Pandemic Leads Buyers to Expect More

selling a house pandemic changes buyer appeal

Selling a House Means Preparing for Buyers, Pandemic Raised the Bar

For anyone looking to sell a house, there has always been an expectation of having the house “show ready”. Meaning, cleaned and de-cluttered or possibly staged in order to make the best impression with buyers. But the COVID pandemic has changed how we look at housing. Desired has become necessary. Defining space has become a premium. And, for many new buyers, the idea of a “first time” home has gone away. Instead, particularly for Millennial buyers, the focus is on a long-term house. One that will carry through the school years.

Five Key Changes Pulling in Buyers

Housing preferences have always changed and evolved. This is nothing new. But the pandemic has opened our eyes to how we view the home as a duality of space. It has to be able to serve as both the home and the work and/or school space. This is all due to the pandemic and it is unlikely to be a short term mindset. Here are five changes that have become essential in the minds of many buyers.

  1. Space – buying a house with two bedrooms and one bath is less appealing when buyers are thinking long-term. A second bathroom, mudroom or designated pantry has moved up on the buyer’s criteria list. New homeowners want to know they have options for long stay-at-home periods.
  2. Home office – a home with a home office immediately has more appeal to buyers. Stage a seasonal sun room as an office and it will draw in buyers faster.
  3. Sanitary options – upgrade faucets to a touchless style can create buyer interest even in a kitchen or bathroom that requires other updates. Anything that changeable to reduce the transfer of germs will create more appeal for buyers during showings.
  4. Storage – basements are no longer the creepy place where all the mechanicals are kept. The request for finished basement space has shot up. The more useable the space, the more value. Even as storage for canned and paper goods as well as freezer space.
  5. Fixtures and finishes – for the past decade or so, the finished nickel, satin nickel look has dominated most home trends and renovations. There has been a gradual return to yellow finishes such as brass or even copper. But beyond the design shift, brass and copper are metals that have high natural antimicrobial properties (which is why they are so frequently used for plumbing).

What to do when Selling an Aged House?

If you are selling your house but don’t have the energy, time or money needed to make all of these changes. This does not mean your house won’t sell. But it does mean you have to expect a lower price (which is still probably higher than a year ago) compared to other homes selling on the market. If you have the ability to make some changes, talk to your realtor and find out what buyers are pressing them for the most and start there. Or, sell your house to a non-traditional buyer (such as GLG Homes).

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