The whole world is looking through a new lens when it comes to living after the COVID-19 pandemic hit. This is also true for the housing market. COVID-19 has changed buyers’ perspectives on what community they want to live in and their must-have features.
According to Zillow’s Group Consumer Housing Trends Report neighborhood characteristics have become very important. The data shows that location is still the number one for most buyers. When it comes to a safe neighborhood 82% of buyers find this important while 60% want to be able to walk in their neighborhood. Over half the buyers (53%) want to be close to shopping, services and leisure activities while 52% want to have a short commute to work or school. Forty-eight percent of buyers say it is important to have a friendly community while 46% want to be close to family and friends. Forty-three percent still want to be in a preferred school district.
Buyers still want a good deal and affordability is still important. Although housing prices have increased, low-interest rates still make purchasing a home very attractive. Below are the top twelve amenities and features today’s homebuyers must-have.
1. Updated Kitchens and Baths
These two areas in a home are where most homeowners spend a good majority of their time. This makes the kitchen and bathroom top priorities when looking for a home. According to a recent survey conducted by the Metropolitan Regional Information Systems Inc., 81% of respondents pointed to updated kitchens and baths as the most important feature when deciding whether or not to buy a home.
2. Open Floor Plans
Open space can function in more ways than walled-in defined rooms. During the COVID pandemic, stay-at-home orders made us use our homes for work, play and school. An open floor plan is easy to change when it comes to functionality. Open floor plans are great for entertaining because of the large open areas.
3. Air Conditioning
In some areas in the country, central AC is not in all homes. During the pandemic, those staying at home, whether in warm climates or cooler climates, wanted air conditioning in their homes. Having a central system in your home helps maintain and control your home’s environment.
4. Energy Efficiency
Now more than ever utility bills are on the forefront of most homeowner’s minds. When under stay-at-home orders our homes were lived in 24/7 using utilities more often raising the bills. Buyers are searching for homes that are energy efficient with items such as energy-efficient windows, insulation, heating systems and solar panels. These will help keep utility costs more affordable.
5. Low Maintenance Features
Just like energy efficiency, buyers are looking for a low-maintenance home. Examples are countertops in the kitchen that resists stains or hardwood flooring instead of carpeting. The upkeep of these features is less expensive.
Tech-friendly homes this day in age are a must. More and more people are working from home. Homeowners need a dependable Wi_fi connection and good cell service.
7. Curb Appeal
This has always been a must when it comes to residential real estate. When selling a home, curb appeal makes the first impression. Landscaping, a new front door, new stonework or outdoor lighting can enhance your exterior home appeal.
8. Bringing the Outdoors In
Buyers are looking for the areas now more than ever. Open porches, stone patios with grills and outdoor furniture are perfect examples.
9. Laundry Rooms
Laundry can pile up and a laundry room is a nice area where you can keep your dirty laundry behind closed doors. Some buyers like a first-floor laundry room while others want a laundry room on the second floor to not have to carry it up the stairs.
10. Garage Area That Can Work as Storage
Clutter can pile up fast especially when you are at the house so much during the pandemic. If you have space in your garage for storage this is a big selling factor to buyers.
11. Walk-In Pantry
The COVID-19 stay-at-home orders closed down restaurants and having the space to store large quantities got many through the pandemic. Going to the grocery store more frequently is not something today’s buyers want to do. Many shops at Costco or Sams where large quantities are sold.
12. General Suitability
A buyer loves a clean slate to move into. Neutral colors are a great way to give a homebuyer a clean slate. Other popular features are high ceilings for airflow and tons of natural light.
When it comes to buying a home, you might not find a home with everything on your wish list, but you can prioritize what is most important to you. Using a Realtor can help you through the buying process and help you find the right fit for you and your family.