Recent Home Buyers Share What They Looked For When Touring Houses During COVID

You’re getting ready to sell your house but do you know what buyers are actually searching for? Find out what real life buyers have to say and how you can use that to prepare your house for sale.

If you’re thinking of selling your home in 2021, having a unique understanding of how COVID has affected the real estate market is critical. One of the best ways to do that is to look at what prospective buyers are saying about the homes they’re touring. Before we get into that though, let’s address some key things to keep in mind when getting your house ready to sell in the 2021 real estate market. 

Tips For Preparing Your House For A Sale

Emotionally Prepare

Logistics aside, this can be an emotional time. Give yourself some time and grace to process leaving your home. This will make it easier when it comes time to sell and you are faced with actually moving out.

Make Repairs

Buyers can be picky when it comes to showings and inspections. The more fixes you can make ahead of time, the more likely you are to have lots of showings once you list the house. This will also make it more likely to get to the closing table once you accept an offer.


Nobody likes messes, but we all deal with them and usually don’t judge when we see them in other people’s houses. Unfortunately, prospective buyers don’t really have this mindset and can actually be quite judgmental during showings. In their defense, judging the home is kind of the whole point of a showing. So, tidy up as much as you can before prospective buyers come into the home.

Have PPE Available For Tours

Having disposable masks, gloves, shoe covers and hand sanitizer available for tours is a must in the time of COVID. This is to protect both you and the potential buyers from spreading anything around the house. Also consider limiting the number of people that can be inside the house at once.

What Buyers Are Looking For

Remember that while your home may be perfect for your lifestyle, it may not work for another individual or family. Since we all have unique needs and preferences, our ideas about the ideal home are different. To get a sense of what buyers are looking for these days, we interviewed eight recent home buyers. Below, you’ll find exactly what they searched for when they were touring houses in the time of COVID.

1. More Space

Quarantining for months and months with your entire family in the house can really make you think about whether you have enough space. Buyers are trending toward bigger homes as opposed to downsizing if it’s financially feasible.

“I love my family, but I have realized over the past year that in our current small ranch home we are kind of on top of each other. Our next house will definitely have a second floor.” – Todd in Ohio

2. Home Office

Trying to work from home in the dining room next to kids doing remote school? Yeah, not so much fun. With more telecommuting and virtual schooling, many buyers are making sure their next home has ample office space.

“It’s really hard to get work done in the house with all the kids constantly needing my attention. I wish I had a designated home office … a soundproof one!” – Jane in New York

3. Not So Open Concept

Remember when sight lines through the entire first floor were all the rage? Like a few months ago? Well, many buyers are starting to feel like rooms with four walls and a door are a little more appealing now that they spend so much time at home with the whole family.

“Sometimes I just need to be able to escape and have some alone time. And since it’s hard to leave the house, having a little den or study that’s not open to the living room and kitchen would be really nice.” – Dan in Michigan

4. More Land

Cities mean close proximity to other people, so it’s no surprise that many buyers are looking for a little more of a rural vibe when it comes to their new home.

“We just want more space to roam and the features we love about living in the city like restaurants and museums aren’t really options right now because of COVID.” – Dustin in Texas

5. Price

Some people with steady jobs are saving quite a bit of money during COVID. Combine that with historically low interest rates and they can all of a sudden afford higher-priced houses than they could before.

“We’ve been spending much less on eating out and vacations and our savings have really benefited. We now have a down payment for our next home much sooner than we thought we would, and our price range has gone up.”

– Jessica in Washington.

6. Updated Elements

One thing that hasn’t changed with COVID is the general feeling that new is better than old. Sure, some buyers love period-specific or even downright old and dusty home decor, but the majority of people prefer updated rooms – especially when it comes to kitchens and bathrooms.

“I bought a fixer-upper and redid almost everything in the house. Never again. I’m too tired for that this time so I’m searching for a turnkey with everything already done.” – Sal in Colorado.

7. Playroom For The Kids

Noticing a theme of separate spaces for each family member? Well, when it comes to the kiddos, that is of special interest to prospective buyers.

“My next house will have a playroom and that is one of my nonnegotiables. Right now our living room doubles as the playroom and there are always toys everywhere.” – Jacob in Connecticut

8. Primary Suite

Sharing a home with a large family can create some, well, friction. That’s especially true when it comes to sharing bathrooms, making a private bath off the primary bedroom a real selling point for a house.

“We’re looking for houses with a primary bath and it’s going to be such an upgrade over our current home. No more knocking on the door telling the kids to hurry up!” – Jocelyn in North Carolina

What This Means For You

Not every potential buyer is going to want the same thing, but there are some features that appeal to the majority of people. Try to get a sense of what features will appeal to the largest pool of buyers and do what you can to make your house fit the bill.