Make Sure to Highlight Hidden Gems When Marketing Your Home


Activerain, a network for real estate professionals, recently did a survey of their members to see which attributes they felt mattered most to buyers when choosing a home to purchase. There were three categories: 1) Features that were typically included in the price and worth every penny; 2) Lifestyle Attributes which encompassed neighborhood amenities; and 3) Hidden Gems or items that may not be reflected in the price of the home but add value to the buyers of the home over time. They rated these items on a scale from “not valuable” (lowest rating) to “very valuable” or “worth every penny” (the highest rating). They then calculated percentages based on how people rated each item.

It was interesting to see what percentage of real estate professionals from all over the U.S. and Canada felt was “very valuable” or “worth every penny” in a home and community. I’m putting those in the Ann’s Digest condensed version of this article to share with you. If you want to read the entire article, it’s called “Where to Look for Hidden Gems in Real Estate”.

Things that topped the list of features typically included in the listing price that they felt were “worth every penny” included amazing views (69%), neighborhood quality (69%), great schools (66%) and new roof (66%). From there the “worth every penny” attributes dropped down to 50%-the percentage of real estate professionals who believe that backing up to green space is worth every penny.

On the lower end of the “worth every penny” spectrum, only slightly more than 1/3 of real estate professionals (39%) believed that granite counter tops were “worth every penny” of what buyers paid for a home with this feature. If you spend any time watching HGTV, you may think that granite is the only surface worth putting in if you want to get top dollar for your home. This survey indicates that is thinking fueled by the media.

The lifestyle attributes listed as “very valuable” in making the decision to purchase a home included quality of the neighborhood (69.32%) and good schools (66.53%). Commute time was only thought to be “very valuable” by slightly more than a 1/3 of the real estate professionals (37.78%). Which means that people will trade a longer commute time for living in a good neighborhood with good schools. Makes sense. On my street in Huron, there are at least 3 people who commute to the Cleveland area each day for work. Living in Huron township on the east side of town still gives residents access to good schools and neighborhoods while also making the commute to more plentiful jobs manageable.

Hidden Gems are the features of a home or community that offer value to the homeowner over time, but whose value is typically not reflected in the price paid for the home. The highest rated “Hidden Gem” in the survey were hardwood floors under carpet (54.84%). Ripping up carpeting to refinish hardwood flooring is not a typical DIY project that a new homeowner wants to tackle. It can be an expense to hire a professional, but it’s something that can be done over time. Next highest on the list of hidden gem attributes were having great neighbors (42.04%). Anyone who has ever had a neighbor clear off your snow-covered driveway when there are 14 inches of snow on the ground and the temperature is 10 degrees, knows how nice it is to have a good neighbor. I am fortunate to have several neighbors who occasionally do things like that for me.

The article made the point that when marketing your home for sale, it’s important to not only focus on the obvious things that make a home and community valuable to buyers like location, views, lot size, high-priced upgrades like granite counters, neighborhood quality and great schools. It is also important to focus on highlighting those things that don’t immediately come to mind that add intrinsic value like hardwood floors under the carpet, green upgrades like solar panels, mature and native landscaping, and last but not least, good neighbors.

Anne Steinemann