If you were to poll homebuyers two years ago about what they were looking for in their next pad, some of the top answers might have been proximity to top restaurants and nightlife, a close commute to work, and material upgrades like sleek stainless-steel appliances and marble countertops.
Ask that same question today, more than one year into a global pandemic that has upended the way we all live and work, and you’re bound to get a set of different answers. So, what do homebuyers in 2021 have in mind? Here’s a quick look at how homebuyers’ priorities have changed since COVID-19.
Dedicated home offices are no longer just a luxury
Telecommuting is a practice that has been on the rise for years, but with most industries pivoting to a work-from-home model due to COVID-19 restrictions, it’s likely to become more of a permanent fixture in the future. Many of the businesses who made this shift recognized that after working through a few early kinks, having a fully remote staff was a viable option because it enabled the business to remain effective despite the physical distance. As employees, we quickly learned that makeshift offices on the kitchen table weren’t good long-term solutions and that a dedicated office with proper space and amenities was needed. That’s something home shoppers won’t forget as they search for their next place, eliminating options that lack that extra bedroom or den that can double as a home office.
2. Privacy is paramount
We all need a little time to ourselves, and that’s something that COVID-19 made very clear. Between telecommuting, kids homeschooling and working out at home (more on that later), our houses have never felt more lived in. Knowing that home sweet home has turned into Grand Central Station, new homebuyers will be looking for ways to make things a little more private for all parties. This could be anything from separate bedrooms for kids who were once sharing to large master bathrooms outfitted with a soaking tub—and a door that locks.
3. Greenspaces are good for the soul
We don’t often realize how badly we want something until we can’t have it, which is why it took a lockdown for us to remember how much we love simply being outside. Tree-clad yards once thought to be bothersome are now rightfully viewed as respites with potential homeowners looking for greenspaces where they can spend their time safely outdoors. Outdoor entertaining and dining spaces are getting updates, with grills and smokers and fire pits becoming more popular as gathering areas. In addition, they want a yard where their pets—a popular pandemic purchase—can play and stretch their legs.
4. Energy efficiency is more important than ever
In complying with shelter-in-place orders, most of us learned very early in the pandemic that staying home had some consequences we weren’t expecting. Not only did grocery bills soar as a result of restaurants closing, but so did utility bills since spending more time at home meant more consumption of electricity, water and gas. Those seeking out their next home may be more inclined to focus on energy efficiency, specifically looking for ways to reduce their own carbon footprint to both help the environment and their wallets.
5. Get fit without going out
Unfortunately, many of us dealt with the stress of the pandemic by turning to food. With the gyms closed for months, the result was weight gain that left us feeling unhealthy and sluggish. Even as the gyms opened up, some people still didn’t feel comfortable working out so close to others. That’s why we believe that a lot of new homebuyers will be prioritizing a home gym in their next place. Even if it’s just a spot to keep a treadmill or exercise bike and a few dumbbells, having somewhere reserved for fitness will be essential for many homebuyers moving forward.
All homebuyers have their own preferences, but based on what our buyers are telling us, these are some of the top themes rising to the top. Best of luck in your next house hunt!