The real estate industry was hit pretty badly by COVID-19 early last year. It may not be as bad as the Great Recession of the early 2000s, but it was still pretty bad considering the tremendous growth and recovery the industry had.
Things are a lot better now as we’re almost a year and a half into the pandemic. Real estate may have suffered some temporary setbacks due to COVID protocols set by the WHO and CDC. Still, it is slowly regaining momentum as companies have adapted to the new normal and devised a few workarounds to the present global health crisis.
Thanks to Technology
Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, the industry has resumed operations, albeit at a much smaller scale. But a sale is still a sale, as far as companies and agents are concerned. So as everyone around the world has fully embraced the digital age, the real estate industry had no other choice but to follow suit.
It took the industry a few months during the lockdown season to come up with ways to still produce numbers and generate sales. The decision to transition to a mostly online working environment is perhaps one of the best decisions made in the industry. This allowed companies to still close deals despite the present global condition.
Instead of conducting the typical open houses, real estate firms offered virtual walkthroughs of the properties for sale. This allowed the buyers to still see the property with their own eyes. Meetings and consultations were done via teleconferencing, thanks to apps like Zoom, Skype, Google Meetup, and even Messenger. Submission of documents and requirements are made via email, Google Drive, and other cloud-based apps. Closing of deals is also done online.
These things were put in place to minimize physical contact, which helps bring down the rate of disease transmission. While closing a deal is important to all parties involved, everyone agrees that health and safety is the top priority.
Pandemic-Induced Changes in Buyer Preferences
COVID has not only changed the way people do business. It has also changed mindsets and preferences, particularly in homebuyers.
Before the pandemic happened, most homebuyers had different priorities in looking for a home.
Aesthetics and curb appeal. Upgradeability. Open floor plans.
But since the coronavirus spread worldwide and proved to be quite a threat to one’s health, things have changed quite a bit.
Nowadays, buyers are more inclined to look for the following in a house:
In a pre-pandemic world, a lot of folks didn’t mind living in smaller houses and apartments. But all the time spent indoors with a full family changed it all. Most buyers with families prefer a house with more room for everyone to move and breathe in.
The transition to remote work and online classes has increased the demand for houses with more enclosed rooms. Buyers want to minimize as much distraction as possible so that they can focus on their work and be productive despite working from home.
These extra rooms can also be converted into other rooms such as a workshop, TV room, or a home gym that makes staying at home more bearable.
Good natural lighting and ventilation
Proper lighting and ventilation are staples in a designer’s list of considerations. However, the emphasis on these two is greater now. Allowing for as much natural sunlight and fresh air to enter into a house is healthier and a lot more practical, instead of risking going out in public.
Natural sunlight helps you conserve energy, while proper air circulation helps improve indoor air quality.
Buyers now prefer properties with ample outdoor space that will let them stretch their legs, exercise outdoors, or relax and enjoy on their porch or deck. Many homeowners even hired professional landscapers and gardeners as part of their pandemic home improvement projects to make their homes more relaxing.
Functionality over Form
Those who are shopping around for properties are looking for houses that are perfect for their lifestyle. With the lifestyle changes that COVID brought about, people are looking for highly functional homes with enough space that will allow them to remain productive at this time. These people are looking for places that have enclosed spaces that they can work in and ones that have enough space for storage and organization to minimize clutter and mess. They are no longer looking for open-flowing spaces that are pretty to look at but hard to work in. Function trumps form at this time.
Comfort and Coziness
Considering all the time we still have to spend indoors, people are looking for a house that they want to stay in. Comfort over fashion is the name of the game. While aesthetics is still important, most people are willing to compromise a little on that department to be comfier at home.
Buyer behavior and preference may change in the coming months, especially with the mass vaccination program being implemented. But one thing that won’t go away anytime soon is buyers will still keep health and safety as their top considerations when purchasing real estate