By Clare Trapasso | Apr 27, 2020
There’s nothing like a pandemic forcing you to stay indoors to help you realize what’s really important in your living space.
As millions of Americans shelter in place, they’re realizing what they love—and what they desperately want to change—about their homes and neighborhoods.
The quality people valued most in their current living situation was being in a quiet neighborhood with outdoor space that’s near grocery stores and pharmacies, according to a realtor.com® survey of 1,300 homeowners and renters.
The survey was conducted during the week of April 5. About 13% of respondents ranked each of these characteristics highly.
“After more than a month of stay-at-home orders, it’s safe to say Americans are really getting to know what home features work and don’t work for their families,” realtor.com’s chief marketing officer, Nate Johnson, said in a statement.
That outdoor area in a quiet community can provide fresh air and a much-needed mental health break from those who have been cooped up at home for too long.
Ten percent of folks also appreciated having an updated kitchen, all the better for preparing meals at home when dining out is not an option. About 9% of participants liked their natural light, and 6% appreciated flexible spaces that can be used for crafting, gaming, or exercise.
What folks yearned for the most—but didn’t have—in their homes was more space. Hey, it’s hard to be quarantined with everyone on top of everyone else! About 19% of survey participants dreamed of additional square footage, while 13% wanted an updated kitchen and 11% wanted a home gym.
Updating the style of the home, wanting more natural light, and adding a yard or patio all ranked highly, with about 9% of participants each. An additional 6% hoped for an extra bathroom.
And since they’re stuck at home, many folks are making the best of it by finally getting around to their do-it-yourself lists. About 32% of those surveyed said they had started a home improvement project, and another 15% plan to embark on one.
“As we move forward, we expect the shelter-in-place experience to have a significant influence on home-buying trends and how buyers prioritize home features, neighborhoods, and home improvement projects” Johnson said in a statement.
The most common DIY project was finally getting around to cleaning out the closets or the garage, at 21% of participants. That was followed by gardening and planting, at 17%; painting, at 13%; redecorating a room, at 10%; and rearranging the furniture, at 9%.
In addition, folks were keen on adding artwork or decor to their homes, at 7%; adding a home gym or workout space, at 5%; and installing an office or work space, at 4%.
Clare Trapasso is the senior news editor of realtor.com and an adjunct journalism professor at the College of Mount Saint Vincent. She previously wrote for a Financial Times publication, the New York Daily News, and the Associated Press. She is also a licensed real estate agent. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.