How has COVID-19 affected home buyer demands?
The list of “must haves” has shifted. Buyers want their home environment to meet critical needs that arose during COVID-19 stay at home orders.
Preparing a home to sell means we must “stage” it to tell the story of your home emphasizing features in high demand from today’s buyers.
That doesn’t mean a major remodel – but it does mean taking a fresh look at how the areas within your home are presented.
Integrate these 5 “must haves” into the story your home tells in marketing for a successful sale in today’s real estate market.
Today’s TOP 5 new features on buyers’ demand list:
#1 – Multiple work zones
No longer do people want an old fashion home office, closed off and perhaps near the front door. COVID-19 stay-at-home showed us the need for flexible space as well as multiple work from home zones.
Home office areas need to be light and inspirational. An empty bedroom can be staged as a home office.
One of my favorite easy solutions is to add a desk and chair to a large open space as an inexpensive and effective way to tell the story of multiple work spaces.
Staging can be minimalist. Think of theatre – the stage isn’t furnished, just enough to tell the story and your mind fills in the details.
It’s about visual impact and creating a mental and emotional comfort for buyers that their needs are met.
#2 – Resort style outdoor space
Demand for outdoor space has become a premium! I hear from luxury agents across the country that it’s a must have for renters as well as buyers. If you have any outdoor space, it’s critical to showcase it and create an indoor / outdoor flow, with space to work, relax, host conversations and BBQ.
Both with work from home on high demand, and obstacles we face traveling for a quick getaway, homes now need to have a staycation element.
How can we tell the story of your home so that it feels like you’re in the Hamptons?
Pools are in high demand, but you don’t have to have a pool to successfully create an at-home retreat. From small decks to large yards, it’s important to open up the indoor / outdoor flow.
Changing window coverings, rearranging furniture inside and out as well as staging outdoor patio furniture will allow buyers to visualize working from home and soaking up Vitamin D without travel.
#3 – Grand central kitchen
We’ve all found ourselves cooking at home out of necessity during our COVID-19 shut down.
I’ve never understood why as an artist I didn’t feel creative in the kitchen. That broke through during our stay-at-home and I’m loving cooking!
Unfortunate for my daughter that this happened now, instead of when she was little. But it shows that no one’s hopeless. 😁
While restaurants are starting to open, cooking at home is a lifestyle shift for busy professionals that will stay. Meal prep is an event – part of open living with dynamic conversations, not a one-person chore.
Kitchens need to be stylish, inviting, polished, open and have space for fluid conversations.
#4 – Safe and smart tech
Smart features of a home are in top demand. Both for technology connectivity as well as convenience and safety. If your home currently is not wired for today’s tech, let’s explore some modest updates to showcase your home for today’s buyers.
For instance, install a home security system with cameras. You can use a service and have them do the install. This also provides peace of mind while it’s on the market.
A smart app for front door access such as the August App won’t require a complete re-wire of your home but will greet buyers with high-tech security that they want.
While surround sound has been in high demand for new construction, the security and convenience of remote access and control is more important in today’s market.
#5 – Decompress zones
Personally, I cancelled my gym membership at the end of last year and while I thought about signing up in a new location during the New Year’s specials – I’m glad I procrastinated.
The future for gym memberships may be uncertain – but the demand for space to work out at home, and decompress is not going away.
Staging a yoga room is easy and inexpensive. I take an empty bedroom, or odd extra space – add a yoga mat and yoga ball, some calming art or zen like features and it’s done!
For larger homes often a challenge is too much furniture.
Move an extra chair into a sunlit area with a staged open book to attractively tell the story of a reading nook in a bedroom, or part of an open living space.
Staging isn’t an insult to your personal interior design taste. It’s literally theatre – setting the stage for buyers to be able to visualize themselves as the stars of their own show, instead of guests in your home.
When I work with my clients to successfully sell their home, I create a unique PR / Marketing plan to tell the story that will connect the best possible buyers to the home, maximizing exposure, creating sizzle and high demand from qualified buyers.
Our initial consultation can be done remotely using Zoom or FaceTime as we go through the home and construct a room-by-room marketing strategy for your success. Let’s talk!