ROCKFORD — Home is not only where the heart is, it’s also where the office is for millions of Americans who continue to work remotely more than two years into the coronavirus pandemic.
The pandemic has altered the wants and needs of homeowners and buyers, according to realtor John Broda, with eXp Realty, who said a designated office space in the home has become an essential amenity.
“I just had a client who moved here from Texas and they closed on their property up in Roscoe,” Broda said. “What sold it for them was the husband has always worked from home and once his children started doing remote learning, he wanted a designated space where he could work and have the privacy he needs to do his job. But, also, when he’s done for the day he doesn’t have to pack everything up and put it away somewhere. It’s a designated work space.”
Other post-pandemic wants, according to Broda, include spas within homes, multiple kitchens, spruced up laundry rooms and expanded outdoor living areas.
“People want to have that flexibility,” he said. “They don’t want to be just packed into one space with the whole family all of the time. I believe COVID made people think ‘What do I really use in a house and what do I really want in a house?’”
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As the home continues to serve as the epicenter of remote workers’ existence, a growing number of homeowners are renovating their dwellings to meet their evolving needs.
A recent survey by the real estate marketplace company Zillow found that nearly three in four homeowners are considering at least one improvement project in 2022. The most popular was adding or improving a home office space, followed by finishing a basement or an attic, and adding a room.
“Ever since COVID, we’re seeing a lot more people that are looking for that fourth bedroom that can be turned into an office or even a classroom just in case the kids have to go back to remote learning,” said realtor Tyler Ragan, with Dickerson Nieman Realtors. “The other big thing I see now is people are putting more money into their house because they know they are going to be there longer, especially with the way prices are rising.”
Adding a living room or rec room in the basement and a backyard deck with a fireplace are popular upgrades among people investing more money in their homes, Ragan said.
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Supply disruptions in materials and labor shortages are also spurring homeowners to repurpose existing spaces, according to realtor Kelly Wolf, with Keller Williams Realty.
According to Wolf, homes that have been updated and are move-in ready sell faster and for more money than homes that need updating. However, if you are going to remodel the home, you’ll want to keep flexibility in mind.
“I would say if you’re thinking of renovating your home right now and putting in a media room or a spa, look down the road to how long you plan on being in the house and what value can you get out of those amenities,” Broda said. “I don’t see media rooms or spas being as prevalent as a designated office space or outdoor space that everybody is looking for.”