As 2022 begins, the real estate market is still going strong. Many of us have moved into a new home or are planning to sell our current one. So, there isn’t a better time than now to consider what features and renovations can maximize property value both in the long and short term.
I spoke with a variety of experts from interior designers to real estate agents and brokers to learn what’s currently appealing to homeowners and buyers. From specific spaces in the home that have become essential to the small details that make a big difference, here are ten ways to add value to your home in 2022.
Additional Dwelling Units
Additional Dwelling Units or ADUs have become incredibly useful and popular during the pandemic because they provide spaces for people to work away from kids and other members of the family, for in-laws and other visitors to stay, and if need be, as a Covid quarantine space.
ADUs can also be a source of income for homeowners. Founder of Sweeten, Jean Brownhill tells me the trend of ADUs will be picking up steam in 2022. “These small, self-contained units, separate from the main single-family home, can be built from scratch or transformed from an existing underused garage. Growing uses for these structures include a home office, a studio apartment, or short-term rental. ADUs remain popular for their ability to increase property values.”
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Updated Kitchens And Bathrooms
Renovating a kitchen or bathroom is a great way to instantly increase the value of a home, according to Christopher Peacock, Founder and CEO of Christopher Peacock. However, it’s important to choose quality materials because cabinetry in particular is subject to a great deal of wear and tear. “Without question, renovating a kitchen or bath space with well-made, quality cabinetry will always add value to a home,” he says.
The right design also maximizes value. “The kitchen, being the heart of the home, has become an even more important feature this year. In 2022, more robust kitchen designs will continue to be an important improvement trend,” explains Peti Lau of the New York Design Center.
Any type of extra storage, whether it’s a farmhouse shed, a beautifully designed walk-in closet in the master bedroom, or a pantry in a city apartment can increase the value. It’s also a smart upgrade that won’t be falling out of favor any time soon. “A feature I think will add value in 2022 is an often underappreciated pantry closet. 2021 and 2022 taught us that beyond storage for clothing, we all need more storage than we think for living supplies— think extra shelf-stable food, paper towels, and Covid tests,” says real estate agent Allison Chiaramonte.
“Even in New York City, the land of takeout and grocery stores on every corner, clients are now asking for and valuing more utilitarian storage spaces in their apartments and homes. Also, more and more people are cooking at home, meaning space for these supplies is at a premium.”
Chiaramonte has noticed buyers that buyers are truly excited by the idea that they can have their own pantry. “No matter whether it is a windowless room too small to be an office or a gym or an unused/extra coat closet that has been repurposed. Any extra nook or space can be transformed into a formal pantry— just install some shelving.”
Gerard Splendore, a broker at Warburg Realty tells me that the buyers he’s been working with also value these types of spaces because they facilitate bulk purchasing. “Buying in bulk prevents frequent trips to the store, preventing potential exposure to Covid. Should the next wave continue to grow, storage for paper goods and non-perishables will become more valuable.”
Dedicated Home Offices
While many of us have been hoping for life to get back to normal, the days of working nine to five in the office aren’t exactly here again. Many companies have also gone to a hybrid model, requiring employees to go in just a few days per week. So, a home office is still essential in 2022 and likely will be for years to come. “Almost two years since the pandemic began, many of us have spent so much time at home that living and working spaces can no longer be distinguished, leading to the re-emergence of the home office as people re-evaluate how and where they spend their time,” explain Thomas Hickey and Edward Yedid of Grade New York.
However, fostering productivity is essential. “Dedicated home office spaces or studies are one solution to this challenge, allowing more focused and efficient time away from the office. These are real environments that are conducive to work, but are also chic, thoughtfully designed, aesthetically pleasing and above all comfortable. The new home office might have a bar, an en-suite bath, and even art, and provide a sophisticated backdrop and privacy for video calls with amenities just steps away to allow for uninterrupted focus.”
Outdoor spaces, especially in cities like New York, where most people don’t have their own backyards have becoming increasingly popular to buyers. “In this Covid age, I think it is very important to homeowners to have an outdoor space. Whether that be building a new patio or revamping a terrace with a bistro table and chairs, I think this is something buyers will continue to prioritize when looking for a new home. As we continue to navigate this new normal, it is valuable to have these spaces to be able to safely gather with loved ones,” says interior designer Jennifer Hunter.
Wellness Spaces And Home Gyms
“Wellness is now the most important request to add value to a home,” Renata Vasconez, Partner IG Workshop Miami tells me. “Spa-like master bathrooms and well-equipped Home gyms that include luxurious materials [should have] top-of-the-line equipment. These spaces are meant to give the client the seclusion and privacy they desire. We’ve seen a rise in companies that provide products that meet these standards, both in bathware and also lines of beautifully designed gym equipment, to cater to almost any activity.”
Broker Cecilia Serrano of Warburg Realty has also seen this trend in New York. “People are becoming increasingly interested in keeping fit and also spending a lot of their time working from home. Perhaps a pleasant, quiet area to think and meditate in is also great.”
Multipurpose spaces that give homeowners flexibility also have appeal and can increase value. Mihal Gartenberg, an agent for Warburg Realty tells me, “Covid has changed how people interact with their homes. Open-concept floor plans, while popular and inviting, have been at the forefront of challenging work and school from home. It would be a great idea to find how to carve out a niche in your home that can double as a home office or a schoolroom for your children’s online learning.”
Everyone needs clean clothing and having the space to do laundry can add value to your home. Having a sink, line for hanging delicates, a table for folding, and shelves for all the accouterments ameliorates this often daily task. “Well-outfitted laundry rooms will be at the top of the list along with a well-thought-out location. Outfitting it with organization and storage and in a convenient location will make a big impact,” says Brownhill.
While most New York City apartments don’t have space for a dedicated laundry room, oftentimes a closet or a washer and dryer anywhere in the apartment will suffice, according to Splendore “Buyers are also looking for in-unit laundry facilities to prevent sharing washers and dryers with neighbors, as well as exposure to neighbors."
While sustainability is a major trend we will see in 2002, Lotta Lundaas, Founder and CEO of Norse Interiors is a proponent of authentic sustainability. “I will maintain my focus on authentic sustainability and find a new use for old furniture and décor. To add value, I’ll be putting in natural hardwood floors in my home, which can be refinished with time and is an excellent way to revive the whole space in one go.”
Fine Architectural Details
Leigh Lincoln, co-founder, Pure Salt Interiors believes adding architectural details can make a home more valuable in the upcoming year. “We are big lovers of adding architectural features to beef up style and make your home look and feel more custom. Think arched built-ins or doorways, Venetian plaster on range hoods or fireplaces, or millwork in bedrooms, bathrooms, and hallways. The idea is to take a builder-grade space and lay on the charm with timeless accents that will add value to your home for years to come.”
Jeremy Kamm, an agent for Warburg Realty, tells me stylish ceiling fans are a great example of this “The more time we spend in our homes as a result of the pandemic, the more we need extra comforts. Nevertheless, many of us still would not want to compromise the integrity of our designs and aesthetics for the sake of functionality, so our design and function implementations need to exist in symbiosis. I have found many buyers looking for artistic ceiling fans in rooms for added air circulation throughout the day. It’s a feature that many comment that they will install if it does not already exist— higher ceilings, therefore come with the territory for a generally airier overall feeling.”