How COVID Has Changed What We Look for in a New Home

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There’s no denying that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we live our lives, and even as restrictions and mandates continue to ease across the United States, the effects of this experience will have a lasting effect.

With many sheltering in place for weeks and months, it’s made people think about the concept of their home in a new way. Homebuyers who entered the market during and even after the height of the pandemic are shifting their priorities from the status quo.

Priorities that are now at the forefront of homebuyer’s must haves include:

  • Light and space
  • Bigger more functioning kitchens
  • Privacy
  • Energy efficient
  • Home gym area
  • Outdoor space
  • Home office space & great internet

Light and Space – For many people who lived in the city or in small, cramped apartments, they quickly discovered how important having natural light and a large enough living space to accommodate the family for extended periods of time. Finding space for everyone to work, participate in online learning, and do daily activities without having to hide in a closet or corner with no light was a challenge for many families. Those who are looking for new homes will want to make sure there is enough room for everyone to have their own space in the future.

Spacious kitchen – The term spacious is relative to the homebuyer and many found out the hard way that their kitchen just wasn’t functional for cooking 3 meals a day, 7 days a week on top of having people working and doing online school at the same time. Large open kitchens that can accommodate the whole family, allow them to cook together, as well as have plenty of storage space and easy to use, efficient appliances may be the new trend.

Privacy – Privacy, often underrated, became much needed while being couped up in the home for months on end. While having separate bedrooms for each child was often a luxury for some families, it’s become a necessity for many new home buyers. Having an extra gathering space like a den, finished basement, or 3-season sunroom have become a must have to give everyone some breathing room.

Energy Efficient – With people spending more time at home cooking, working, learning, and finding forms of entertainment, many families saw a big spike in their energy bills. All that extra time in the home using electricity, water, and oil/gas adds up. While energy efficient homes are nothing new, they’ve become more important to new homebuyers. This includes newer appliances, furnaces and HVAC units.

Home Gym Area – Staying fit and avoiding the “quarantine fifteen” while gyms were closed was important to many people. In addition to boosting mental health, getting a good workout in was a great way to spend time while at home. While most people don’t need space for state-of-the-art gym equipment, having an area to do home workouts is now a must for many.

Outdoor Space – Having a private outdoor space to use during warmer months has been a relief for many. Even those with just a small balcony or porch were able to take advantage of some fresh air and sunshine without having to leave their homes. New homebuyers are seeking yards, outdoor decks and patios and pools that allow fun outdoor space for family and entertaining.

Home Office – Pre-COVID, working from home was seen as more of a luxury than the norm. However, as many employers are giving staff the option to continue to work from home for the foreseeable future, having a dedicated home office has become a priority. The space should be large enough to accommodate a desk, chair, printer, enough electrical outlets and of course a strong wi-fi signal.

In the past, luxury amenities used to be a draw for many homebuyers, however while spending long periods of time in the home, buyers seem to be going back to the basics. Life after COVID will no doubt be a little different and take some adjusting too.


Jennifer Ives-Groebl
Vice President, Senior Mortgage Lender
NMLS MLO ID: 532621

Author: Jennifer Ives-Groebl

Jennifer has been with Litchfield Bancorp since 1994 and was promoted to Assistant Vice President and Senior Mortgage Originator shortly after graduating the Connecticut School of Finance & Management in 1998. Stationed in both our Torrington and Litchfield locations, Jennifer is well known and respected in the local residential real estate community and recognized as a resource for some of the more difficult transactions. Jennifer resides in Torrington and is actively involved in the local community. She is a long time member of the Torrington/Winsted Rotary club and is currently serving as its Assistant Treasurer. Jennifer is involved with Litchfield County Board of Realtors and serves as chair of the Audit Committee and a member of the Public Relations Committee. She is also a member of the Fuessenich Park Partnership; and through Education Connection, has participated in the Mentoring Program.