by TERRI WILLIAMS | November 15, 2020
You know by now that the pandemic has prompted homeowners to reevaluate what they consider to be important in their homes. This applies to the scores of buyers out there, too.
Demand for obvious quarantine-friendly amenities—home office space, outdoor living space, and additional space in general—is soaring. Even before the pandemic, an industry report from Brown Jordan Outdoor Kitchens found that 63.7 percent of designers surveyed by the American Society of Interior Designers saw rising interest in outdoor living spaces among their clients, notes interior designer, builder, and architect Phil Kean of Phil Kean Design Group in Winter Park, Fla.
He also explains that homeowners no longer want kitchens or living areas to serve double duty as home offices. Instead, separate rooms to work in are at the top of buyers’ lists. John Romito, the founder of Heart & Home Real Estate in Eugene, Ore., agrees, adding that “most prospective homebuyers are looking for homes that include a dedicated home office space, as opposed to repurposing a bedroom or basement/attic.”
So aside from the two biggies, what features are wowing buyers and surging in demand? Ahead, real estate experts share the other, more unexpected kinds of home additions buyers are seeking right now.
A package room
If you’re like me, you’re probably spending waaaaay too much time ordering packages from Amazon and other online retailers. The thing is, it’d be great to have somewhere to sort and open them.
“More and more luxury homes are creating dedicated spaces to receive packages, as homeowners continue to rely on Amazon, grocery delivery services, and more for everyday essentials,” Kean says. “Many are feeling a sense of chaos in their lives, especially with the constant shuffle of boxes and other deliveries, and having a set space to organize and unpack can create a sense of control and reign in the cardboard clutter.”
So where are homeowners putting their Amazon rooms? Kean says they can often be an extension of the mudroom, serving to bridge the outdoors to the kitchen and the home’s other living spaces.
A powder room
Social distancing should be practiced when guests must enter your home, and it’s imperative to keep surfaces clean in the spaces where they do spend time. “A powder room for guests to use when they visit helps enforce socially distant barriers between the resident and guest,” says Deborah Berke, architect and partner at Deborah Berke Partners in New York, N.Y. A powder room, also known as a half-bathroom, is the perfect place for guests to wash up and use the bathroom, while you can use your own full bathroom in another part of the house.
A home theater or playroom
The pandemic has also halted a lot of fun activities, such as going to the movies and taking the kids to the park. This is true even if you left the big city for the ‘burbs. But there’s a Plan B.
“Once a popular trend, theater rooms are making a comeback as a source of at-home entertainment for friends and family,” Kean says. “While streaming movies and television shows at home is easier than ever, families are seeking a way to create experiences at home and unite the whole family for movie night again, complete with rows of lounger chairs, LED lighting along the floor, and blankets and pillows.”
Both kids and adults also need somewhere to expend energy. “Homeowners are designating a play space—especially during fall months—to keep both kids and parents happy,” says Berke.
So, what should it include? Depending on the age group, she recommends a pool table, a ping pong table, a foosball table, or a dart board.
Romito believes that buyers appreciate spaces along these lines. “Spaces for media rooms where kids can watch TV or play video games are on the rise, and once again, social distancing measures are driving the demand, since playdates have become less fashionable.”
An at-home salon
Not everyone can resist getting their hair cut or colored during the pandemic. However, going to a barber shop or salon adds an extra level of risk, so a small group of buyers is requesting one very unique amenity.
“Select homeowners are installing private salon spaces to receive hairdressers, manicurists, and more from the comfort of their own homes,” says Kean. “For those who find it difficult to unwind in public spaces, or who are avoiding them all together in the current environment, home salons can provide a private refuge, with dedicated space for spa-like, concierge services.”
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Amy Booth, REALTOR
Elite Real Estate Professionals