Infographic: Why Some Homes Sell Faster

By Matthew Wheeland - November 9, 2011
Infographic: Green Cars 101

Infographic: Why Some Homes Sell Faster

Why Some Homes Sell Faster

With U.S. home prices headed for a triple dip, deals are fragile and last-minute glitches are holding things up longer than ever before. Even in a down market, though, some houses are selling far faster than others. Here are the “it” factors helping those homes move quickly.

Energy-efficient Features

Installing energy-efficient features can make your home more appealing to buyers, especially in a down market. Consider the following upgrades.

Solar Panels

A recent study by National Renewable Energy Labs found the presence of a PV solar system on the roof made houses sell 20 percent faster and for 17 percent more money than non-solar homes.

Average sell time (at time of study):

  • Solar home: 23 months
  • Non-solar home: 28 months
Home appreciation
  • Solar home: 55%
  • Non-solar home: 33%

Energy-efficiency certifications

A study conducted two years ago by the Earth Advantage Institute in Seattle and Portland identified what may be another plus: homes marketed with energy-efficiency certifications appear to sell faster on average than those without.

Other energy-efficient upgrades

  • Solar water heaters
  • Geothermal heat pumps
  • Spray foam insulation
  • High-performance windows or doors
Tip: Be sure to highlight the energy and money-saving aspects of your home to prospective buyers in language the average person understands. For instance, “Our average electricity bill is $8 a month” is better than “Our solar panels produce 6 kilowatt hours of electricity per day.”

On the Smaller Side

A 2011 study by the National Association of Home Builders showed smaller homes are moving faster in today’s tough economy because of their smaller price tags and lower ongoing monthly costs.

One-bathroom homes, for instance actually sell 13 percent faster than others. Homes with two stories or more took more than 20 percent longer than single-level homes.

The Pot is Sweetened

In a down market, smart sellers are offering something extra to help close the deal. Current strategies you can try:

  • Offer to pay for the buyer’s closing costs.
  • Throw in a warranty that covers appliances.
  • Give the buyers two airline tickets to a popular vacation destination.

Appropriate Pricing & Approval

Price is an especially important factor in a down market. Quick sellers really do their research on what homes in their communities are actually listing and selling for. Studies show going too far outside the neighborhood’s range of prices can slow down a sale.

Tip: You have a prospective buyer and it’s time to get the home appraised, but undervalued appraisals are roadblocking many a deal these days because lazy appraisers often go on too little information. If you have data proving great schools or low crime in the area, make sure your buyer’s appraiser has it. Also make they’re factoring out foreclosures and distressed sales in the area’s average prices.

Great Descriptions

A Canadian study of over 20,000 real estate listings found descriptions that focused more on “curb appeal” or general attractiveness helped a property sell faster than those focusing on value and price.

  • Move-in condition: Describing a property as in “move-in condition” quickened the sale by 12 percent.
  • Beautiful! Gorgeous! Listings with the words “beautiful” or “gorgeous” sold 15 percent faster.
  • New Landscaping! Using the word “landscaping” hastened a sale by 20 percent.
  • Must Sell! Avoid language that connotes desperation such as “motivated” and “must sell.” These words were associated with sales that were slower by 30 percent.
Tip: Terms must be used honestly in order to hasten a sale.

Other Tried-and-True Advice for a Quick Sale

House is in “turnkey” or “move-in” condition

Turnkey generally means “requires no immediate repair or work to inhabit,” but can have other meanings such as “includes furnishings,” a popular interpretation in places where vacation homes are common. Make sure you’re clear with the realtor on how that term is used.

Professionally staged

The only studies on this have been conducted by staging companies, but most real estate agents concur that professionally staged homes sell at least 20 to 40 percent faster than vacant ones.

Curb appeal

  • House paint looks fresh
  • Has landscaping
  • Yard is green and mowed
  • Yard is free of weeds, toys, or other objects
  • Walkways and railings are smooth and well maintained

What’s ?

organizes group deals on solar energy. Since 2008, has run hundreds of group deals in over 40 U.S. states and helped thousands of homeowners go solar. We’ve been featured in dozens of publications and programs including The New York Times, The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, USA Today, Marketplace, Wired, and GOOD Magazine. In 2010, sponsored the first-ever solar deal on and received a Heart of Green Award for “Best New Innovation.” Want to find out if there’s a group deal on solar in your area? Sign up for (it’s free). Not ready to go solar, but want to help take solar mainstream? Tell your friends about .


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