Oh boy! We’ve had more calls about selling houses during COVID than anything else of late. And we get it! After all, these are strange times indeed. But don’t get too caught up in the pandemic when it comes to selling (or buying) a home. Try to think of it as anything else you have to do nowadays with all the rules and regulations – or the new normal, as everyone is calling it. Here’s the thing: If you’re selling, there are some things that are new, but they aren’t stopping people from buying. Here we list the top selling features the pandemic homebuyer has added to their checklists.
Home Office Space
So, this one should be kind of obvious. With more people forced to work from home during the FIRST lockdown (yep, who would’ve thunk we’d be in the second lock down?), the home office has become a biggy when it comes to what people are looking for space wise.
What this means for sellers: So this doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It simply means you need to give some thought to where you can feature a home office space.
Our solution: First, we focus on the word “space”. People buying a home in Toronto get the space challenge thing. Our strategy here is to assess your home and see where we can find that extra space. Chances are you’ve kind of chiseled a space out for your own purposes. Even if you haven’t, we’ll create that space with some staging genius to make a clearly defined spot that says, “Imagine your pantless Zoom calls here. Looks pretty organized and comfy don’t it?”
We’re all over the kids-home-schooling-with-you-working-from-home-thing challenge. It’s a real lifestyle cramper that can really put pressure on parents who want to be able to keep their careers on track, and their kids’ grades on the good side of straight As. But is that your problem as a home seller? We say nope.
What this means for sellers: Honestly, most likely nothing.
Our solution: Not all homebuyers have kids or are even partnered up, so don’t sweat it. If you do have a kid’s room already set up, we can maneuver some fancy foot work (square footage work that is) to make a neat little study cubby so parents can envision a peaceful co-existence 9 to 5 should the whole home study thing come up.
Private Outdoor Spaces
Since the term “shelter in place” has become the new buzz term, more people are going a little stir crazy. We all know how it feels and it can be pretty unnerving. So, the result in the real estate industry is a growing demand for people looking for their own private outdoor space. People need greenery to calm their COVID weary minds. They also want somewhere to stretch their legs and escape the prison of their own four walls. In some cases, a touch of paranoia is at play, with parents of both two legged and four legged kids wanting a safe place where they don’t have to mingle with potential virus spreaders when helping release some pent up energy. All of these things add up to homebuyers looking for their own corner of Eden where they can expand their living space and get some fresh air.
What this means for sellers: You could face a challenge if people are looking for a backyard you don’t have. However, if you do have a backyard, your home will be in more demand.
Our solution: Let’s start with the easy scenario. If you have a backyard, even if selling in winter, we’ll neaten things up and show off any existing features as best we can underneath a blanket of snow. If you don’t have a backyard, research comes into play to find the best local parks, paths, trails, and nearby greenspaces that can be touted as a place to walk the dog, let the kids blow off some steam or for homebuyers to do their morning run.
Moving Out and Up
When you think of the pandemic in terms of threats, one thing motivating many Toronto homebuyers is finding some open space in less congested areas. We’re talking way more space, in areas like Barrie. Yes Barrie. But there’s more. Areas as far north as Thunder Bay, that’s waaaaay up there, as well as areas to the east like lovely Kingston, or to the west in London are also becoming hot spots for Torontonians who have decided, “Whoa, I’m at risk in my condo space, I need to get out of here.” Add to this the fact many people have now discovered the joys of working from home and the suburbs are even more realistic than ever. Why? No commute.
Meanwhile back in Toronto, things are looking a little grim for condo owners. There are a bunch of factors at play here. First, as mentioned there’s the whole paranoid I don’t want to catch germs in the elevator thing. Second, there’s the whole short-term rentals going down the toilet thing for investors. Third, we go back to the whole I don’t want to catch germs in the elevator thing for long-term rental investment units. All of these things are causing a major challenge for condo sales which are flooding the market. So where this sector is now a buyers’ market, the suburbs and way beyond the traditional suburban borders are definitely a sellers’ market.
What this means for sellers: This one is complicated. If you own a condo in downtown TO, you could find this is not the best time to sell. Inventories are higher and prices are lower compared to last year. If you own a house in Toronto, things are fine and there’s no need to panic. People are still buying houses in TO despite what appears to be a mass exodus from the city. Last but not least, if you live in areas outside TO, you’re going to see this as a great time to sell as homes are in demand.
Our solution: Even if you’re selling a condo in the heart of Toronto’s condo jungle, we can use our mad staging skills to help your condo stand out. There are still homebuyers looking for this affordable, first wrung step on the proverbial real estate ladder, so prices can still draw in first time buyers smart enough to take advantage of very reasonable prices in this buyers’ market. Also, if the price is right, you might even be able to find a sweet spot to invest in a condo to provide affordable housing for renters. The trick is how much down payment you have, how much rent you can charge in today’s condo rental market and making it work to your advantage.
If you’re selling a home in Toronto during COVID, we’ve got your back. Mask up and let’s get together to discuss a strategy. Call us today at 416-291-7372.