them to see the details that make a house sparkle. 

Adding any special touches can make your home stand out. Crown moldings, chair rails, and interesting banisters add a spark to any room. Who knows—that small addition might be a gotta-have-it for a buyer. 

5. Hardwood Floors

Classic living room with hardwood floor
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Hardwood floors (or one of their more modern counterparts like laminate or vinyl) are timeless, durable, and essential for most homebuyers. You might not even have to pay for a brand new installation—if your home features carpeting with hardwood hidden underneath, remove the carpet and have the hardwood floors refinished.

6. Space for a Home Office

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As working from home becomes more common, buyers are seeking out areas where they can work remotely. 

“The space can be a quiet nook, a discreet corner, or an entire room for an office, but having a dedicated space to work has become an important feature to home buyers,” McGuirk says.

7. Large, Clean Windows

Big clean windows in living room and kitchen open concept
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Windows can make a difference in providing natural light throughout a house—and the bigger the windows, the more light is let in. 

“Homebuyers feel good when they walk in a home filled with sunshine and can look outside through spotless windows,” notes McGuirk.

8. Neutral Paint Colors

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A neutral backdrop is the best way for a buyer to picture their furniture and accessories in the home. 

“Buyers can get distracted by too many different paint colors throughout the home and will have a hard time appreciating the size and details of the rooms,” McGuirk says. 

So while you might have your primary bedroom painted in your favorite bright yellow, consider giving it a new coat before putting your house on the market.

9. Open Layouts

Open floor plan
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The open concept living and dining area is here to stay. So if your home is older (which most likely means boxier), consider knocking down a few walls to create a larger space. 

10. Potential to Expand

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Got an unfinished basement or attic? This can actually be a selling perk, as it gives them an option to expand in the future and customize the space exactly how they want it. Bonus points if you have a larger lot, too, as this could give a prospective buyer room for a home addition or two.  First-time homebuyers want to feel confident they have enough room for a growing family.

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