All Things Real Estate: Buyers looking for flexible home office space

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What do buyers want in homes today?

I am quite sure we all have had enough of this Covid-19 pandemic, I know I have. But we still must be cognizant and very aware of the fact we are dealing with people’s lives and must do whatever it takes to keep our client sellers, investors, purchasers, renters, and lessees of residential and commercial properties safe and healthy by wearing our masks, gloves as needed when showing property and even throw-away booties in certain situations.

In addition, carry hand sanitizer with you at all times, especially when doing open houses, as well as a temperature-taking device to make sure none of your clients have any abnormal situations occurring that they may have or not want to admit to! Also, attention sellers: Your agents must have the necessary Covid-19 forms as well as the housing anti-discrimination forms and must make sure everyone who enters your home should have their temperature checked as well.  The agents must present the three forms to the clients and have them completely fill out those questions that may apply to them.  We have to keep those records for three years!

Now to the subject matter at hand. Do you know what buyers now want in a home that they will consider? I think it’s pretty elementary since 100 million of the 330 million-plus U.S. population who are working and doing their jobs and businesses remotely most of the time are searching for places that have home offices or spaces that can be converted, preferably on the first floor or possibly the basement or even the second floor. Quiet space away from distractions, noise, and many times the children are very important to the current buyers.

The school-age children who are doing remote learning each day or several times per week, depending on their local school’s programming, plans, and regulations due to Covid-19, will also be able to take advantage of the space if not used during those mornings or afternoons. It’s all about logistics and proper scheduling where it becomes a win/win environment for everyone! This is imperative so dads and moms can operate efficiently and effectively with a purpose and get back to earning a living. However, the space can also double as a classroom for your children for learning, studying, and doing homework when not being used by you for your job or business or if it is available, create a second space for the kids.

Another item that buyers are looking for (maybe demanding) is open outdoor space, especially those who have or who are relocating from New York City where they have been in such close proximity to so many people as well as in many other U.S. cities, which has subjected many more to the potential virus. The infection rates were and are greatest in those cities and the chances to be infected were overwhelming, as we have suddenly seen the spike once again in New York.

Some people just don’t respect or have consideration, sympathy, or empathy for others when not wearing their masks as we all have experienced over the last seven months. It really doesn’t matter the socio-economic status of the town or individual, because it runs the gamut of those irresponsible individuals young and old.

Another space that is becoming popular with purchasers is a space for a small gym or workout area since a majority of individuals have not returned to their prospective gyms due to fear of the coronavirus. This surely could create a healthier population, assuming that the 65 percent who are obese and overweight change their unhealthy ways and eat smaller portions and less junk food and begin to exercise. I apologize if I have offended anyone, but I am just addressing the reality of the state of the “unhealthiness” within our U.S. population, which the politicians are afraid to consider or openly address or talk about.

Now where was I, oh yes, the next item that people are looking for that has become more important is your laundry room. Is your laundry room updated or renovated or at least spruced up a bit to make it more presentable than it currently is? If you have an in-law suite or a legal mother-daughter setup a makeover might be the thing to do and will potentially attract those with an older parent(s) or relative who will be staying with them or even short-term guests.

Separation of spaces seems to be gaining momentum and gaining popularity as the current pandemic has been keeping people much farther apart from each other and open spaces are not in as much demand currently as they were in 2019 and before. However, if a vaccine with the least amount of side effects eventually is created and distributed, open space should become popular once again.

Lastly, staging a bedroom, home office, or classroom space will also attract many more potential buyers who will find this very valuable and important while the Covid-19 pandemic is still with us. So if you grasp and understand the importance of these improvements, they will enable your home to gain greater exposure, to bring more eyeballs viewing your home online, and then draw appointments to see your home, potentially creating more competition from qualified, able and ready to buy families and individuals. Most important to you as a seller, is the investment you have made in those most crucial improvements that purchasers are now looking for due to the situation created by the Covid-19 pandemic and the 100 million individuals now currently working from home.

This will essentially be a huge factor aiding in attracting more buyers and will most likely give you a return on your money plus a potential profit on those critical and crucial upgrades. This will add increased value and a potential higher price that one lucky buyer will be offering because he or she not only wants to buy your home but has fallen emotionally in love with it and has to have it! Need an estimate, advice, or guidance as to what to do with your home, feel free to reach out to me anytime for a free no-obligation, no strings attached estimate.

Philip A. Raices is the owner/Broker of Turn Key Real Estate at 3 Grace Ave Suite 180 in Great Neck. He has earned designations as a Graduate of the Realtor Institute (G.R.I.) and also as a Certified International Property Specialist (C.I.P.S). Just email or snail mail (regular mail) him with your ideas or suggestions on future columns with your name, email, and cell number and he will call or email you back. For a “free” 15 minutes consultation, he can be reached by cell: (516) 647-4289 or by email: Phil@TurnKeyRealEstate.Com to answer any of your questions or concerns.

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