Home has taken on a new meaning and function this past year. It is no longer the place we return to after a long day at the office; it is the office, the classroom, the gym, and the relaxation zone. What are current homeowners and buyers looking for as they shop this fast-moving market with limited inventory?

When speaking with other agents in my area, I noticed a consistent pattern emerging. Most buyers still like the open floorplan but want it modified to include private, quiet spaces. For example, they want an office space off the kitchen, where doors can be closed during a Zoom meeting, but left open while quietly working to keep an eye on the kids. A guest room turned into a classroom, eliminating the clutter on the dining room table or kitchen island.

Another feature today’s buyers look for is a large pantry. As grocery shopping became online shopping, more storage space was required. Stocking up on food and paper goods with everyone at home more often, requires more space than before.

Top of the buyer requirement list is a full-sized laundry room. Not only does a designated walk-in laundry room provide space to stack laundry, it offers room for other items that might clutter another space in the home. Laundry rooms also provide sensible additional storage spaces for items purchased in bulk.

Walk-in closets, eat-in kitchens, and kid- and pet-friendly flooring are also important options that buyers are looking for.

Last, and maybe the most important, is the backyard. Until traveling resumes at full scale, buyers want an oasis in the backyard. When the workday is over, they want a luxurious and relaxing place to go without leaving home. Pools, spas, outdoor kitchens, fireplaces, game areas, and outdoor dining spaces all became more prevalent last year and will continue to remain on buyers’ list of wants.

Additionally, with fewer daily commutes, many buyers across the nation are looking for homes with land, or at least to live in quieter, rural communities.

It seems we have all had the opportunity to view and experience our homes in a different way during the pandemic. Organization and designated spaces have become an important factor. There’s no doubt the way we live in our homes has changed, and the demands on the housing market reflect that.

Marla Roberds founded her real estate career and business, Kissing Tree Properties, in 2017, as an investor doing restoration and remodeling.  She advises homeowners on their remodels and has flipped many projects of her own.

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