COVID-19 has changed life as we know it in more ways than anyone ever would have imagined. We’re wearing masks every time we leave our houses, we’re socially distancing when seeing our family and friends, eating and exercising outdoors, and our theaters, music venues, and stadiums remain empty or very close to it. COVID-19 has also impacted the housing market and, specifically, what buyers are now looking for in their homes.
With people spending more time in their homes than ever before, they’re realizing they either love their homes or they don’t, and those that don’t either want to remodel if they want to stay or they want to move to a new home entirely. And thanks to COVID-19 and shelter-in-place/safer-at-home orders, the list of what buyers want looks quite different from what it looked like in the past.
The top priorities for buyers can be broken down into four basic categories: common spaces, separate spaces, organization and storage, and energy efficiency. If you’re a seller and your house meets these criteria, chances are you’re going to have a strong buyer pool interested in your house.
The trend for the past several years has been open-concept living with kitchens, dining areas, and family rooms all open in one big space. That trend is still popular, and that type of floor plan is still desired, however, the preference for both eat-in kitchen/great room dining and formal dining has resurfaced as well. The trend takes the great room concept to next level by emphasizing indoor-outdoor living. Buyers have fallen in love with the idea of their outdoor space being a seamless extension of their indoor space and they are delighted by full glass walls that recess into the wall and lead to patios and decks with multiple seating areas and fire pits that overlook useable backyards. Especially during COVID-19, these features rank very high on the priority list of what buyers want and will pay money to get.
While buyers are still enamored with great room spaces, COVID-19 has re-introduced the necessity for separate spaces as well. With everyone living, working, and learning at home a majority of the time, there is a new need for dual offices and multiple workstations with the ability to close doors for privacy and quiet during virtual meetings and classes.
Organization and Storage
After spending as much time at home as we all have recently, buyers have learned that they need functional places to organize and store their stuff. They no longer want to look at the clutter, they want to put it away in an organized fashion, so they do not have to see it day in and day out. As a result, laundry and mudrooms equipped with counters and cabinetry, cubbies, and utility sinks as well as walk-in pantries, walk-in closets, and garage storage have all become priorities in the search for a new home.
This is not a new-to-the-list category by any means because buyers have always valued energy efficiency; however, now that people are in their homes for more hours on a daily basis, their energy usage has increased, and now more than ever buyers are paying attention to the age and efficiency of appliances, furnaces, hot water heaters, and air conditioning units as well as smart features like triple pane windows, swamp coolers, and solar panels.
The Buyer Wish List is usually comprehensive and extremely specific, but it’s not a surprise to see these criteria make the cut. These features help buyers live more comfortably and enjoy their homes effusively, which is ultimately what everyone wants when they’re looking to buy a new home, regardless of whether we’re in a pandemic or not.