The Remote Worker’s Home Buying Process

Home Office

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The pandemic’s influences on home life are far-ranging, prompting buyers to look at homeownership through a new lens. Remote work has created a paradigm shift in the wants and needs of homebuyers. Here’s what the remote worker should keep in mind when looking to buy.

Location

The location, location, location cliché has taken on new meaning for homebuyers who work from home. Because remote work gives us the opportunity to work from anywhere, home searches are expanding. Work commute times typically play a significant role in the home buying process; however, many buyers now have the option to view homes further away from their places of work.

Those who previously dreamed of the quiet life, but didn’t want the commute that came with it, are now able to make a move toward a more suburban environment. If you prefer to be away from the hustle and bustle of a downtown area but don’t want to feel isolated, search for properties in the suburbs with active town centers.

The proper space

When COVID-19 began sending workers home in the early months of 2020, homeowners worldwide discovered their varied level of preparedness for remote work. Some had spacious home offices and were able to make the transition easily. Others had to create makeshift workspaces out of living rooms or bedrooms. What we have learned is that a dedicated workspace is paramount to productive remote work, its importance emphasized by the unknown timeline of a return to working in-person in many parts of the country.

Before you buy: 
  • When searching for homes, understand that a home office situated in an open floor plan is more prone to distraction.
  • Look for features such as an additional bedroom, finished basement, or bonus room that offer ample space to create your remote work environment.
  • Having a designated space you can associate solely with work will not only drive your focus but helps to balance your home and work life. It allows you to wrap up the workday, leave your home office, and easily transition back into the goings-on of your household.
After you buy: 
  • Light it up: You’ll want plenty of light in your home office to stay fresh throughout the workweek. If you are next to a window, let in as much natural light as possible. Add in desk and floor lamps to brighten your space.
  • Work comfortably: While working at home, it’s easy to sit in one place for hours on end. Shop for comfortable desk chairs that provide proper lumbar support. Explore alternatives to desk chairs like yoga balls and standing desks.
  • Personalize: Adding personal touches will help to make your home office feel comfortable. Inspirational quotes, your favorite artwork, and pictures of loved ones are all types of décor that will keep you inspired in your remote work.

For all these considerations and more, talk with your Windermere agent about how your remote work is shifting where you’re looking for a home and what you’re looking for when it’s time to move there.

Posted on October 23, 2020 at 2:31 pm
Jon Holsten | Category: Buying, Fort Collins Real Estate, Housing Trends, Living, Northern Colorado Real Estate, Windermere Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Questions to Ask During Your Virtual Home Tour

Thanks to COVID-19, the new reality is that many open houses and home tours are being conducted virtually. For prospective home buyers, this new territory brings an added element to prepare for in the home buying process. Some of the questions that should be asked in a virtual home tour parallel those of in-person tours, but others are unique to today’s virtual world.

 

Could you zoom in?

  • Sometimes it can be difficult to get a true glimpse at what you want to see in a room. Asking the agent to zoom in on specific features is commonplace in virtual home tours, and they understand this is part of the viewer experience. Don’t hesitate to ask multiple times. Getting a better look at everything you want to see will help you feel like you’ve gotten the most out of your virtual tour.

 

How many square feet are in this room?

  • Virtual tours can slightly distort space, making it tough to gauge the size. The room-to-room square footage is information the agent is sure to have handy. Since you can’t be there in person, it will help you piece together the virtual visuals with the sense of physical space that we’re all accustomed to feeling in the places we live.

 

What color is that?

  • In the smartphone era, and computer era at large, we have come to understand that digital representations of color are not always true to the eye. Ask the agent to confirm specific colors so you can plan accordingly. Have a color swatch on hand or look the colors up online as you go through the tour.

 

When were the appliances last updated?

  • The importance of this question rings true in past, present, and future. Knowing the state of the home’s appliances, and the likelihood and timing of when they will need replacement, is vital information for both assessing the move-in readiness of the home and understanding what costs might lie ahead.

 

Has the seller provided an inspection?

  • This is another example of a critical question, whether your home tour is virtual or physical. If the seller has already done an inspection, ask the agent to lead you to any areas of concern based on the inspector’s findings. If there is anything that has not yet been addressed by the seller, have your agent ask what their plan is for making the necessary repairs/updates.

 

When is the offer review date?

