Are you familiar with the 21/90 rule? No, not the “If you eat 21 pizzas a week, you’ll gain 90 pounds in a month.” This 21/90 rule: it takes 21 days to form a habit and 90 days to create a lasting lifestyle.
Consider COVID-19 and the 21/90 rule. Since late February, millions of Americans have eaten 90 pizzas and Domino’s stock price is now $386 a share. Which just goes to prove we should have purchased stock instead of pepperoni. Whoops, I digressed. Back to business. Where was I? Oh yeah…
Since late February, as Corona customs ramped up, previous daily habits were canceled along with school. Our new normal now seems old hat. And what is the new normal? A “home-centric” focus. Home office, home gym, home schooling, home date night, home improvement, home entertainment, home delivery, Home Depot, – need I write more?
This quest for a home-centric lifestyle translates directly into my business – after all, I am a REALTOR®. I perceive four major pivot points in this home hub lifestyle.
Driver #1: Must Have’s
Previously, many of my buyers insisted on short commutes, neighborhood restaurants, pubs and coffee houses and nothing below a 9.5 walking score. What is the current Must Have’s? #1: Home Office. Followed by more space and…more space – indoor and outdoor. Check out the current must haves as reported by the National Association of Realtors.
Driver #2: Must Move
COVID compulsion has replaced last year’s ambivalence. Twelve months ago, buyers would nonchalantly drawl, “Oh, we’re just looking. We really don’t have a timeline. If something comes along we really like, we’ll let you know.”
A year ago, I would show twenty homes before writing an offer. Last weekend five before frantically firing off an offer to join six others already on the table.
Why? Two reasons: meager Austin inventory and historically low-interest rates. Buyers are pouncing.
Oh, in case you are curious – yes, the sellers accepted our offer (Woo Hoo).
Driver #3: Many People, More Pets
More of my buyers want multigenerational homes. “We’re rethinking the retirement center/nursing home option,” I hear. “Mom and Dad want to help with homeschooling and basic house chores. We think it might work.”
Across America, pet adoption shelters are reporting empty crates and vacant runs. By Mid-March, one state’s Human Society’s web page for foster animals saw a 754% increase in page views causing the site to crash.
As a result, homebuyers need yard space, fencing, and ideally near proximity to dog parks. I hear frequently, “Are there really good Vets nearby?” Pet priority is so potent, 43% of American households would move for their furry friend.
Driver #4: More First-Time Buyers, More Second Home Shoppers
This home centric focus is particularly strong among first-time homebuyers. They are more diverse than ever: blended families, young adult couples, roommates pooling resources, and singles all deciding now is the time. I hear a common refrain, “We can’t go out, we can’t travel, we’re just stuck in an apartment with a crowd of other stuck renters. Somethings gotta change.”
Remote working is leading to remote second home searches. If commuting is no longer a concern, then why not live in a safer/cleaner/pristine place? If high-speed internet is an option, then all other options are viable – especially rural addresses.
COVID commenced a new normal; a home-centric lifestyle that will endure for years to come. And what does this mean for sellers?
- Prep your home for pets.
- If you do not have an office, convert a bedroom into one.
- Oh, one last thing. Make sure your prospective buyers find pizza on your kitchen counter. It will make them feel at home.