The current determining factors in a home buyer’s purchase look different from a year, or even 6 months, ago.
Once upon a time in “ye old” 2019-20, some of the most important factors to a home buyer would have been square footage/room count, updated amenities, commuting distance, and community. A large percentage of this market were first-time home buyers, while others were relocating for work or personal reasons.
With the onslaught of Covid-19 and the resulting lockdowns, restrictions, and changes to our everyday pace, the tone of the real estate market and home buying process has changed significantly. While many people still want to set eyes on the property before signing on the dotted line, a tremendous surge in online shopping for real estate has taken place. Most buyers allowed their fingers to do the walking before stepping outdoors.
Things have cooled a bit in that realm, although there is still a fairly high level of anxiety within many people, specifically the elderly or high-risk population. While houses are flying off the market, oftentimes faster than someone can make an appointment to view the property, a seller still needs their home to stand out from the competition. It must drive traffic and allow for price increases.
With that in mind, what is driving sales today?
One of the first items on the list for most buyers is the question, “Where can I work?” According to Kate Lister, president of Global Workplace Analytics, the “estimate is that 25-30% of the workforce will be working from home by the end of 2021.” The current virtual workspace is not going anywhere. With the expedient process of vaccinations to help minimize new cases, the variants in the virus, and other uncontrollable factors continue to create roadblocks. Not only that, but many employers have discovered the added benefit of reduction to their bottom line by reducing office space, supplies, and equipment expenses. Today's mobile workforce is here to stay, and they need a quiet and comfortable place to work from home.
While the home office is now on the top of the “essential room” list (right up there with a great kitchen and relaxing bathroom), people still need a place to disconnect. Most buyers look for suitable outdoor options. Providing a really chill outdoor space (even better if it is some type of indoor/outdoor, all-season room) is essential.
People are not free to travel as much as they used to. Many cities and states, not to mention countries, have tight restrictions in place. The “stay-cation” has been much more widely used, so home buyers want to envision themselves both living and working in their home. While a seller may not be able to add to their house, at least making sure that the landscaping is neat and tidy, throwing in some cool backyard lighting, and making sure there is privacy fencing can go a long way!
There are lots of ways sellers can get a boost above the competition that do not cost an arm and a leg. Some simple steps, TLC, and creativity can transition any home into a buyer’s dream home!