Part of being a successful real estate investor is knowing the trends to understand what people will likely want in a home moving forward. Tastes change over time, people live new and different lifestyles, and technology improves. So if you’re wondering what architectural details to include in your next home build, read on for some ideas.
People didn’t always use their basement for a game room, exercise facility, or extended living space; back in the day, it was typically used only for storage, laundry, and as a makeshift bathroom -- complete with a stand-alone toilet in the middle of the room. People began to finish their basements, giving new life to this underused space. But those basements still felt like afterthoughts, mainly because of their low ceilings.
To get around that issue, new home builds can include a deeper foundation for the basement. By having the builder dig deeper, your new home will have a basement with high ceilings. Taller windows can also be installed, making the basement a true luxury addition that matches the rest of the home.
2. Higher ceilings
Higher ceilings that give a home an open, airy feel are popular with homeowners throughout the home (including the basement, as explained above). It was the norm to have 10- to 12-foot ceilings in the 19th and early 20th centuries, but the advent of the ranch house beginning in the 1950s meant high ceilings got pushed to the wayside in favor of more economical eight-foot ones.
While high ceilings are definitely a thing moving forward, there is a limit; too high is not good either. Associated with McMansions, which have fallen out of favor, ceilings that are too high, around 14 feet, cost more when you factor in heating, cooling, cleaning (hello, cobwebs), and painting costs. Like what Goldilocks prefers, ceilings shouldn’t be too low or too high. The sweet spot would be somewhere between the eight-foot ranch style and the 14-foot McMansion -- around 9 to 11 feet high.
3. Laundry room on bedroom level
No longer is the laundry room relegated to the basement; it’s been a room of its own for many years now. But the placement and accouterments of said laundry room are what’s changing for the future. People often want their laundry rooms on the same level as their bedrooms, for one. More importantly, they want decked-out laundry rooms with cabinet space for detergent, cleaning supplies, and an ironing board. Some laundry rooms also have a sink and counter space as well.
Although a mudroom is nothing new, having one in the home is a top trend moving forward. One reason people love a staged home is that everything is organized and neat. That’s easy to accomplish in a staged home with no occupants; less so when people actually live there. Shoes, coats, book bags, pet leashes, and mail need to go somewhere, and without a centralized place in the home to store all the paraphernalia of life, it becomes clutter and makes a home an uncomfortable space in which to live. For that reason, mudrooms are becoming a must-have feature in new home construction.
5. Heated driveway
Although this trend is reserved for people in snowy climates, it’s a life changer for them. What if you didn’t need to shovel the driveway after a snowfall? You wouldn't with a heated driveway. The expense of installing one after the fact, though, is much more because you’d need to first remove the existing driveway. But if you request this addition before construction, the cost won't be nearly as high. Heated driveways should last about 20 years -- at which time you can perhaps retire to a warmer climate.
6. Outdoors meets indoors
People love their outdoor spaces in homes. Pools, hot tubs, and landscaped and hardscaped gardens have been coveted amenities for many homeowners, but now outdoor living has been kicked up a notch. The construction term that refers to connecting people with nature is “biophilic design.” Expect to hear more about this.
Says Joe Raboine, director of Belgard Residential Hardscapes at Oldcastle APG, a CRH company in Atlanta: