Are We Approaching a Possible Home Buyer Shopping Criteria Shift?

Carlee Hjelm
Carlee Hjelm January 13, 2021
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Are We Approaching a Possible Home Buyer Shopping Criteria Shift?

How has the pandemic shaped what a buyer is looking for in regards to their home purchase needs?  How has the average American lifestyle been changed?  On a large picture scheme it’s pretty safe to say that generally more people are spending more time at home. It is their safe place. Our direction and orders from the authorities in the State of Washington have been to minimize any kind of extracurricular activity and re-invent what our work and school module has looked like. Many new adaptations are taking course and it may just change what a home buyer’s expectations are moving forward in this market.

Let’s think about this – if my home becomes my gym, my children’s school AND my work environment… is it big enough? The days of being able to leave your house and enter into a new setting to get these dimensions of your life satisfied may not exist currently, and a timeline for them to re-open has not be established. So wouldn’t it be comforting to know that your home at least has the square footage and a canvas to create that virtual yoga room you crave or the well-equipped home office you desire? That your new home has some autonomy to play and create within it? Is the yard big enough to give my children and pets wiggle room if the local park or dog park is no longer in full swing? These are all questions a buyer may be entertaining that possibly would not have been a factor pre-COVID-19.

Does location or commute time to work play a factor into a buyer’s shopping experience? With the shift in society- many establishments and businesses are allowing or encouraging their employees to work from home to limit exposure. It will be interesting to see when it is safer for employees to be back in the work place how many will choose to continue to work from their homes? Some may choose to work from home still. This makes the commute process easier for others who will continue to travel to work as the traffic may not be as congested and in return better the quality of the life of the “commuter”.  In other words , whether a buyer chooses to work from home or commute - location in respects to the buyer’s work place may no longer be as impactful.

To homeschool or not to homeschool? Many parents have become more open minded to homeschooling vs using public schooling or private school. The experience of the pandemic has created a homeschooling experience for families who have never been introduced. With parents wanting to feel more empowered in their children’s education, some families have welcomed the module of homeschooling and do not need to pursue homes in particular school districts. This really opens up a home shopping experience when you are not limited to specific school district boundaries.

Being in close proximity to shopping malls, eateries or grocery stores may also not be of upmost importance to buyers when pursuing a new home to purchase. Direct-to-door delivery and shipping services seem to be a favorable option to people. Convenient resources such as Amazon, Instacart and Uber Eats have become well known to the American family.

Rural areas may become more favorable to home buyers as some may experience a level of comfort distancing themselves from the population. Their thought life may be more along the lines of quality interactions with others vs quantity. Rural neighborhoods decrease exposure levels and health risks of homebuyers and their families.

These are just a few economic influences or changes that may alter the mindset of the buyer moving into 2021. As a person’s ideals and beliefs may change in these different times - their values change and envisioning how their home fits into those parameters may bring up a different list of needs in comparison to their past shopping experience. In the end, everyone’s criteria and quality of life is different. It is not a one size fits all. However, in these changing times the considerations I mention may be influential to one’s home shopping experience.

We may see a shift in what buyer’s expectations are or the falling off of previous expectations which is  good information for us as real estate agents. A great real estate agent aims to meet the needs and wants of our clients. Keeping an open mind in this new way of living may help us customize our service better to those seeking our help.  Asking questions is a good start. A buyer’s work life, school life, home life and where they see themselves is significant to our home shopping process. A great real estate agent can help a buyer manifest their vision and tailor it to their current lifestyle.  This will save energy and provide clarity for all parties involved. These are fundamental changes as we consider new post-pandemic adaptations to the home buying experience.

As we enter this new year, we are hopeful of a entering a healthy frontier. I find great joy in helping others to move forward in their personal goals and dreams of home ownership. It is safe to say that a “home” provides a more profound meaning to many and finding that compatible fit is very rewarding!

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Carlee Hjelm
Written by: Carlee Hjelm