Touting the toilet a new trend in real estate ads

With the real estate market heating up again, sellers are getting more creative about describing their homes in ways that make them stand out in the online classifieds. Typically, the ads brag about views, closets and kitchens, but now some homeowners have begun name-dropping the brand of their toilet, according to the Appraisal column in The New York Times. Kohler and Toto are just two toilet brands that have popped up in recent ads. Models from those same brands also appear on Consumer Reports' list of top toilet picks although our best flusher is an American Standard.

An ad for a West Village townhouse in New York City, with an asking price of $12.5 million, includes the fact that it has Toto toilets. "Actually, it has become the Sub-Zero of the toilet world," Leonard Steinberg, managing director of the real estate firm Douglas Elliman, told The New York Times.

We haven't tested Toto's Neorest 600, which can sell for as much as $4,000, but the Toto Drake CST744S, $370, and the Toto Eco Drake CST744E, $380, got the job done in our tough toilet tests. The Drake was excellent at bowl cleaning and solid waste removal and the Eco Drake, which uses less water per flush, was very good at both tasks. Four Kohler models, ranging in price from $250 to $425, made our recommended list—all were excellent at solid waste removal and excellent or very good at bowl cleaning.

Quietness coupled with great performance put the American Standard Champion 4 2002.014, $300, and the Gerber Avalanche 21-818, $330, in first and second place. Both use 1.6 gallons per flush and handled our measured mix of baby wipes, sponges, plastic balls, and tubes with aplomb. Our top-scoring dual flush toilet is the Glacier Bay Dual Flush N2316, which sells at Home Depot for $100 and is a CR Best Buy.

To buy a toilet you can brag about, consider one that meets WaterSense standards (using 1.28 gallons per flush or less) or one that's a few inches taller than a regular toilet, called comfort height, and suits aging baby boomers and younger buyers alike. But don't describe your throne as a "rare find." Rare was the most overused adjective in the real estate ads reviewed by the Times, followed by Zen.

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