A quick stroll through any home center or appliance section of a big box store will keep real estate agents aware of new trends in housing.
While online research can also help you find new ideas and trends, the up-close-and-personal experience of seeing appliances, flooring options, window treatments and lighting fixtures in a retail environment might give you a better idea. It doesn’t take a great deal of time, and you can use that knowledge in conversations about housing features with buyers and sellers.
Washing machines and dryers, the basic elements of any home laundry — now renamed as “clothing care center” — were typically located in the lower level or basement of the home. Usually close to plumbing sources, a laundry tub or sink, and the home’s hot water heater, they were sometimes housed in a utility room or mechanical area.
You’d also typically find them near a door for easy access to a hanging space outside, a drying yard or a drying shed. In the past, laundry rooms lacked windows, and they weren’t the most cheerful places to be. Spending hours in a windowless space, washing, drying, folding, and ironing linens and clothing wasn’t the most pleasant activity.
Although home dryers were available in 1915, they were prohibitively expensive and did not become available to the middle class until the 1950s. By the 1960s, however, dryers became commonplace and were used in most homes.
Apartments sometimes feature stacking washer and dryer units in closets or areas with plumbing, adequate electricity, and sometimes outside venting, including pans or drains under washing machines to catch overflows.
In luxury homes, “the clothing care center” feature can be a status symbol. The humble washer and dryer have been elevated on a pedestal or platform of 16-18 inches, making the front loading models easily accessible.
As the machines now occupy more space in the home, a larger, dedicated room is allocated to their use. Different zones with specific functions make washing and drying clothing more efficient — and just as importantly, more pleasant.
Although a discussion about how to do laundry may seem overly simplistic, the real estate agent’s ability to emphasize the practicality and value of a centrally located laundry room and how it adds value to the home will be beneficial to homeowners.
The location of the laundry is often up for discussion. Should it be where the majority of the laundry originates (meaning bathrooms and bedrooms)? Or in a central spot in the home, where outdoor spaces such as playgrounds and swimming pools will “feed” the laundry area, as well as the kitchen and dining room?
Deciding where to place the washer and dryer is often a personal choice. If, in fact, your clients decide to choose the lower level or basement for their laundry spot, encourage them to consider an old-fashioned laundry chute (no longer found in new construction) to deliver clothing to the laundry area.
Having an area for prep, washing, drying, sorting and folding is important for when the dirty clothing arrives at the laundry station. Other convenient additions to consider when planning a laundry room? Some space to hang your clothing to air or line dry (either within sight or out of sight in a drying cupboard). Ample storage space for soap, detergent, dryer balls, laundry baskets, an iron and ironing board.
What’s more, good lighting is crucial, and proper ventilation will ensure your clients can air-dry clothes efficiently.
Both washers and dryers have multiple settings and temperature controls, which allow for customized care of different materials and colors. A modern laundry will, of course, have internet access, to research clothing care and stain removal.
Homeowners may opt to scan in care tags on new apparel so they are easily accessible before the tags fade from multiple washings. Finally, an attempt at making the laundry a cheerful spot with colorful or whimsical décor and artwork will ensure that this necessary chore becomes a little more pleasant.
A well-designed, organized and cheerful laundry room or “clothing care center,” no matter where it’s located in a home, is definitely a fantastic selling point.
Washers and dryers, elevated on pedestals or platforms, will enhance the laundry experience, making it less of a chore. Unused or underused spaces that would benefit from a reinvention as a clothing care center may not be obvious to a homebuyer. However, real estate agents who are solution-oriented and imaginative can suggest an opportunity that will help to close the sale.