The Market Is Moving. What Are Buyers Looking for In Their Next Homes?

For many people, spending more time at home over the past few months has provided a chance to think long and hard about what they truly want from their next space.

As a result, homebuyers are looking at housing “with a whole new set of eyes,” writes George Ratiu, Senior Economist with®.

So, as we move forward, what features and updates will buyers be looking for as they kick off their home search?

Recently,® conducted a survey of 1,300 consumers looking for a home to determine what features they want in their next space — as well as all the ways that sheltering in-place has changed their current lifestyle and how they view their living conditions.

Consumer preferences and buyer behavior are already evolving, Ratiu notes, with prospective buyers beginning to look for “larger homes, bigger yards, access to the outdoors and more separation from neighbors.” 

What Features Are Homebuyers Looking for in Their Next Properties?

Staying at home has caused renters and homeowners alike to start feeling a bit cooped up — and it’s made having more space a high priority. 

When asked about the features that they most want in their next home, “more space in the house” ranked as the top choice in the® survey, with 15.7 percent of respondents calling it a “must-have.” 

Following closely behind, 13.6 percent of respondents ranked “more and better outdoor space” as a must-have, while 13.3 percent expressed a desire for an updated kitchen. In addition, many survey respondents are clearly thinking about the challenges of working from home, with 12.5 percent saying that they’re looking for better technology in their next space, such as faster WiFi and smart home features.

What Do People Love About Their Current Homes, and What Do They Want to Change?

For many of us, our homes have been serving as schools, offices, playgrounds, and getaways over the past few months. And while this can be a great way to gain a renewed appreciation for home and all that it truly means, it can also highlight some common challenges and limitations. 

When asked about what they would change in their current home, nearly one in five survey respondents expressed a need for more space. Interestingly, people also said that they wished that they could add new rooms to their current space. 11.3 percent said that they would want to add a home gym, and roughly 5 percent said that they would want to add a home office. Meanwhile, people also expressed a strong desire for more natural light, updated aesthetics, and a yard or patio space.

Changing Priorities for a Changing Lifestyle

As Tara Hipwood, a lecturer in architecture at Northumbria University, recently put it: 

“The experience of lockdown will, no doubt, have a lasting effect on us all. And many will be rethinking the kind of life they want to live post-pandemic, along with the role their homes could play in this.”

During our state’s “Shelter-At-Home” order, people across Chicagoland have started looking for new ways to make the most of their time at home. 

As the® survey reveals, this time at home has come with some significant lifestyle benefits — and many people will want to carry these changes forward whenever and wherever they move next. 

Among the best aspects of sheltering in place? 17.9 percent of survey respondents noted that this has given them more time to spend with family. Staying close to home has also allowed people to maximize their free time, with 12.8 percent of respondents enjoying the fact that they have “no commute,” 13.9 percent saying that they like not having to shower and get dressed for work, and 12.1 percent noting that they’ve had more time to pick up a new hobby or pursuit. 

Many homebuyers may be looking for space where they can continue working from home in the future, along with room to continue their new hobbies and make the most of their downtime. 

And when it comes to all things DIY? Many homebuyers have been enjoying the opportunity to work on their home, and may look for projects in whatever space they move into next. Nearly a third of respondents (31.8 percent) said that they have taken on home improvement projects recently, including activities like gardening and painting, which should be easy to carry into their next home. 

Ready to Start the Search? We’re Here to Make It Easier

While it’s hardly business as usual, we know that the Chicagoland real estate market is still strong. The market is moving — and if you’re ready, you can too. 

During this extraordinary time, the professionals at Baird & Warner, Key Mortgage, and Baird & Warner Title Services are here to help homebuyers and sellers achieve their biggest real estate goals, while making the process easier at every step of the way. 

Please rest assured that while we are instituting the CDC’s health safety and prevention protocols across all our businesses and office locations, we are still operational and ready to continue serving you. 

Whether you’re buying or selling, your Baird & Warner agent can help you make the most of virtual open houses and tours, so you can continue to pursue your real estate goals from the comfort and safety of home. At this time, real estate brokers can also show homes in person, with safeguards in place to ensure the health and safety of every buyer and seller. 

Along the way, our one-stop shop will work together to give you an easier experience from beginning to end. Just starting out? Your Key Mortgage loan officer can help you get an airtight preapproval, so you can move forward with peace of mind. Think you’ve found the right house? Baird & Warner Title Services will do what it takes to help you make an offer and close with confidence, with some of the first 100% contactless and remote closing options in the state.

At Baird & Warner, 165 years of history have taught us how to overcome even the most adverse conditions. We’re by your side — no matter what.

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