There’s no question that the pandemic that started in 2020 has changed a great deal about the way that people work, play and live – and that’s also carried over to the way that they think when they’re buying a new home.

Record-low interest rates on mortgages and a lack of readily available properties created some intense competition among buyers over the last two years, but the market has begun to experience a bit of a correction. That doesn’t mean, however, that it’s a bad time to sell. It just means being more conscious of what your home has to offer potential buyers and where your property ranks on the “most wanted” list when it comes to its amenities.

So, what are buyers looking for in a home right now? Whether you’re just evaluating what renovations you may want to make for the future or you’re actually trying to figure out realistic pricing for your sale, here are the basics:

Updated Kitchens and Bathrooms

There’s nothing that will make a home look more dated (read: “old”) than a kitchen or bathroom that clearly has seen better days. If you live in a vintage or historical home, you may be interested in keeping the original style intact while adding a few modern touches – but everybody else should consider an overhaul.

It’s important to realize, however, that kitchens and bathrooms are also expensive to upgrade, so these are projects you should only take on after a careful cost-benefit analysis and a good look at your budget.

Energy Efficiency and Electrical Upgrades

We live in a modern world, so even the most charming home can lose its quant appeal if it isn’t wireless-ready and able to support all the modern electronics people use every single day.

That means upgrading your rooms so that they’re ready for wireless connectivity to the internet and making sure that your electrical box and outlets are fully updated. If your home has “dead spots,” you may want to address those with an internet booster.
While you’re at it, you may want to consider swapping out old appliances for energy-efficient ones. Your old water heater, furnace, A/C unit, stove and fridge can all be energy drains that could turn cost-conscious or environmentally focused buyers off. It also never hurts your bottom line (or wallet) to invest in bigger upgrades, like new energy-efficient windows all over or even an electric vehicle charger in the garage.

Dedicated Laundry Rooms and More Storage Space

Gone are the days when the basement corner could double as a “laundry.” These days, folks are all about functionality. A dedicated laundry room is on the “most wanted” list of about 91% of buyers. That may not seem like a big deal, but parents want a place where they can tuck the mess out of sight when they’re busy. Converting a large closet or mud room into a walk-in laundry room could be a cheap remodel that will add tons of interest and value to your home.

You also want to look for ways to add additional storage space to your home – because people are always wanting more storage. Typically, you can convert unused space in the garage, attic or basement into simple storage compartments that homebuyers can immediately envision filling with their own things. A walk-in pantry, if it’s in the budget, is also a big attraction.

Exterior Lighting, Patios and Garden Space

You know how chefs always say that you “eat with your eyes” before you ever taste the food? That’s very similar to how potential buyers approach a home that’s for sale. The need to attend to your home’s curb appeal hasn’t changed much because of the pandemic. (If anything, the fact that people are spending more time at home has made the home’s exterior even more important than ever.)

Exterior lighting can make your home really stand out. It adds to the overall attractiveness, becomes an additional security feature and makes those outdoor spaces much more functional – for a relatively small cost.

Patios are also becoming more important, especially since people are entertaining more at home. Adding a patio (and a firepit, if you can afford it) can really help people easily picture lazy evenings and weekend afternoons in your home. A well-tended garden can also add beauty to your home – and please the environmentally conscious. (Plain grass lawns are “out,” while hanging gardens and turning the outdoor spaces into a private oasis is definitely “in.”)

If you’re thinking about renovations before an upcoming sale, it’s probably better to focus on small, cosmetic upgrades that will give you better “bang for the buck.” Big renovations are increasingly expensive as the cost of building materials continue to rise, so that means you’re unlikely to recoup everything you spend in a sale.

What Are the Key Things to Remember?

Homebuyers are looking more at properties that are ready to be occupied, without a lot of major renovations on their part. This is particularly true as we move into the holiday season when home sales tend to decline.

If you’re planning on living in your home for a while and are just thinking about future resale values, it’s always to your benefit to move with the times. Not only can the right renovations add value to your home’s resale value, but it can also make living in your home much more comfortable and convenient.

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