Lennar Corp.—the No. 2-ranked firm on the BUILDER 100—has noticed a rising number of its new-home buyers are interested in using the builder’s Next Gen floor plans to accommodate home offices, among other family needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Originally created in 2009 in response to the financial crisis, the Next Gen floor plans are designed to offer a private living space attached to a larger home, often intended for either an aging parent or a “boomerang kid.” Each Next Gen suite features a separate entrance, a kitchenette, in-unit laundry, and an interior door that connects to the main home.

“What we realized right away, what our home buyers realized right away, was that the Next Gen suite was really perfectly situated for all of the uses that are in need today,” says Jon Jaffe, president of Lennar Corp. “Home office, home school, home gym, home recreation, and combinations of those.”

According to Jaffe, the cost of the suite generally adds between $10,000 and $15,000 to the price of a home, or $55 per month in mortgage payments.

In response to consumer demand, Lennar has begun to offer soundproofing as an add-on feature for the suite. Beyond this, according to Jaffe, the Next Gen suites require few alterations from one use to another—whether the suite is converted from a home office to a living space, or vice versa. The Next Gen floor plans are also Wi-Fi certified for full and consistent coverage throughout the home, including in the auxiliary suites.

“Because of all the virtual phone calls people are doing, there is more of a need for soundproofing,” Jaffe says. “[Otherwise], the suite has everything they need. If they want to be able to eat in there, make coffee, that’s all there and ready for them. The space is large enough that it can accommodate a double desk, or a desk and a sofa. Some people are using that second bedroom as another office, and some people are using it for a gym, to be able to take a break.”

The Next Gen floor plans are available in almost all of Lennar’s markets and in a majority of its new-home communities. “The beauty of Next Gen is the flexibility it provides,” Jaffe says. “In the age of COVID-19 and telecommuting, it’s clear that families nationwide need their home to do more.”