Tom Kalinski, RE/MAX of Boulder

There’s no place like home—and lately the pandemic has forced millions nationwide to be, for the most part, in no place but home. This prolonged time being homebound has cast a spotlight on aspects of our home we absolutely love, those we could love more, and things we don’t love at all.

“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,” says Nate Johnson, chief marketing officer.

The single characteristic people value most in their home is location. People want a quiet neighborhood with outdoor space near essentials like a grocery store and pharmacy, according to a recent® survey of 1,300 homeowners and renters. It’s no surprise. Quiet outdoor space provides a safe, easy place for fresh air and a refreshing change of scenery from being shut indoors.

Next most valued is an updated kitchen, with 10 percent of respondents highly ranking this favorite area. Kitchens are the heart of the home, and with a rise in home meal prep during these times, it’s no surprise this ranks No. 2 on the highly valued list.

Rounding out the most valued list: 9 percent love the natural light that fills their home and 6 percent liked flexible spaces that multi-function for crafting, gaming, or exercise.

On the “what’s not to like” side, most people—19 percent—longed for more space in their homes. Perhaps that is not too surprising, since the longer we look at the same four walls, the more we might feel like they are closing in. Thirteen percent wanted an updated kitchen and 11 percent longed for a home gym.

Updating the home, adding more natural light, and adding a yard or patio all ranked highly, with 9 percent of participants for each. Six percent of people longed for an extra bathroom.
And our homes—like our pets—are benefiting from our collective “stuck-at-home” situation. About 32 percent of those surveyed claim to have a home improvement project underway, and another 15 percent plan to start a project soon.

“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 says.

Top DIY projects include cleaning out closets or the garage with 21 percent tackling this dreaded task. Next up is the more pleasant seasonal project of gardening and planting—17 percent; painting—13 percent; redecorating a room—10 percent; and rearranging the furniture—9 percent.

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By Tom Kalinski. Tom is the broker/owner of RE/MAX of Boulder, the local residential real estate company he established in 1977. He was inducted into Boulder County’s Business Hall of Fame in 2016 and has a 40-year background in commercial and residential real estate. For questions, e-mail Tom at [email protected], call 303.441.5620, or visit