5 Ways the Coronavirus Pandemic Has Changed What Buyers Want in Their Homes

Dated: December 7 2020

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There's no doubt that our lives have been radically changed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It has affected the way we do work, school, travel, how we socialize, and more. Moreover, being confined in our homes for more than a month has made us see it in a new light. We’re getting to know what features don’t work for us, and what will be beneficial for our families if we are ordered to stay at home for longer. After all, there’s nothing more important than having a safe shelter for our families.

This is why experts predict that home buyers who enter the market once the risk of the virus subsides will have a whole new set of priorities in their home search. Fixer uppers won't be the first choice since contractors may not be available to work, unless you’re the type who can fully DIY. Likewise, an open floor plan may not be desirable as it once was, especially if you’re working at home with your partner while homeschooling the kids. 

Here are five ways the current health crisis has changed future buyers’ must-have list:

As more and more people are embracing remote work to help curb the spread of the virus, there'll be higher demand for homes with an office that’s both comfortable and functional to promote productivity. According to Realtor.com, listings featuring an office command a more than 3 percent price premium and sell 9 days faster than listings without the feature. 

So whether it’s a full-fledged room or just a dedicated work area with ample electrical outlets, space for computer and other office necessities, built-in bookshelves, or a quiet atmosphere, highlight those characteristics when listing your home for sale. 

For smaller homes that couldn’t accommodate a full office, there are ways to make your home shine in the eyes of potential buyers. Popular alternatives may include carving out an office space in the kitchen, an upstairs landing, or underneath the staircase.

Before this health crisis, most people didn't put much thought into how they entered their homes. But because of the fear of bringing the virus into our private spaces, having a mudroom or a dedicated entryway has never been more important. It’s the perfect place where you could stash your dirty shoes, hang up your jackets, clothing, gloves and masks, and other belongings for disinfection. It can also be a decontamination station for potentially infected packages, reusable grocery bags, and even takeout bags to avoid carrying dirt and viruses into your living quarters. 

If there’s no mudroom or entryway, an easy solution would be a dedicated place in the garage or on the front porch. You can install a pegboard wall where you can add hooks, shelves, and storage bins to hold sanitizers, disinfectant wipes, and other cleaning supplies. Adding a bench or a seating area with cubbies will also be more appealing since more people may now start removing their shoes as they enter the house.

Kitchens are the heart of the home. And with the virus eliminating our ability to go out to eat at restaurants and even limiting our takeout options, we're becoming more acquainted with our kitchens as we prepare and cook several meals a day. This is why it’s expected that future homeowners will have more interest toward kitchens that are spacious enough for the family to cook and hang out together. They should also be equipped with high-quality and efficient appliances, such as refrigerators and ovens.

Likewise, a bigger pantry will be critical for storing more food and non-perishables so people can cut back on the number of grocery store trips they have to make.

The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that the safest place we could be is in our homes. And that includes our outdoor living spaces, where we can have some fresh air and bask in sunlight without leaving our properties.

This is why more people will want to buy a home with extra yard space. In fact, in the latest survey of Realtor.com® and Toluna Insights on what homeowners wish they could change about their home to make it more livable while sheltering in, 9% of respondents wanted to add a yard or patio. Having plenty of outdoor space is also ideal for those who want to start a small garden and try their hand at urban gardening. Even a small balcony in condos or townhomes can also be a huge advantage. No matter the size of the property, buyers would want an outdoor space where they can take a much-needed mental break, especially in times like these where we are being ordered to stay home or undergo quarantine.

Future homeowners will certainly keep the lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic in mind when searching for homes. If a family member has caught the virus and needs to self-isolate, sharing a bathroom with other family members could be dangerous. Having an additional bathroom or requiring one bathroom for every bedroom is now critical to keep germs in one place.

And just like after the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, even a half-bathroom, which was once considered a waste of space, is now a necessity. It's where you can direct visitors to wash their hands first before walking further into the home, or if they need to use the loo but you don’t want them using the family bathroom.

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Carmen Johnson

Co Owner of the Red Door Team Carmen has been born and raised in Snohomish. Is married, owns a home in downtown, has a Goldendoodle and is expecting her first child in April! Loves spending time with....

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