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How 2020 Changed What We Look for in a Home

Karene Garlich-Loman

Karene, a seasoned real estate professional with two decades of experience, is a true industry luminary...

Karene, a seasoned real estate professional with two decades of experience, is a true industry luminary...

Jan 18 5 minutes read

2020 left virtually nothing unchanged and the way that we view our homes and how we spend our time inside wasn’t spared. 

“Home” has always been a place to rest, a safe space, but now it’s so much more. From transforming into a local restaurant’s dining room, a gym, or an office there’s nothing “home” can’t do! 

If you’re like us, last year showed you what you love about your home and similarly what you may dislike about it. It also shaped what you’ll look for in future homes. Thousands of people feel the same way and because of this what we look for in a home was fundamentally changed by 2020. While the back-to-normal light at the end of the tunnel is near, some of the shifts in needs are likely to remain with us.

Our Home Needs to be “More”

While our hope is that life will go back to “normal” as soon as possible we have to be prepared if that time doesn’t come soon enough. For this reason, buyers are paying close attention to homes with plenty of space. Space in which you can work, learn, exercise, and enjoy the fresh air all from the confines of your home.
The largest group of home buyers right now are Millennials, many of which have young children and are drastically shaping home preference desires. This directly affects successful home sellers and the expectations for existing home sales. These days, homes offering some sort of home office or flex space sell faster, and for more money, period.
Now more than ever, smart sanitary appliances and conveniences are also on the watchlist. Touchless options for faucets, light switches, and door locks are not only convenient, but they also cut down on the transfer of direct contact germs. While certain viruses may pass, cold and flu season will certainly always be a concern. One unexpected preference change is the addition of a separate laundry room within the home. 91% of buyers desire an extra space to take care of their laundry, which as we know has likely increased due to virus sanitary suggestions.
Aside from the pressures of the global pandemic, mounting environmental changes have also taken focus for some buyers. For buyers with pets or allergies, they may be looking for homes with updated air purifying systems or filter systems.

Getting Things Done Online Applies to Home Buying and Selling (& More)

With technology becoming more important each day there has been a steep increase in “getting things done” online. From ordering groceries, to taking exercise classes - entire real estate transactions aren’t far behind. 

You can now complete most of your home buying or selling process online. Realtors are going as far as scheduling showings via Facetime appointments so that all you have to do is come along for the tour via a screen. This gives you the opportunity to see the house in real-time, with your Realtor by your side to answer any questions, all without having to leave the safety of your current home. 

Once you say yes to the house, you are able to sign paperwork via encrypted e-forms and wrap up the process all from your computer. You only have to step out to grab your keys and start the move-in process.

Beyond the actual transaction, having a connected home is also more important than ever. Folks are investing in routers and signal boosters for their home so that they can continue to stay connected digitally. From binging the latest Netflix craze to ordering take out from an app and working out online, wifi and our connection speed is tasked with a much higher load today than ever before. Many people look for smart home technology within the home such as a video doorbell, app-enabled lights and appliances, and smart thermostats.

The Meaning of “Location, Location, Location” Has Changed

The suburbs are making a huge comeback. No longer are buyers laser-focused on big city conveniences that once provided the proximity of dining, shopping, and entertainment, all within a certain mile radius.

Now that remote life has taken hold of many households, buyers are more apt to search for homes in the burbs or elsewhere. When “work from home” became the movement of 2020, location ideals also shifted with it.

For city dwellers who once paid a hefty price to live in a small space, this was no longer desirable. 

In addition, the virus affected businesses big and small, causing “52 percent of people ages 18 to 29” to move back home as financial circumstances no longer afforded them a spot in the city. 

This isn’t to say many haven’t remained in popular metropolitan areas but there are far more retreating to areas outside city limits.  

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