Whether you’re looking at an apartment, condominium or a full-sized house, it’s clear what the biggest thing in the real estate market right now is: convenience. People want full control of their homes at their fingertips. At the same time, the home of your dreams doesn’t mean much if you can’t afford to pay for it. The hottest trends in housing right now are all about modernizing your home while staying on a budget.
A lot of people love to show off their new iPhone or iPad but the technology craze is not solely devoted to phones or computers anymore. If you really want to make the most of your iPad, try integrating it into your home. Alex Trakhtman, of Trak Homes, has seen many of his clients asking for homes that are more automated. From garage doors to thermostats to lighting, if it uses electricity, it can probably be controlled with an iPad. If this all seems a bit overzealous to you, then consider how many times you weren’t sure if you closed the garage door before leaving? Or, more importantly, did you turn your alarm on? Did you forget to turn the thermostat off while you go away on vacation? “A lot of our clients want that ease and comfort of knowing,” said Trakhtman. “It keeps your home safer and more efficient.” All of these systems can be built into homes that Trakhtman builds, and they are easy enough to control with an application on your phone.
So, where can you save an extra buck when you’re building? It’s probably not a surprise to most that the best way to save right now is by going green. Brookfield Residential built and developed the PureBlue Home, which tested new options for green living. “Their main goal was to explore the latest technologies and find out how they fit with the way homeowners want to live today, tomorrow and beyond,” said Erin Smith, marketing manager at Brookfield Residential. “Energy efficiency is important no matter when you buy—you want a house that is built with quality materials and features built-in standard green options.”
At the end of the day, what’s the point of a high-tech, energy efficient home if you don’t enjoy it with some friends? One trend that Brookfield Residential, Charlie Hatter, of Prime Building Advantage, and Ryan Kennedy, of Harvey, Hanna & Associates, have all seen are open-space kitchens and open floor plans in general. Open spaces result in more flexibility for how you choose to use your home once the construction is done.
“Buyers really want to bring the restaurant/dining-out experience home and they want to be able to entertain in that space more than any other space in the house,” said Kennedy.
Some other trends Kennedy mentioned include large his-and-hers walk-in closets; powerful but streamlined entertainment systems that utilize mounting hardware and tucking away audio and visual equipment into dedicated concealed spaces; and spacious showers instead of the traditional soaking bathtubs.
“Sleek design and functionality [is] the overall theme with these trends, in the coastal communities especially,” said Kennedy. “Owners want to live in luxury and [be] maintenance-free, simultaneously.”
Ken Hobbs, of Harbor East Real Estate, is focused more on condominiums near downtown Canton, Federal Hill and Mount Vernon. He sees a lot of young professionals from the Carey Business School at Johns Hopkins. For him, understandably so, the trends have been around parking. “I think condos are becoming popular with younger to middle-aged professionals because they may be working odd hours and they want a dedicated parking spot in a secured attached garage,” said Hobbs.
But before you start comparing paint colors and pricing flooring options, Trakhtman has one more tip that has stood the test of time regardless of whether it’s a house in the suburb or a city apartment.
“Location is key to any build,” said Trakhtman. “Everybody is looking for the best location.”