COVID Has Resulted in a New Wish List for Homebuyers

The pandemic has affected all aspects of real estate, including what buyers are looking for in a new home. After all, social distancing has kept us at home, giving us much to reconsider about our space.

What does this mean? Well, for some, it means the very things they thought they wanted in their dream home are becoming a bit of a nightmare now that some are home 24/7. Case in point: A recent Wall Street Journal article reported that some homeowners have had it with the all-white kitchen. As it turns out, a white kitchen is harder to keep clean, plus many want a little more color in their decor.

Now, if you’re an investor looking to rent or sell a property, this is not to say you should scrap that kitchen reno with the beautiful white marble countertops. But there are some home features and amenities you should consider in the era of social distancing.

The evolution of home design

A recent article in Boston Magazine reported that travelers might see more streamlined hotel rooms in the future — think fewer surfaces and trim, making it easier to keep things clean. What’s more is that what’s good for life on the road is also a good move for home decor. Property investors may want to consider the following:

Skip the carpet. Carpets are breeding grounds for dirt and germs. Homebuyers will want to see easy-to-clean surfaces they can disinfect upon moving in. If you opt for hardwood floors instead of wall-to-wall carpeting, you’ll be a hit with buyers, especially those who have pets.

Hang washable wall coverings. Yes, wallpaper has indeed made a comeback. If you’re planning to hang some in your property, make sure it’s the washable kind. Choose designs that have a thin coating covering the paper so it can be wiped down with a dampened cloth.

Install soundproofing. Soundproofing isn’t just for home theaters. It’s now the perfect invisible improvement to the walls and floors of homes where children are learning while parents are on Zoom calls for work. Speaking of which…

Add a Zoom room. Open-concept floor plans are wonderful for entertaining but not so much when residents need privacy for working. If you can’t create a Zoom room with a door that closes, a designated space for uninterrupted conference calls would be a good thing to include in your home staging.

Rethink entrances. A grand foyer can wow guests, but what about the residents who simply want to get in, take off their shoes, and scrub off the outdoor dirt and germs? A secondary entrance, be it on the side, in the back, or from the garage, will make a hit with homeowners who are eager to keep their homes neat and sanitary. Bonus points for mudrooms, especially those that have a sink for handwashing before entering the main part of the home.

Nix the crown moulding. This suggestion might offend some of the HGTV crowd who love a good aesthetic. But room details like this just add more dust and places for germs to hang out.

Opt for simpler door hardware. Many of us (the writer included) are fanatical about wiping down high-touch areas like door knobs and handles. In keeping with the germ-free approach, homebuyers will appreciate simple, smoother hardware on doors and cabinets that won’t trap dirt and germs. Even better? Choose hardware with an antimicrobial coating for peace of mind.

The bottom line

We have all been spending much more time at home than we ever expected. And while distribution of a vaccine has commenced, it will be some time before the general population has access to it. Until then, we will be socially distancing at home. These features and upgrades will be a hit in your own home as well as with homebuyers looking to keep spaces clean and organized.