With no signs of an early departure, COVID-19 may put more houses on the market, which will present more opportunities for the self-employed.
With home sales falling 21% in March and mortgage applications dropping by a staggering 31% in April in the wake of the coronavirus, the housing market was hit particularly hard when the pandemic struck. Web traffic to home purchasing websites decreased by a staggering 40%. However, with historically low mortgage rates and decreased home prices, many buyers have taken advantage of more favorable terms, as evidenced by a 44.3% increase in pending home sales in May. With homeowners wanting to get out of expensive mortgage payments or needing to liquidate homes after unemployment, it is certainly a buyer’s market. Here is what buyers are looking for right now.
Millennials are predicted to buy the most real estate in 2020. At a predicted 32% of the predicted sales, this makes up the largest portion by a single demographic. Millennials are particularly socially conscious. In a survey of 150,000 millennials, researchers found that millennials believe in activism and social issues, including healthcare, racism, discrimination, women’s rights, and more. They are also more likely to be technologically adept, so they may use InfoTracer reverse address tool lookup to check out current home sellers. They do not want to be connected to criminals or to people with a history of wrongful behavior and using this tool and further researching on social media can give them the information they want.
Conscious of the volatile economy and high unemployment rates, many homebuyers are opting for more affordable family-centric areas than expensive city apartments. Today’s buyers are less willing to attach themselves to mortgages that take up too much of their income like they were in previous generations or during the time leading up to the housing bubble burst. Therefore, buyers will look for properties that may be outside desired areas to more affordable options.
Many homebuyers take the home buying process very personally. They want to know more about the seller and his or her history, so they may perform a reverse address lookup. Additionally, with in-person showings largely minimized because of social distancing, home buyers may not get the typical personalized experience of meeting with sellers or realtors one-on-one, so they may use alternative methods to learn more about them.
Because millennials make up a large portion of the current buyer pool and social distancing guidelines are in place across the country, sellers need to ensure that their homes are listed online and that they are accessible through a mobile device. 78% of millennial buyers found their home on their mobile device in 2019. They may also want to include more tools for buyers, such as virtual walkthroughs so buyers can get a better idea about the home if they are unable to view it in person.
Because many buyers are concerned about social causes, they often appreciate homes with energy-efficient features. 89% of buyers report that they want energy efficient appliances and windows, so sellers who are looking to make slight renovations may consider making this change. Energy efficient windows and appliances help save on utility costs and also create a smaller carbon footprint, which can make buyers feel more comfortable with the greater affordability and environmentally conscious aspect.
Other energy efficient additions that home buyers report wanting to include:
- Ceiling fans
- Updated HVAC equipment
- Solar panels
Many buyers today prefer a streamlined approach and minimalist décor. Many do not want their possessions out on display, so they prefer storage options, such as built-ins, garage storage, and walk-in pantries. Sellers who are looking to renovate may also opt to add some storage features to attract buyers, such as furniture that doubles as storage, wall-mounted storage, or seating that is built in and contains storage.
Today’s home building trends still lean toward an open concept with clear sight lines where parents can see their children or interact with guests while cooking. Given the pandemic and that much time is spent together these days, this layout will still continue to be meaningful to home buyers.
Well-ordered kitchens will be important since there is more home cooking going on these days amid the potential collapse of many restaurants in the wake of the pandemic. Two of the most impactful home renovations are kitchens and bathrooms, so sellers may consider updating their kitchens and making them more spacious to adapt to the needs of today’s buyers.
While an open concept may work well in the main living areas of the home, many buyers will also be looking for a home office where they can escape and be productive. One of the recommendations to combat the coronavirus was to work from home in order to avoid contact with others. While this job practice was not the typical process and often only available to a certain subset of the population, more companies are embracing this work model. Many large corporations like Facebook, Twitter, Shopify, and Slack have announced that working from home will become their new business model. With technological advances and ready accessibility to tools like Microsoft ™ Teams and Zoom, more people will be able to work in this manner. Also, while working from home was once more prevalent in the private sector, employees who work for local, state, and even federal governmental agencies are increasingly working from home. This means that for many people, a good home office will be an absolute necessity.
Because more people are at home and many children may not be returning to school in the coming fall (at least not in the traditional sense), many homebuyers want more bathrooms. Since older homes tend to have fewer bathrooms, home sellers may consider if adding a bathroom is worth the investment.
Sometimes, it may not be possible to add extra square footage inside a home, or it may be too expensive. By adding an outdoor space, you can add onto the living space for new owners. Since many people will spend a large portion of their lives at home in the coming months, an outdoor feature like a porch, patio, fire pit, or swimming pool may help entice a buyer.
Today’s buyers are not as impressed with the cookie cutter model homes of the past in which one home can easily be mistaken for another. Instead, they want personal details and ways to incorporate their own unique style into a home. Many buyers are working with builders nearing completion of homes to select fixtures and materials that appeal to them. They may also make special requests when making an offer to add personalization to the home.
While the market today is different than the one that it was predicted to be, home sellers may still be able to entice willing buyers to purchase their properties by taking into consideration the needs and wants of potential buyers.
Do you have questions about home loans? Are you ready to apply for a mortgage to buy a home? If so, Sammamish Mortgage can help. We are a local mortgage company from Bellevue, Washington serving the entire state, as well as Oregon, Idaho, and Colorado. We offer many mortgage programs to buyers all over the Pacific Northwest. Contact us today with any questions you have about mortgages.