Like other aspects of our lives over the past year, selling a home has changed. The home has become the office, the school, the gym, the staycation. Buyers are looking for specific features to meet their needs to work, learn, and play at home.
While features like a home office, finished basement, or a swimming pool used to be “nice to haves” now they are seen as essentials. Buyers used to prefer the open floor plan for leisure and entertaining, but the traditional floor plan with enclosed spaces is making a comeback. Household members seek quiet, private spaces for ZOOM meetings, continuous conference calls, and remote learning.
A recent survey by the National Association of Realtors identified the home office as the most important feature for today’s buyers (1). In most cases, 2 home offices are desired, since most buyers are dual income earners. New home builders nationwide are modifying floor plans to accommodate multiple workspaces and “home management centers” with sound proofing and extensive lighting features (2).
Exterior property features that offer privacy and room for outdoor work/play/exercise spaces have become very important to today’s buyers (3). The National Kitchen and Bath Association identified a 65% increase in outdoor living projects such as patios, decks, 3 season sunrooms, fire pits, and privacy fences. A recent study by Homes.com cited large and plentiful windows as a top feature sought by buyers, especially with people spending all their time at home (4). A recent survey conducted by Finance Buzz found that 27% of buyers would be motivated to move for a larger yard or more outdoor space. (5)
If your property checks all these boxes, you are in luck! If your property lacks these features, what can you do, short of a major renovation to position your home to sell?
Convert a pantry or oversized double closet into a home office with built in bookcase or drop-down hinged desk.
Utilize a large second floor landing or loft as a remote learning space with a small desk.
Stage a guest bedroom or an oversized laundry room as a home office.
Install a wi-fi booster in a room that is furthest from the main internet modem to increase internet speed and reliability for a minimal cost.
Add electric baseboard heating with a separate thermostat to an enclosed porch to create an all season staycation area or home gym.
Add non-load bearing partitions in a finished basement to provide study areas or exercise rooms.
Remove all window treatments to maximize natural light.
Paint exterior window trim white.
Add an outdoor pergola, an easy DIY project that can be completed in a weekend.
Build your own fire pit with paver block.
Create an outdoor exercise area with pea gravel.
Plant fast growing shrubbery such as white pine or arborvitae to increase outdoor privacy and resale value 5-15%. (6)
Install touchless faucets and keyless entry locks, to satisfy buyers’ growing concern with hygiene and disease prevention. (7)