Homebuying Must-Haves: How COVID-19 Has Changed What’s Hot or Not in a Home

The last two months of stay-at-home orders and quarantines have drastically changed how people are utilizing and enjoying their home. The needs of homeowners have changed and that has altered what home buyers are now looking for in a home. What used to be the “must-have” item or space in a home is changing as homes have become people’s offices, playrooms, restaurants, and classrooms. Here’s what you can expect to come back in style, and fade out, in a post-coronavirus market.

What’s In

The Rise in Home Offices

As both children and parents are now working from home, homeowners are discovering the necessity for dedicated home offices. While the new normal post-coronavirus remains to be seen, companies are already planning for employees to work remotely more often. The days of utilizing the dining table as a workspace are proving to not be functional or realistic for the new reality. With an estimated 56% of the US workforce employed in a remote work compatible field and an estimated 66% of employees currently working from home during the Coronavirus pandemic, it’s now a critical element for home buyers that a home has a dedicated home office or an area that could be utilized as one. As sellers list their homes this summer, they’d be wise to cater to this new need by staging a room or area as an office for home buyers to see the potential.

Comfortable workplace with computer near wooden wall in stylish room interior. Home office designComfortable workplace with computer near wooden wall in stylish room interior. Home office design

Taking the Living Room Outside

The yard and extended living areas have always been a factor in the home buyer’s mind. But as community swimming pools and playgrounds are shuttered due to the outbreak, the importance of ample backyard space or additional outdoor areas to enjoy and relax have risen in popularity. As quarantine grows, many are looking for ways to escape their four walls in a safe way. Since COVID-19 and food scarcity, many homeowners value the area to create their own garden. Buyers will be looking for existing gardens or spaces to create one.

A Need for Flexible Spaces

As homeowners utilize their homes in new ways, spaces that can serve double (or triple) duty has major appeal. A guest bedroom that also provides a home office area, or a bonus room that serves as a media room and an at-home classroom. Homeowners are getting creative with their spaces and needing their spaces to serve multiple purposes. For those selling in the coming months, staging to promote and define flexible spaces would appeal to home buyers!

What’s Out

Open Concept Floor Plans

Although it has been all-the-rage for the last several years, open concept makes it difficult for homeowners that are cooking, Zoom-learning, and conference calling more often. As many modern designs offer one large room that serves as the living room, dining room, and kitchen, its popularity has waned as families need more individual, quiet spaces to work and learn at home.

Stainless Steel

What has been the “gold” standard in kitchens for many years, in a post-COVID world, home buyers are looking for sanitary surfaces. If you’ve ever stepped back to look at your stainless steel dishwasher, you’ve probably seen its front cluttered with fingerprints and handprints. Having lived through Coronavirus, we know the detrimental power of transferring germs and viruses from touch. More sanitary surfaces such as copper will most likely grow in popularity with buyers. In fact, in a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine and funded by the National Institute of Health, researchers discovered that the novel coronavirus survived for only four hours on copper versus three days on stainless steel.

While the future “new normal” is still up in the air, the real estate market is still moving homes. As with other previous events, COVID-19 has forced a change in the needs of buyers—and those needs may continue to evolve as more of our day-to-day lives are changed because of the pandemic. But, buyers are already shifting their needs and wants which we can reasonably expect to have a long term effect on home design.


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Jennifer is an accidental house flipper turned Realtor and real estate investor. She is the voice behind the blog, Bachelorette Pad Flip. Over five years, Jennifer paid off $70,000 in student loan debt through real estate investing. She’s passionate about the power of real estate. She’s also passionate about southern cooking, good architecture, and thrift store treasure hunting. She calls Northwest Arkansas home with her cat Smokey, but she has a deep love affair with South Florida.

Source: homes.com

George Strait Slices Price of Custom-Built Home in San Antonio to $7.5M

The country music star George Strait has recorded a price cut on his custom-built San Antonio, TX, estate. The King of Country’s residence is now available for the discounted sum of $7.5 million.

