Does Your Home Have What Buyers Are Looking For?
As a result of the pandemic, what we do in our homes has changed dramatically for many people. Consequently, what buyers are looking for in a home has changed, too.
A Home Office
The option to work from home has become the new norm. Kate Lister, the president of Global Workplace Analytics, has forecasted that about 25% to 30% of the workforce will be working remotely, for several days a week, by the end of 2021. Gartner reports that 74% of companies plan to shift some of their employees to remote working permanently.* That means that a large percentage of home buyers will be looking for a home that either has a home office or has enough rooms to convert one to an office.
Some newer homes even have an office with a door to the outside so that clients can come directly there without walking through the house, and the person who works at home can come and go at will the same way. If you are not currently using a room in your home as an office, it would be wise to stage a spare room as though it could be used that way. For more information about staging home offices, see our article “How Working Remotely Is Changing Homebuyers’ Wish Lists.”
An Entertainment Room
For a while during the pandemic, we couldn’t look for entertainment anywhere but inside our own homes. Rather than spending money on going to movies or cultural events, people bought bigger televisions, installed sound systems, purchased sofas that recline, and signed up for streaming subscriptions. Although people are starting to go out more, a lot of us still prefer the safety and comfort of bringing entertainment into our homes.
Perhaps you have a “family room” that could be turned into a home theater with a large screen at one end and comfortable chairs that face that way for watching and listening rather than conversing. An overhead projector and speakers can turn anything you can get on your computer into a group entertainment experience. Accessories like a popcorn machine or movie posters will add to the appeal.
A Workout Room
When going to the gym stopped being an option, many exercise enthusiasts figured out where they could put equipment like a treadmill or a stationary bike in one room of their home. Weights, room for an exercise mat and a TV mounted on the wall made working out at home even more appealing.
Even though going back to the gym is becoming safer, many people have discovered the convenience of not having to go anywhere to get the exercise they need, especially during bad weather, when even walking outdoors isn’t an option. The potential of a room in your house becoming a workout room could be pointed out to buyers, even if you don’t currently exercise at home. Outdoor equipment like a basketball standard or a trampoline can also be a plus.
A Play Room
Even though older buyers’ children are grown, they will see the value of a room set aside for children or grandchildren to safely play without breaking anything. Toys and games that are stored there in plain sight in bins or on shelves can make it easier for children to entertain themselves while adults enjoy the quiet of another room designed for conversation. Picking-up also becomes easier. Some home owners have turned the space under the stairs into a playhouse-like nook for children.
A Great Room
Many older homes are divided up into more small rooms than are currently needed, such as an extra bedroom or a formal dining area. A remodel that adds value to your home could be achieved by taking down the walls between two or more of those rooms. The larger room could then become a combined kitchen, living room, dining area with enough space for an extended family or larger parties. Many new homes already have this feature. If you’re trying to sell an older home without a great room, this home improvement investment is a good one.
A Walk-In Closet
Walk-in closets are a feature in almost all new master bedrooms. However, in older homes closets for clothes may seem smaller than a prospective buyer needs. Some additional space can be gained by swapping closet doors that block part of the storage space view when opened with doors that recede into walls or slide over the adjoining wall with a “barn door” look. Closet organizers like upper and lower rods, shelves or bins can also add to the usefulness of the space.
A more pricey solution that may pay for itself when you sell is to knock out a wall between the master bedroom and an adjoining room, creating a larger master suite that includes a walk-in closet and more modern bathroom features, like a double sink, a Jacuzzi tub and a separate shower.
Low-Cost Updates & Home Staging Tips
Citywide’s experienced Construction Department is a smart choice for obtaining a short-term interim loan for financing the cost of a remodel that involves taking down walls, but if you don’t have the time for extensive changes before you sell, check out our articles on “Low-Cost Updates that Increase Home value,” and “Easy Home Staging Tips for Selling.” And remember, your real estate agent can point out all the possibilities that your home could offer, even if it doesn’t have them yet.