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  • Brandon Alfriend

How the Pandemic Has Changed What We Are Looking for in the Perfect Home

2020 has been a strange, difficult, different year for all of us, all over the world. This situation pushes you to make changes, not just in lifestyle, but in other areas of your life, like work or even the home you live in. Our priorities and way of life have shifted significantly, and if there’s anything this period has taught us, it’s the importance of home, of comfort, and enjoying being at home.

It’s no wonder that what we look for in a home has also changed. From location to size and the features we expect to see in a property, the perfect home has to meet all our new needs and new-found priorities.

Escaping To The Suburbs

If there’s one thing the pandemic has highlighted, it’s the fact that people are no longer willing to live in overcrowded cities. Once a highly coveted real estate location, downtown has lost its appeal in favor of the much less glamorous suburbs.

This move has been massive, unavoidable, and has happened for a few reasons. First of all, the pandemic has put into focus the everyday reality of living in close proximity to hundreds of other people and how that has made life inconvenient – and even dangerous – this year, so COVID-19 has been a big reason for the move.

But a lot of other things were already bubbling under the surface. The lack of affordable housing in cities is infamous, as is the lack of space. So, it makes sense to take that money and maximize its buying power elsewhere. Combined with the newly remote working status of a majority of office workers, proximity to work is no longer a concern, and people can safely move to the suburbs. If that reasoning sounds familiar, you’re not alone.

Space & Functionality Are Non-Negotiable

The other elephant in the room was the need for a bigger, but multi-functional space. Since the pandemic has pushed a major lifestyle change on everyone, we’ve had to adjust to a new environment. With all the different activities people were suddenly faced with doing at home, there was a need for a space that meets a lot of different requirements.

  • A home office

One of the major things buyers are looking for in a new home is an office. It makes sense, with the large wave of remote employees, everyone needed this dedicated space. And judging by the looks of it, this change is here to stay. Thousands of companies are offering their employees indefinite remote work, and some have even given up on their offices entirely.

Maybe you’re only going in two days a week or you’re home permanently, but either way, that means that this change is having a big long-term impact on the type of house you are looking for now. A lack of home office can be a deal-breaker for the remote worker who needs a quiet, secure space they can use to separate their work life from their home life.

  • A home gym

With the gyms closed all over the country, people were in need of an alternative way to exercise and keep busy. You may have invested in at-home exercise equipment, in an effort to remain active. The only problem is that exercise equipment is large and cumbersome, and not many homes have enough space to accommodate physical activity. Thus, people have started looking for larger homes, and that’s a trend that’s here to stay.

A Need For Reliable Features

This lifestyle overhaul has also meant that buyers are in need of different amenities and features in their homes, some of which are non-negotiable.

  • Strong Wi-Fi

With everyone settling into long-term remote work, one major feature has become a priority for buyers: Wi-Fi. Perhaps overlooked before, this utility has suddenly become essential for all work-related activities, especially long or frequent virtual meetings.

Weak or spotty Wi-Fi connections can be a deal-breaker for a lot of people, who are now looking into coverage for the area and providers more than ever before. An area with good internet is guaranteed to be more desirable and fetch higher prices than comparatively weaker areas.

  • Smart tech

With everyone spending so much time at home, comfort and convenience are no longer optional. Smart technology has been on the rise for several years, with an ever-growing segment of buyers prioritizing it when searching for homes, and even paying extra for the convenience of a home equipped with smart technology.

The market is trending strongly in favor of smart tech for the upcoming years, with smart speakers, smart thermostats, smart doorbells being at the top of buyers’ list of demands. Security is a particularly big concern and smart tech helps strengthen and streamline the systems people have in place.

Focusing On The Outdoors

More than ever before, people have been starved for the outside. With public places being dangerous and largely avoided, it’s become even more important to have your own small patch of land.

  • A large backyard

A backyard is high on the list of priorities for buyers, not just in 2020-2021, but for the upcoming years, as well. This is a long-term trend, with people valuing backyards, front yards, porches, patios, and terraces. Buyers are demanding homes with large backyards that accommodate features and activities, from grilling to gardening or simple sunbathing.

  • Outdoor entertainment areas

When your only option is to stay home, then you create your own entertainment. And when the only safe way to entertain is outdoors, you make that a feature of your home. Outdoor living and entertaining is a major trend, with lots of homeowners investing backyard renovations to include outdoor kitchens, lounging areas, dining areas, or fire pits. Suburb entertaining is about to become huge, especially for the people who’ve recently moved away from the city.

  • Kids’ activities

Virtual school and keeping kids indoors has been challenging for families in many ways, not least of which was the fact that children had nowhere to run around and expend energy. That’s why families who are looking for new homes are prioritizing yards that feature kids’ activities or have enough space to integrate toys and activities for kids.

Swing sets, pools, or sand boxes are just some of the features parents have been looking for and that they expect to see in a backyard in order to ensure their children’s safety and entertainment at home.

Final thoughts

No one could have foreseen the events of 2020, but its impact is obvious in every aspect of our lives. The pandemic has led to a revolution for real estate and home buying habits and priorities. If your lifestyle and needs have changed this year, don’t worry – so have the lives and needs of millions of other people.

It’s no wonder we’re all looking for different things in the homes we buy. Whether it’s more space for a home office or virtual school, moving far away from the city, or looking for a big backyard to entertain in, these changes are here to stay, and the real estate market is adapting to the new normal.

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