If you need/want to sell your house during a pandemic, here is what you need to know. People are still buying properties and investing in the real estate market! National Association of Realtors (NAR) research shows Realtors are saying markets are hotter now than they were a year ago. Even though things are still moving, processes look a little different. Buyers are making quicker decisions and viewing less properties. Because of COVID-19, you may not get as many physical showings, but the ones you do get are serious. Potential buyers are fixated, more than ever, on photos and virtual showings! People want to go into the least amount of homes as possible. Meaning, your property may get looked over if it does not make the best first impression.
What does this mean? It means that your online photos and how you market the house are more important now than ever! You should not be asking whether to stage your property or not, but rather how to stage it? We have to keep in mind the stagings basics while still accommodating to current needs related to COVID-19, such as home offices, outdoor spaces, and “clean” rooms.
NAR research shows that home offices are the top feature for buyers! 24% to be exact! Designated spaces for work and learning have become a must during this time! Both parents and kids are trying to adjust to this new way of life and it is not easy. People are stuck at home, slowly becoming irritated with all the things that are not working for them anymore. So when they are looking at a new home, they do not want to “make things work” anymore. They want a solution. That is where we come in. An office does not have to be a double door room at the front of a house with built-in bookshelves. It can be a multi-purpose space, which additionally are on the rise since the break of COVID-19 as well. Families need to see how this new space will solve their problems. Guest or kid’s bedrooms can easily be reconfigured with a desk as both a nightstand and a desk. No more extra space is need, just repurposed to fit the new need. We apply this same concept in staging as well!
Secondary spaces are a great place to show a property’s potential. Guest bedrooms can include an office, while extra spaces can be used for additional living rooms. In a time when everyone is crammed into the same house, these separate spaces can help give each person their own separate space. Keeping everyone sane and mentally healthy. Make sure to incorporate some aspect from the outside into these spaces. The more exterior life you can bring inside, the less stuck you are going to feel. We have used the concept in staging for years! Window treatments are brought in to bring attention to the windows, causing buyers to look past the room to the exterior. Plants are sprinkled in throughout spaces to bring in a fresh life throughout. As well as natural colors being incorporated in artwork and accessories. However, you cannot just focus on the interior and completely ignore the exterior.
Outdoor spaces have become an increased priority in potential buyers! Homeowners want somewhere they can retreat to since vacations have been limited. A place to be able to step away from all the crazy, even for just a little bit, to relax and unwind. Some are taking on little updates with some new landscaping pavers and shrubs, while others are taking on larger projects. Houzz has revealed that searches for swimming pool designs have gone up 334%, while searches for deck, patio and porch projects have gone up 178% in just a years time! Everyone and their dog are wanting to update their homes, inside and out, keeping contractors and trades people busy.
One influence on this increase in importance of outdoor spaces has been pets. According to NAR’s 2020 pets in real estate study, 43% of households are willing to move to accommodate their pets! Buyers are wanting larger yards and more space to accommodate man’s best friend. Not only buyers though, homeowners are also focused on their pets with an increased interested in pet friendly fabrics with performance fabrics. These performance fabrics are not just for sofas and chairs though! They can be used for window treatments and even rugs, among other things!
Performance fabrics are designed to be more durable and easy to clean. It also means that these fabrics are often stain and fade resistant, increasing their lifespan. However, performance fabrics are not the only material being highlighted for potential buyers! This idea of “cleanliness” has been heightened to an extreme with the outbreak of COVID-19. Other microbial items such as quartz countertops and touch-less faucets and toilets are on the rise. This added safety in clean surfaces has put an extra emphasis on areas such as Kitchens, Mudrooms, and Laundry Rooms.
Scott Wendl has been staying on top of keeping his clients’ safety by keeping COVID-19 tips and tricks readily available at the bottom of his weekly emails. He said,
“Showing homes has definitely changed during the pandemic. A lot of people were very scared to even go to homes or look around when the quarantine went into effect. Many safety protocols have been put in place since then. Many sellers are requesting that anybody that has been exposed to covid not look at homes. Many sellers are leaving out hand sanitizer, gloves and booties to put over shoes. A lot of sellers are also being educated on leaving all the lights on and doors open so there is as much minimal touching as possible with buyers going through homes. With historical low interest rates the market has been moving pretty quickly and homes are selling faster and sometimes with multiple offers depending on the price range.”
These low interest rates that Scott mentioned are bringing in a new pool of potential buyers. NAR’s survey back in the 1980’s showed that 75% of first time home buyers were married. Now in 2019 that percentage dropped down to 53%. Recent studies have showed growing numbers in particularly younger buyers. Young adults are more career driven than the previous generation was at their age. They are focused more on buying homes and investments than they are in getting married and having kids. Top reasons for moving use to include jobs, marriage and having a baby, compared to the top reason now of living closer to family. These numbers, driven by young millennials, are putting a high focus on family. Another reason for the increase in multigenerational homes. According to Realtor Magazine, “One in six Generation Xers and younger baby boomers purchased a multigenerational home pre-COVID.” Again, with everyone being stuck inside their homes, these multigenerational homes are even more focused on individual spaces, such as separate offices and second living rooms.
Staging Studio’s recent webinar highlighted on how multigenerational homes are greatly benefiting from additional entrances into the home. With COVID-19 looming around every door, a little suite attached to the home is a great way to help keep family members who could have potentially been exposed from those who are still healthy. The concept of the “mother-in-law suite” has expanded past just in-laws and developed into more or just a general space for anyone. This extra room or rooms would additionally have its own bathroom, fridge and microwave. A home version of a hotel suite. A great way to show this in a staging manner could be through a guest bedroom that has an ensuite and door to the patio, or showing how a lower level with a bar and walkout patio could serve as a second home inside the house. A great selling feature during COVID-19, but also a potential rental income later on. What better way to show how multi-purposeful a space can be!
With new priorities to buyers future homes, you would think that there would be limited options inside a buyer’s desired area but it is rather the opposite. 22% of Realtors surveyed by NAR say their buyers are becoming less concerned about commutes. They are no worried about living as close to their workplace as they were before. They are willing to drive more to get more house and property. A better bang for their buck. This increased search radius has allowed these new needs of buyers to become a possibility.
Whether you are looking to sell your house or redesign your current home to better fit your needs due to COVID-19, contact us about a FREE complimentary 30 minute consultation! Our Owner and Lead Designer Jodi Peterman will sit down with you to get a feel for your specific project. We can give recommendations and provide you with an estimate for what YOU need. Let us help you achieve your vision for you ideal space. Whether it is designing an ideal office like in our How To : Create Your Ideal Work Environment blog or staging your current house like in our How To Successfully Sell Your Home blog, our team can do it all! Give us a call at 515-986-1895 or shoot us over an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.
Until next time friends!