Although the Coronavirus pandemic feels like a once-in-a-lifetime event, the current crisis has people envisioning how life will fundamentally change going forward. If you plan on staying in your house for a while before listing it someday, you may want to consider the following as COVID-19 is tweaking the realities of living at home for the foreseeable future.
You should also consider how your credit union can finance these items. Adding some particular creature comforts and upgrades can go a long way toward not only your happiness, but also the value of your property over the long term in a post-crisis period when many plan on spending more time at home:
- It’s all about the home office. Do you have one? And if you do, is it everything you need it to be? “Three quarters of Americans working from home because of the Coronavirus say they want to continue if given the option, and two-thirds say they would consider moving to another house if given that flexibility” according to a recent poll conducted by Zillow and The Harris Poll. You can put the “office” in home office. The optimal solution is a separate room with window light, as well as plenty of built-in ceiling lights that have dimmers for all times of the day or evening. A thicker, solid wood door helps for sound-proof purposes. If you really want to go all out, installing special sound insulation in the walls might be a huge perk. A craftsman-artisan desk that’s built into the wall with special storage could be appropriate. If the room is large enough, a corner decked out with a mini-fridge, food-snack cubby holes, and space for exercise equipment and a wall-mounted TV could be appealing to others in the future. If the office is technically a bedroom to begin with, the closet space could be the perfect area to re-imagine, gut out, and install some of these comforts.
- Working at home equals parking at home. Will more than one person in your household be commuting less often since they now have the opportunity to work certain days from home? Having professionals pour compacted dirt, gravel, or concrete for an extra parking space adjacent to your driveway could help free up driveway, easement, or street space. And if you make it larger than you actually need, another family in the future may see RV or trailer-parking potential.
- The “schoolhouse” may be coming back for some. For many parents, having their kids participate in at-home learning during the pandemic wasn’t quite what they dreamed. But having space set aside for a desk, books, computer and other educational materials — even if it’s part of a larger den or living room — could appeal to some future buyers. Many of the features are the same as a home office (mentioned above): convenient lighting, built-in cabinetry, shelving or desk space, and enough space to learn and concentrate. If the room is large enough, a mini-projector might be a nice touch to wire into the ceiling to cast videos on the wall or display your desktop’s computer screen.
- Games, entertainment, and inside fun are garnering attention. Home additions are usually for extra “living” space. But if you have all the living space you need, have you considered adding more entertainment space? A small or large social room set aside for TV, music, dancing, board games, video games, arts, crafts, books, musical instruments, or even food and drinks is gaining appeal. Think about where you can expand. You can add entertainment space with a little creativity.
- Meal planning, storage and cooking just got more interesting. For better or worse, some households will be doing their own cooking much more often rather than visiting restaurants. Some are good cooks; others have gotten used to the cheaper lifestyle of eating at home and buying in bulk as they only shop once per month. It begs the question as to whether your kitchen would do well with some upgrades. Is there room for a new pantry, extended pantry, more cabinets or more counter space? Does all that cooking from home deserve a new top-of-the-line oven or range, or perhaps larger appliances? Should this include a big (or small) kitchen remodel you’ve always wanted?
- That long-awaited backyard built-in grill is looking even better. Spending more time at home can be both fun and economical for some households. A built-in grill with some handy and user-friendly amenities accomplishes both. Any future owner will love the fact that you “plumbed” the grill’s heat source directly to the home’s natural gas line — that saves even more money instead of burning dollars on refillable propane tanks. A stainless steel barbecue beauty that has 5 – 6 burners, can withstand the outside elements with the help of a canvas cover and has enough storage space for utensils is sure to add to your home’s value.
- Outdoor recreation for the kids or parents? How about both! Pools, spas, kids’ playsets, volleyball sandpits, basketball courts, vegetable gardens, landscaping, sunbathing decks, outside workshops for art and crafts — consider all of these and more. Spending more time at home doesn’t have to equal spending more time inside, whether you want to expend some energy or relax.
- A front porch package bin… anyone? Online shopping and convenient next-day delivery was already ballooning before going into the COVID-19 crisis. With everyday “e-tailer” purchases continuing to gain ground from spending more time and shopping at home, boxes on front porches pile up fast. It may be worth installing a one-way delivery bin that fits in with the façade of your house (stucco, wood paneling, etc.). You could access it with a door key on the side or back. That way your six packages scheduled to arrive on the same day are safe, whether you’re at home or gone.
- More time at home equals higher utility bills, which puts energy efficiency in the spotlight. Whether it’s gas, electricity or water, your usage will go up. For many local utility agencies, using more energy means going into higher-tier rates — and equals higher monthly bills. Efficient windows, lights, hot water heaters (or tankless systems), solar panels, smart thermostats, and other energy efficient technologies can both bring your bills down and add to your home’s value.
- Speaking of technology… “Smart” improvements are the future of homes. Whether it’s cameras, security systems, locks, smoke detectors, thermostats or other nifty gadget that connect directly to your phone through the internet, the ability to control these systems and appliances will make your house stand out. You don’t have to lavish your home with all of them at once; just pick one or two that you can afford and build from there.
COVID-19 has forced everyone home more than ever. Make the most of your upgrades and updates by considering what’s going to bring the biggest resale long after the pandemic ends.