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Your expectations for the future will have a big impact on identifying the best home for you. How long do you see yourself living in the new home? Life happens! What will likely change, such as kids moving out or parents moving in? Are aging-in-place features important? Is your home easily adaptable to future needs? Wider doorways may not be feasible at a later date. You’re single, so two sinks in your bedroom suite’s bathroom and a private toilet area may not be important to you but ignoring such amenities could be a real drawback in the future.

None of us has a crystal ball. Prior to 2020, who imagined the impact the COVID-19 pandemic would bring? Still, when it comes to our homes, looking at what’s popular today provides some insight into what we can expect to likely be popular five to ten years from now. Continuing the bedroom suite bathroom example – large showers are in demand, particularly “curbless” showers with no lip or threshold to step over. Safer and more comfortable, choosing such an amenity when building your new home is a wise choice, especially compared to a resale home with combination tub/shower or a tub with separate, modest-size shower. Even something as mundane as cleaning the shower is a factor – small showers are harder to clean because there’s simply not enough room to move around when you are standing in that shower.

Storage and organization has become a higher priority with today’s home buyers. Neighborhood restrictions prohibiting sheds, coupled with our seemingly insatiable appetite for more stuff (along with our reluctance to part with it!) has fueled the interest in larger garages with more room for storage. In the Palmer (plan #42057), note the parcel drop at the front porch alongside the garage for securing home deliveries – freeing you up from having to wait around for the delivery driver to pick up/drop off packages for your home-based business. Increased storage extends to the bigger closets in our homes, deep walk-in kitchen pantries and flexible storage areas – particularly those that can be accessed from outside. As a rule of thumb, more square footage is being devoted to storage in today’s new homes than what you usually find in resales, a trend that is likely to continue.

The Palmer (below) provides extra storage in its 3-car garage as well as storage accessed from outside (behind the garage). Look at that kitchen pantry! Another draw – privacy for the covered porch.

Outdoor living space, already a “must-have” for many new home buyers, gained even further importance during the pandemic. Better than a simple patio or deck, prospective buyers wanted a roof over that space so that they didn’t necessarily have to cancel their outdoor plans just because it was raining. The Palmer plan has its covered patio to the side, behind the pantry, providing yet another desired amenity – added privacy. Sure, many resale homes have outdoor living spaces, too, but do they integrate with the home’s design, or look as if they were merely added-on at some point?

We assess an amenity’s value by both what we ourselves personally know and our experience with it.  Something as elementary as a pull-out wastebasket drawer in the kitchen. Once you’ve experienced that simple pleasure, you’ll never settle for less. We also observe the value we see others place in it, especially if we think its popularity is increasing. Millennials have largely ignored and passed over those 5,000 square foot-plus “McMansions” popular with their parents’ generation. Older homeowners have sometimes lost money when selling those larger homes they no longer need or want due to a lack of buyers. But 32-inch wide interior doors throughout the home and laundry rooms that don’t double as the entry from the garage – those are futureproofing must-haves. When it comes to resale, Realtors tell us that regardless of the presence of a tub in the primary suite bathroom, if there isn’t a nice shower, many of today’s prospective home buyers are simply going on to the next home.

There will come a point in time when your new home goes on the market as a resale. Thoughtful design today translates into better resale tomorrow. Take curb appeal. It not only makes your home more attractive now, but it can also have a significant impact on the future resale of your home, both in terms of how quickly you get offers and the perceived value of your home. Example – the humble garage door. As with your front entry door, an attractive garage door enhances curb appeal!

The Rainey plans below share a common floor plan, but exude distinctive exterior styling. While a fairly traditional garage door style can work for the Rainey Gables (left), that simple 32-panel garage door would detract from the Rainey Chase's contemporary design (middle), and the Rainey Farm's Modern Farm House design (right). 

Choosing a brand-new home, with today’s most-wanted amenities, will be significantly more attractive to most prospective future buyers than if you’re trying to resell a home that was already 30 years old when you bought it.   

Next time - What Your Home Says About You.

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Cover plan featured: Palmer (plan 42057)

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