How Our Vision of the Perfect Home Has Changed Since the Pandemic
How Our Vision of the Perfect Home has Changed Since the Pandemic
The global coronavirus pandemic has shifted our relationships to our homes. Rolling lockdowns keep people cooped up in their homes for long stretches. Work, school, and entertainment have started to take place remotely. And so, our needs as homeowners have changed- and our vision of the perfect home has shifted correspondingly.
The pandemic has led to major shifts across the board, affecting every industry. Here in North Carolina, the real estate industry has continued to thrive, despite predictions to the contrary, favoring sellers over buyers in a low inventory market. Average home prices have risen in North Carolina. And with plenty of millennials now coming of age to buy homes, there are new desires and trends on the market.
Let’s take a look at how our vision of the perfect home has changed since the pandemic.
While location, location, location remains a significant factor in helping prospective homebuyers decide on their ideal home, people now require further ways to engage with the space they have chosen. From indoor succulent gardens and kitchen herb gardens to outdoor living rooms, the ideal home today features a seamless interweaving of indoor and outdoor spaces.
Since the pandemic has caused a limitation on access to once-frequented public spaces, and people are meant to socially distance and wear masks while around others, the boundary between public and private space has shifted. Now balconies, rooftop terraces, patios, and gardens are placed at a higher premium on people’s ideal home checklist.
Private outdoor spaces provide homebuyers and tenants an ideal option for safely socializing during the pandemic, seasonal conditions allowing. Chaise lounges, daybeds, and elegant outdoor dining sets allow people to transform their outdoor spaces into personal restaurants, perfect for hosting family at a distance, or setting up an intimate dinner date with the spouse.
Outdoor spaces serve another function in the “perfect home” today. Spacious balconies or terraces allow remote workers to pace during long-distance phone calls. This access to room to roam while conversing privately is a feature that may seem trivial, but in this day and age, should not be discounted. Particularly given the number of businesses transitioning to remote and telework formats.
Smart and New Tech Ready
With lockdowns limiting our social options, entertainment indoors becomes not just a luxury, but a necessity. Today’s perfect home has entertainment options in every room, from a basic TV setup in the living room to a full-on home cinema, replete with popcorn machine and total surround sound.
One of the trends that has been growing since the start of the pandemic is the prevalence of smart tech. Since today’s perfect home serves not only as the hearth and seat of comfort, but also as people’s main source of pandemic-era entertainment, smart tech options for enhancing home life abound. Voice-activated speaker and stereo systems allow you to easily turn on and control ambient music and background sound. Suddenly, with a simple voice command, the kitchen becomes a party zone blaring disco, while the kids’ bedrooms continue to play soft soothing sleep tunes.
For a home to be “smart tech ready” generally means one thing: an optimal internet connection. Since bluetooth-enabled apps and devices integrate the various smart features across the home, from eco-friendly lighting options to automated coffee machines, all of this relies on the strength of the home internet connection.
New tech gadgets can also transform home entertainment systems into immersive experiences. Amusement parks and cultural sites around the world now offer free digital access to their rides and attractions. Virtual Reality headsets and strong speakers allow singles, parents, and children alike to embark on a world tour of historical landmarks or get ready for a wild virtual rollercoaster ride from the comfort of their own couch.
Space to Work and Play
The way we envision the perfect home today now has to incorporate a lot of lifestyle factors. The pandemic has caused thousands of businesses to transition to remote working platforms. This means that the line between the office and the home zone is blurred; for many new work from home employees, the home now functions as the work space and the place to relax, all rolled into one.
So today’s perfect home reflects that adjustment. People want to see a home that has a separate space for a home office, and preferably one with a door that shuts, far away from the central activities of the home. Parsing out a separate home office space enables remote employees to focus on work tasks and productivity until the workday is through. Instead of falling into the trap of opening up the work laptop from bed, successful remote employees are able to divvy up their schedule and their space so that they can attune their lives accordingly.
With gyms and fitness centers closed, today’s perfect home also includes space for a home gym. For some, this is simply a small area that can remain clear of furniture or clutter, enough space to lay a yoga mat or lift some weights. For others, a full-fledged home gym with exercise machines and workout equipment is necessary. Increasingly, fitness trainers and personal coaches are offering one-on-one and group sessions online, so people want to see that they have the space at home to stay fit while they stay inside.
The real estate trends sparked by the pandemic do not just present temporary preferences. More likely, the pandemic will lead to lasting changes in how we interact with our homes, and in them. Outdoor areas of private comfort will likely continue to lend homes a luxurious feel and create space for people to catch Vitamin D (while wearing their PJ’s).
High tech developments to increase the convenience, comfort, and ease of our daily home lives will continue to flourish.
And with many employers stating that they will likely downsize their in-person office spaces and accommodate at least a partial work from home schedule for employees for the foreseeable future, home office spaces for remote working are here to stay.
By Emily Miller