For the last several decades, we have been telling prospective sellers that kitchen and bath renovations, as well as upgraded flooring and owner suites, net the greatest ROI when you sell your home. And of course, in the Fountain Hills area, swimming pools are also a high demand home feature. However, in the face of the massive migration to telecommuting and virtual education caused by the global pandemic, buyers now have a new demand as they search for the ideal new home: home offices.
A recent article quoted George Ratiu, Senior Economist with realtor.com:
“As more companies have been embracing remote work, buyers are driving demand for houses with home offices higher. Homes featuring the term ‘office’ are selling 9 days faster than the overall housing inventory.”
Robert Half, a well-known staffing company, recently conducted a survey that shows 79% of American workers would prefer a work-from-home option, even if the pandemic were not a factor. As a matter of fact, telecommuting arrangements had been on the rise in the U.S. since 2004, but it’s only been in the last 5 years or so that the practice has become commonplace. However, Robert Half reported that the COVID-19 pandemic opened the door to more workers working from home – and now that those workers have had a taste of the advantages, they don’t want to go back.
On the other side of the equation, are employers that had previously resisted the change to a remote workforce, yet found themselves with few other options with mandatory quarantine and stay-at-home orders. In the midst of this upheaval, employers are now learning what many early adopters of telecommuting learned a long time ago: there is real, tangible, cost savings for companies through reduced real estate costs and the associated operational costs, as well as the benefit of more satisfied, productive employees who have more flexibility to practice work/life balance.
With so many people out of work, it’s no surprise that many job seekers are looking for opportunities that will allow them to work from home, possibly even long after coronavirus is in the rear-view mirror. Think Google reported that searches for “telecommuting” hit an all-time high last month.
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The internet is not only alive with searches for telecommuting job opportunities. Many employees who have already migrated to a work-from-home arrangement have also been searching for advice on how to remain productive while working from home. HousingWire Senior Accountant, Chris Anderson, who has experienced executive-level telecommuting, advises that having dedicated office or flex space is required for maximum productivity.
If you think you may be selling your home this year or in 2021, you may want to consider repurposing some space in your home for a home office, in order to increase the value. You definitely want to work with a high-quality Realtor, who can help you determine the most economical and functional approach, given your home’s value and the community where you are located. You don’t want to spend a fortune on a remodel, as you likely won’t recoup the cost. Approach such a remodel with potential future buyers in mind. What would they want/need in a home office, Zoom room, or virtual classroom? Natural light, built-in bookshelves, and noise reduction are features that could easily be highlighted in a listing, and will attract buyers to your home.
“For housing, the continued increase in the share of remote workers implies that demand for homes with offices or dedicated work spaces will continue to increase. The current coronavirus pandemic offers a dramatic indication of the fact that companies and employees will have to develop plans and clearer policies for remote work beyond the current crisis.”
It’s unlikely that telecommuting is going away any time soon. While the coronavirus may have created a nexus that pushed US companies out of their comfort zones, once they figure out how to operate successfully in this “new normal”, there will be no putting the genie back in the bottle. The popularity with the employees, and the need to retain high-value talent will push employers to make the change permanent. If you have the budget and the space to be on the leading edge of this trend, you can position your home to attract more potential buyers with some strategic, high-value changes.
If you are thinking about buying or selling a home, we are here to help! Susan Pellegrini and Karen DeGeorge are ready to put their care and expertise to work for you. Buying or selling, our first-class service comes with a wealth of experience and eye for detail, ready to focus on you. Visit our website to learn more and contact us or give us a call at (480)- 315-1575, we’re here for you.