The New Face of Housing
So, my list of pandemic pet-peeves is growing by the day. I’ve mentioned I dislike using phrases like “the new normal” and “were in this together” because I realize everyone’s experience can be different. However, I am not so sure I can make excuses for Zoom (or the equivalent). When video isn’t activated by all participants, I am forced to stare at a black slot and a name. It feels so exhausting and mostly a waste of time. This is one exception when “where all in this together” is perfectly appropriate. Rant over.
Recently, I called each of our agents individually and asked the question, “What have you learned about yourself/your family during this unprecedented time? The answers, as you might expect, were quite similar to what most of our buyers and sellers have learned: The definition of “home” has changed dramatically! For example, one agent who was close to selling her home to downsize, quickly realized with both adults working from home and a student learning from home, downsizing was NOT a viable option!
Many buyers are now opting for homes with more work areas; the dining room table is no longer conducive to working at home every day. What once would work on a temporary basis, isn’t a realistic long-term solution. Working from home is on-trend, and we are hearing from more and more clients that their employers are willing to pay them more to work from home, thereby reducing the cost of expensive commercial space. This makes sense for both sides but may create unforeseen obstacles in the way some buy and sell real estate.
Sellers and buyers now look for homes that offer more options for each family member- complete with dedicated learning areas for homeschool and hybrid schooling. Lately, school pods (a group of friends and neighbors gathering under one roof for educational collaboration and learning support) have been thrown into the mix. These pods often involve groups of 3-10 students as well as hired tutors or parents, all battling for space. Now instead of shopping for a traditional 3br/2ba home, a buyer may now insist on a massive bonus room, oversized home office or closed space floorplan. It’s too early to know if local builders will quickly take note of this trend and design accordingly, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we began seeing unique floorplans popping up by mid- next year if not sooner.
What a difference a few months can make! Last January, few of us would have predicted the scope of 2020. With no real end-date etched in stone, and no magic 8-ball to predict the future, accommodations for non-traditional living will be on the radar for a while. Sellers, if your home boasts extra flex space, extra bedrooms, converted dining rooms or converted garages you may be in the catbird seat!
What a wild ride!