Elements from the popular design trend top the list of features that contribute to a better-than-expected home sale.

By Jessica Bennett
March 12, 2020

The Fixer Upper effect is real, and it could make your home sell faster and for more money. Homebuyers are willing to pay about 10% more than expected for homes featuring modern farmhouse-style elements, according to new research from Zillow.

This modern farmhouse-style exterior features double barn doors.
| Credit: Brie Williams

The real estate company analyzed listing descriptions and sales performance for thousands of homes sold in the past two years. They found that modern farmhouse style, popularized by Chip and Joanna Gaines' hit home renovation show, was associated with a faster, more profitable home sale when compared to the estimated value and expected length of time on the market. Zillow estimates that the price premium linked to modern farmhouse homes adds up to about $25,000 on a typical home in the U.S.

Apart from price, several iconic elements of modern farmhouse style topped the list of features included in the fastest-selling listings. Homes with board-and-batten designs, butcher-block countertops, barn doors, open shelving, shiplap walls, or farmhouse sinks sold on average about 6 to 9 days faster than expected (compared to Zillow's pre-listing estimate on each home).

Top Modern Farmhouse Elements That Increase Sale Speed

  • Board and batten: a style of exterior siding or interior paneling that alternates wide wood boards and narrow wood strips
    • 8.7 days faster
  • Butcher block: a style of assembled wood historically used in butcher shops; now popular as a material for kitchen countertops or islands
    • 7.4 days faster
  • Barn door: a sliding door hung on hinges inspired by barns
    • 6.5 days faster
  • Open shelving: floating shelves often used in place of upper kitchen cabinets
    • 5.9 days faster
  • Shiplap: a style of exterior siding or interior paneling made of horizontal wood planks
    • 5.9 days faster
  • Farmhouse sink: a wide, deep sink with an apron-front
    • 5.8 days faster
A sliding barn door conceals a farmhouse bathroom featuring a shiplap wall treatment and open shelving.
| Credit: Jason Donnelly

"The modern farmhouse trend seems to be enduring because of its livability," says Zillow lifestyle expert Amanda Pendleton in a statement. "It has a more casual, rustic aesthetic that is meant to be lived in; nothing is precious, and the more wear and patina, the better, which makes it so appealing to buyers with children or pets."

Ironically, "fixer-upper" homes (Chip and Joanna's bread and butter) sold for nearly 28% less than expected. Fixer-upper homes are broadly defined as homes that need maintenance; this could span from easy fixes, like replacing fixtures or painting walls, to more extensive repairs, like plumbing and HVAC updates. Because these houses often require renovation work before moving in, buyers are likely unwilling to pay full price. Similarly, listings that included the phrase "TLC" were discounted about 17% from the expected price.

Beyond farmhouse-style features, other elements linked to quick-selling homes included smart sprinkler systems, rattan, drought-resistant landscaping, and mid-century style designs. Homes with these top four features sold the fastest compared to their expected rate, with listings that mentioned smart sprinkler systems selling about 15 days faster than anticipated.

However, it's important to note that including these details in your home's for-sale listing won't automatically make it sell quickly for big bucks. Many factors can affect your home's perceived value, but having a few of these popular features couldn't hurt.

On the other end of the spectrum, the study found that some luxury features could actually make your home sit on the market for longer. Homes that included high-end elements, such as a wine cellar, steam oven, steam shower, and professional appliances, sold more than two weeks slower than expected. Listings that mentioned "wellness," which likely refers to areas such as meditation spaces or fitness rooms, typically sold over 24 days slower than anticipated.

Keep these stats in mind as you decorate or renovate your home to sell. If you're considering hopping on the modern farmhouse or mid-century modern trends, it could result in a big pay-off in time and money when your home hits the market.


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