It used to be a real estate listing with “Jacuzzi tub” or “crystal chandelier” would draw a lot of eyeballs, leading to higher prices and a speedy sale. These days, a barn door might be the golden (or wooden) ticket.
According to a report released on Tuesday by Zillow Digs—the real estate site’s design and home improvement cousin—a sliding door might help a home fly off the market 57 days faster and fetch a 13.4 percent higher price than homes without it.
Scouring listing descriptions from 2.8 million condos and single-family homes sold across the country between January 2014 and March 2016, the study’s authors marked keywords from “craftsman” to “solar panel.” They controlled for the size, age, and location of homes, comparing, for example, listings of similarly aged and sized houses within the same county that included the keywords (“granite,” “crown molding”) with those that didn’t.
Then they created a statistical model to try to predict what a home with a pendant light or an outdoor kitchen might sell for, and how quickly, compared to homes without those attributes. The homes ranged in price from $20,000 (in many locations) to $88.3 million (in L.A.), and the median value was $232,000.
“I can get an idea of how Americans are valuing these different home features,” says Skylar Olsen, Zillow’s senior economist.
Olsen knows that having “barn door” in the listing alone doesn’t directly correlate to a higher price or a quicker sale. You can’t just slap a barn door on, or in, any old home and automatically, and dramatically, increase its value. “‘Causal relationship’ are strong words,” she says.
Instead, “Barn doors are a signal of a strong design sense. People that design homes or fix them up with barn doors might have their eyes toward other key design elements that people value, like a farmhouse sink or an open kitchen.”