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Lookingto buy a home? It’s better to be on a “Way” than a “Street,” pick a femalereal-estate agent and try to be close to a Starbucks.
That’sthe advice of Spencer Rascoff, CEO of Zillow.com, who collected statistics fromhis site’s database of 110 million homes to find trends in real-estate pricing.
Alongwith Zillow economist Stan Humphries, he has written “The NewRules of Real Estate” (Grand Central), out Tuesday. Some of his findings:
- TheStarbucks effect. Take two identical homes sold in 1997. One near Starbuckswould have sold for an average of $137,000, while the same home without aStarbucks would have sold for $102,000. Fast-forward 15 years: the average UShome appreciated 65 percent to $168,000, but the property next to Starbucksskyrockets 96 percent to $269,000.
- Allrenovations are not created equal. The greatest return for your investment is a mid-range bathroom remodel,a $3,000 job that returns $1.71 for every dollar spent. The worst homeimprovements for value are kitchen remodeling and finishing a basement. Atop-of-the-line kitchen reno will cost you $22,000, and you’ll only get about$0.51 back for every $1 you spend.
- Usethe right words in a listing. Avoid “unique,” “TLC,” “investment” and“potential” — these could lower sale prices by as much as 7 percent. But wordslike “luxurious” for bottom-tier homes and “captivating” for top-tier homescould add 8.2 percent to your home’s value. Longer, more-detailed listingsoften sell for more.
-“When” is as important as “how much.” In New York, the worst time to sell isthe second week of December (listings sold for 2.8 percent less than average).The best time is March, when homes sold faster and for 2 percent more.
-Seven is an unlucky number. Homes with “777” as their address sell for 2.1percent less than their estimated value; house numbers that just include 777(such as 17779 Main St.), sell for 1.8 percent less. Oddly, houses with just 7as their number sell for 1.8 percent more than the estimated sale price.
-Psychological pricing works. Listings with a nine in the thousand digit($450,000 vs. $449,000) sell anywhere from four days to a full week faster.
-Female agents tend to sell homes faster and for higher prices.
-What’s in a name? A lot of cash, according to Zillow’s data. Homes on namedstreets tend to be 2 percent more valuable nationwide than numbered ones(unless you’re talking about New York City, where it’s a wash). But Main Streethomes garner 4 percent less than America’s median home value. Street name