Tailoring Home Designs for a Post-COVID Market

deeproot September 22, 2020

Real Estate

Tailoring Home Designs for a Post-COVID Market

Making it work for you AND your eventual buyer.


attractive kitchen

The coronavirus changed the way we look at our homes. What used to be a place where we just ate dinner and crashed after a long day has now become the hub of our, well…everything. Many kids started school virtually this year. And many adults are working at home through 2021, if not indefinitely.

These new needs we have for our homes shifted our priorities. As a result, a lot of folks are realizing that their current setup doesn’t quite cut the mustard. This is especially true of renters.

Whether you just bought your home, you’re adjusting your longtime home, or you’re planning to sell soon, this article will offer targeted renovation tips to help you adjust your home to better meet post-COVID needs.

The reasons buyers are looking to move on (Sound familiar?)

According to agent-matching service Homelight’s Q3 survey, which surveys top agents around the country for insights in their market, the top three prevailing factors for people moving are:

  • needing more space: 44%
  • wanting to buy rather than continue renting: 41%
  • desiring to move to the suburbs: 37%

What are those buyers looking for?

Agents say the top wish list items are:

  • a designated home office: 17%
  • less population density: 16%
  • single-family living: 15%
  • spacious and secluded outdoor areas: 15%
  • a well-appointed kitchen: 11%

All of those priorities out-ranked private pools, access to nature, a designated home gym, and dual primary suites. “People are at home all day and taking extra notice of the things they want improved,” echoes our listing agent, Sean Mele. “The small stuff becomes a bigger issue.” Making any of these suggested changes to your current residence will not only help improve your contentment but also put you ahead of the game should you decide to sell in the future.

How to add or maximize home office space

home office

With 17% of agents citing home offices as a sought-after home feature, this adjustment is a pretty solid starting point. Building a home office costs on average about $12,000, and about 87% of that is likely to be recouped upon sale. If you’re innovative, you can probably get even more.

home office area

Even if you don’t have an extra room to designate as an office, you could always convert an extra closet, use the space under stairs, or even the landing at the top of the stairs. Getting creative can pay off. 

Check out this article for more on how to create an office space in your home, including organizational tactics and design tips.

In the kitchen, even small improvements add up 

It’s been said that the kitchen is the heart of the home. With people doing a lot more home cooking this year, having a well-appointed kitchen is a priority for many. 

Walk-in pantries cost about $3,400 and yield a 76% return on investment. Double ovens are about the same cost, and they recoup about 71%.

walk-in pantry in kitchen

Making these smaller improvements is probably a better bet than trying to remodel the entire kitchen, as you’re not likely to get back the money (or time) that you put into a full-on renovation. They can look incredible though, so if you’re looking to get one started, let us know and we’ll get you connected to the best contractors in Portland.

A mid-range kitchen remodel is about $66,000, according to Remodeling Magazine’s 2019 Cost vs. Value Report. A few less costly and still impactful projects are: swapping out the hardware (like cabinet knobs), updating your lighting fixtures, and painting cabinets. A handful of small, relatively inexpensive details can make a big difference. For more on how to spruce up the kitchen without overspending, click here.

Enhance curb appeal and/or outdoor space

curb appeal, attractive front porchFinally, upping curb appeal has been a long-standing recommended improvement for marketing a home for sale. Perhaps more now than ever, it’s crucial. (Because while today’s homebuyers limit which houses they visit, they can and do drive by any house they’d like to check out in real life.)

Painting the front door, adding exterior lighting, cleaning up the driveway and garage, and painting the exterior are all fairly inexpensive and have a big impact. For more on upgrading your curb appeal, check out this article.

Additionally, a patio or deck in the backyard can mean all the difference to buyers looking for some outdoor privacy. Landscaping for privacy is another way to give buyers what they want. Adding mature trees in the right spots can increase privacy, and according to the Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers, they can have an appraised value of $1,000 to $10,000. Here are a few more ideas for making your backyard a personal oasis.

Our internal sales agent, Anzlie Ravert, confirms that lots of folks are newly prioritizing access to nature. “I’ve heard from some that they want to pursue gardening and growing their own food through these unprecedented times. Back to the basics! People have found simplicity in the little things and with good reason.”

seating area in outdoor living space

In conclusion, no one could have foreseen the huge lifestyle changes brought about by the challenges we’ve seen this year. But making a few creative renovations can offer you the utility you need now, helping you stay in your current home a good deal longer.

If you do ultimately determine a move is in the best interest of your family, we at The Drew Coleman Team are only a phone call away!

(Did the DIY bug just bite you? Here are a few more resources to check out.)


Opt for Excellence.

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