Like the changes happening to every other part of our lives, COVID-19 is shifting the emphasis of what buyers are looking for in their next home. The pandemic has taught us that our own home is the safest place to be, which means a greater demand for a residence that can combine work, school, and recreation. Trust that this is true now, but you can also expect any or all of these needs to continue after the pandemic is over. Here are some details.
Unless the buyer is the type who is enthusiastic about launching a DIY project, fixer-uppers won’t be the first choice. Many people want a place that is already liveable. Further, it is harder now to find contractors available to schedule for home repair. Buyers also are trending away from open floor plans. They aren’t as desirable as they once were, especially for someone working at home while the rest of the family is there, too.
There is a huge surge of people working from home due to the pandemic. The need for a home office, or dual offices, is at the top of the list for many home buyers. They want a separate room of the house dedicated to conducting business or at least some space in a quiet corner with adequate electrical outlets for their technical setup. A great number of these people plan to work from home even after COVID-19 is contained, so this home buying trend should continue for years.
The kitchen has long been the heart of the home and during the pandemic, people are spending far more time preparing meals in their own space. Most buyers want a chef-friendly kitchen with upscale appliances, plenty of cupboard space, and long countertops. A big pantry is important for storing lots of food and non-perishables so grocery shopping trips can be less frequent. The ability to go to eat is curtailed with restaurants closed or offering limited carry-out menus. If your property has a great kitchen, emphasize it in your real estate listings.
Buyers are looking for home amenities to replace public places for recreation and backyard swimming pools have risen in popularity. The family can swim, play, and exercise in the comfort of their own property. If you have one, consider some upgrades, such as an automatic robot cleaner or LED lights, before putting the house on the market.
Space for a home gym has much the same appeal as a backyard pool. Buyers want to get a good workout without leaving home. COVID-19 has shuttered community centers and gymnasiums across the country because people don’t want to share equipment, locker rooms, or even the same air with others. Having a home gym is a big plus.
If your property boasts a home theater with an immersive experience, showcase it in your listing. Even if you don’t have a room dedicated to a theater, your family room or a finished basement may have great space for a large screen TV. Show buyers what they can expect.
A big yard has huge appeal during a quarantine as a replacement for public playgrounds and parks. They provide space for outdoor toys and room for the kids to play, along with plenty of fresh air. Many buyers are anxious to find an area to garden, both for recreation and for home-grown produce.
Rethinking Urban Life
For the past many years, homebuyers have chosen to live near their offices to keep commuting time down. They may have loved the restaurants and entertainment venues located downtown, but so many of those are closed or are operating at a reduced capacity. Now that so many individuals are working out of their residence, the suburbs are calling. People want to spend their work and playtime at home. They are seeking expanded square footage and want to live close to basic necessities, like grocery stores and pharmacies.
If you are selling your home and have any or all of these amenities, emphasize them in your listing and other marketing pieces. Use great photos and compelling verbiage. Make the most of what you have to get your home sold quickly and at a good price.