Smart home and sustainable features contribute to a faster sale, according to a new Zillow analysis

From television trend to real estate spend – homes with shiplap, barndoors and farmhouse sinks sell for more and sell faster than expected.

New Zillow research suggests buyers aren’t over the farmhouse fad and they’re willing to pay a significant premium for features popularized by reality renovation TV shows.

Modern farmhouse style, when mentioned in a for-sale listing, was associated with a 10.3% sale premium, the largest price premium of any home feature or style Zillow looked at. That adds up to about $25,000 on a typical American home.

“Some design trends look great in a photograph, but don’t reflect the way most Americans live,” said Amanda Pendleton, Zillow Lifestyle Expert. “The modern farmhouse trend seems to be enduring because of its livability. 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.”

High-end, custom features earned significant sale premiums, too. Homes with waterfall countertops, which fall vertically down the side of a kitchen island or peninsula, earned 9.4% more than the expected sale price. Homes with Moroccan tile, characterized by high-contrast geometric patterns, commanded a 7.3% sale premium.

“This analysis didn’t look at return on investment, so don’t rush out to install a waterfall countertop in your kitchen and assume you’ll earn your money back in a sale,” said Zillow economist Jeff Tucker. “However, if you have these features in your home, make sure to flaunt them in your listing description during the competitive spring home shopping season. We can’t prove these features directly cause the price premiums we found, but the positive correlation is a clear sign that today’s home shoppers associate these features with high-quality homes.”

Keywords associated with smart homes, such as “smart sprinkler system” and “smart light,” and keywords associated with sustainability and energy-efficiency, such as “drought-resistant” and “double-pane windows,” contributed to a faster than expected sale. Homes with rattan elements, a hot design trend, sold nearly 13 days faster than expected.

There are many factors that contribute to a home’s final sale price, including when a home is listed for sale. In this analysis, Zillow looked at more than 170 features or design elements that were mentioned in the listing descriptions of millions of homes sold in 2018 and 2019.

This year, Zillow used a new methodology1 that considered a home’s pre-listing Zestimate, Zillow’s best estimate of a home’s value, along with the home’s sale price and number of days it was on the market. Listings with each feature were compared with listings of homes without them, controlling for size, age and location of the homes, the time of year listed, and the presence of any of the other keywords analyzed here.

Top 10 Features that Contributed to Homes Selling for More Than Expected


Price Premium

Modern farmhouse


Waterfall countertop


Moroccan tile




Exposed brick


Free-standing bath/tub




Dual range/fuel


Metal roof


pet/dog spa/wash/shower


Top 10 Features that Contributed to a Faster than Expected Sale


Days on Market Faster than Expected

Smart sprinkler system








Board and batten


Carrara (marble)


Double-pane window




Butcher block


Smart light


About Zillow
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Zillow’s proprietary data, technology and industry partnerships put Zillow at nearly every major point of the home shopping experience, helping consumers search for and get into their new home faster. Zillow now offers a fully integrated home shopping experience that includes access to for sale and rental listings, Zillow Offers®, which provides a new, hassle-free way to buy and sell eligible homes directly through Zillow; and Zillow Home Loans, Zillow’s affiliated lender that provides an easy way to receive mortgage pre-approvals and financing. Zillow Premier Agent instantly connects buyers and sellers with its network of real estate professionals to help guide them through the home shopping process. For renters, Zillow’s innovations are streamlining the way people search, tour, apply and pay rent for leased properties.

In addition to, Zillow operates the most popular suite of mobile real estate apps, with more than two dozen apps across all major platforms. Launched in 2006, Zillow is owned and operated by Zillow Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:Z and ZG) and headquartered in Seattle.

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1 Methodology: Zillow analyzed closed transactions in the United States in 2018 and 2019 where Zillow could match the sale to the listing description and the home’s Zestimate in the month before listing. The listing descriptions were checked for whether they mentioned each feature in the analysis, and then log-linear regression was used to estimate a percentage price difference in one analysis, and days on market difference in the other, as a function of: each home’s pre-listing Zestimate, quadratics of age and square footage, local ZIP and MSA-level home value trends, the time of year listed, and the presence of each of these 170+ features in their listing descriptions


For further information: Amanda Pendleton, Zillow,