The musician’s estate first appeared on the market in 2019 for $8.9 million, so the price reduction is a hefty discount on the earlier asking price.

For a buyer, the offering hits all the right notes.

On 12.2 secluded acres in the exclusive community of The Dominion, the home, built in 1997, offers a Santa Fe-style design by Bill Tull of Arizona. The acclaimed designer moved to San Antonio, along with his crew, to build the estate for two years while the work was carried out.

Noted for its “endless attention to detail,” the home’s standout features include 14 hand-sculpted fireplaces, stained-glass windows, saguaro cactus rib shutters, and hand-painted murals. Tull, who has since died, leaves behind a one-of-a-kind residence that could never be recreated.

“Now’s a better opportunity than ever,” says the listing agent, Tamara Strait with Phyllis Browning Company.

“Inventory is at an all-time low, and this house is spectacular. To have the acreage. the privacy, and the views of downtown San Antonio, it’s really hard to come by,” she says.

She noted that last year, the home came off the market after a hailstorm forced the owners to redo the exterior completely. It now boasts a brand-new roof and windows.

The almost 8,000 square feet of living space include three bedrooms and six bathrooms. The master suite features dual bathrooms and closets. Two oversized guest suites come with custom bathrooms. A detached casita offers one more bedroom, a living room, full bathroom, and kitchenette.

In addition, the layout offers a large living area with two fireplaces, as well as a custom-designed copper bar top with seating. In addition, there’s a gourmet kitchen and a formal dining room.

The fireplaces and some areas around the home have handpainted designs done by local artists, Strait notes. Some of the photos show virtual staging to give a sense of the interior space.

Outside, the infinity-edge pool and spa feature a mosaic finish. The patio includes a built-in grill, and was recently updated. The property also has a sport court.

In 2019, Strait, the listing agent, who is a family member, noted that although the musician and his wife, Norma, loved the house, they decided to move farther out from the city.

“They really still do love the house,” she says of the owners.

Noting that she gets phone calls about the listing every day, the agent adds that the unique abode is “a very taste-specific home,” which will appeal to someone who appreciates the custom details overseen by the country music legend.

Strait has sold over 100 million records, which makes him one of the best-selling performers of all time.

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Source: realtor.com

A great presentation: 6 easy tips for staging your own home

There’s no question that staging your décor is advantageous when you’re trying to sell your home.

The strategic editing and placement of your furnishings can be enormously important to boosting its appeal. In a recent NAR survey, in fact, 77 percent of buyers’ agents agreed staging is important to helping potential buyers envision a given home as their own. Fortunately, conducting your own staging need not be complex; you should be able to mimic professional techniques by following a few easy guidelines:

  • Prioritize by room. The NAR reports you’ll get the most visual impact by staging your living room, primary bedrooms, kitchen and extra bedrooms(s), in that order.
  • De-clutter. Cleaning will be easier after you pack away at least 90 percent of your own décor and personal artifacts. Your goal is to create a minimally decorated space buyers can imagine moving in to.
  • Deep clean. Everything must be groomed, sparkling and odor-free inside and out.
  • Divide and conquer. Plan to remove about half your furniture to give the impression of optimal space. If it’s all unpresentable, use stylish rental pieces or fake “pop-up furniture” for showings. Tip: Wherever possible, move display furniture away from walls (a technique known as “floating”) to create groupings that are tied together visually with area rugs.
  • Accessorize inside and out. Create an atmosphere of airiness, friendliness and cheer by selectively adding new flowers, potted plants, attractive seating and welcome mats outside, perhaps fresh flowers and bowls of fruit inside.
  • Optimize light. Add brighter light bulbs, pull back curtains, clean windows and clean (or perhaps update) light fixtures to add to the overall impression of positivity.

The post A great presentation: 6 easy tips for staging your own home first appeared on Century 21®.

Source: century21.com