  • Understanding the seller’s timeline for reviewing and accepting offers will help guide your decision-making process and allow you to strategize based on the timeline.

 

Whether your home tour is physical or virtual, getting the information you need to make an informed decision remains paramount. Although there is no substitute for physically being in the home you are looking to buy, keeping these questions in mind will position you well as you progress through the home buying journey.

Posted on June 30, 2020 at 3:35 pm
Jon Holsten | Category: Buying, Northern Colorado Real Estate, Windermere Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Caught Up

 

We’ve been waiting for June to catch up.  It finally happened (almost).

 

Back in April, real estate activity was significantly limited and the showing of property was restricted which caused the number of closed properties in May and early June to be much lower than last year.

 

Bottom line, fewer properties going under contract in April caused fewer closings 30 to 45 days later.

 

Closed properties in May were down compared to 2019 by 44% in Northern Colorado and 43% in Metro Denver.

 

Then activity jumped significantly in May.  The number of properties going under contract was way up compared to last year.

 

We’ve been wondering when we would see this sales activity reflected in the number of closed properties.

 

Well, it finally happened (almost).

 

The number of closings so far in June compared to the same time period through June of 2019 is only down 1.8% in Northern Colorado and 1.6% in Metro Denver.

 

In both markets, there are only a handful of closings separating activity in June 2020 versus June 2019.

 

By the end of the month, when all the transactions are tallied up, we expect that June of this year will out pace June of last year in terms of number of transactions.

 

This is significant not only because of COVID-19, but also because of the reduced inventory compared to last year.  Quite simply, there are fewer homes to buy.

 

All of this speaks to the health and resiliency of the Front Range market.

 

Posted on June 26, 2020 at 3:32 pm
Jon Holsten | Category: Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Prices Still Up

Prices Still Up

It seems that COVID-19 did not cause prices to decrease and certainly didn’t cause them to crash.

Average prices are up compared to last year:

·         2.8% in Larimer County

·         5.4% in Weld County

·         3.3% in Metro Denver

Low supply, sustained demand, and incredibly low interest rates are all fueling the price growth.

 

At Windermere Real Estate we are taking Safer at Home and Social Distancing very seriously.  Our people are following our Safe Showings protocol, staying connected to their clients, and providing help wherever needed.
Posted on June 5, 2020 at 4:27 pm
Jon Holsten | Category: Buying, Housing Trends, Northern Colorado Real Estate, Selling, Windermere Real Estate | Tagged , , , , ,

5 Small Things You Can Do to Improve Your Home Office

 

Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic, many of us now find ourselves working from home. While it’s hard to complain about the commute, working from home can be an adjustment. For example, you may find yourself doing tasks around the house and suddenly you’ve missed several important emails. If you feel like you need some help being more productive while working from home, here are five tips to improve your workflow.

 

Add Light

The best kind of light is natural light. Try setting up your workspace by a window. If that’s not possible, add a desk lamp or floor lamp to brighten your space. Not only will it help with visibility; it brightens your mood, which helps you to be more productive.

 

Declutter

Remove distracting clutter. Take everything off your desk that you don’t need. Store it elsewhere or use shelves on your wall to display it.

If you find yourself cleaning throughout the day, set aside time specifically for these tasks. If you’re still waking up at the same time you did when working at the office—which studies show is a great strategy when working from home—using your would-be commute time to tidy up helps avoid those periodic distractions.

 

Bring the Outdoors In

Bringing plants into your home is beneficial for productivity and health alike. Greenery is a natural mood booster and gives life to a room. Plants naturally purify the air, helping you breathe easy as you make your way through the workday. Try arranging both hanging and potted plants to improve the mood around your workspace.

 

Change Your Chair 

A chair that’s too tall, too short, or not comfortable is a fast track to back and shoulder problems that inhibit your workday and linger afterwards. Being in a stationary position for hours at a time requires the right kind of support to stay productive. Features to look for in a quality office chair include proper lumbar support, sturdy wheels, and an adjustable base that allows your shoulders to relax and your feet to rest flat on the floor.

 

Add Decor

It’s important to keep your home office professional and dedicated to your work. However, adding personal touches to the space will help you feel at ease. Position your work computer and phone front and center with any related work tools close by and handy. Adding pictures of loved ones, artwork, and inspirational quotes will help inspire you to generate ideas while working productively.

Posted on May 26, 2020 at 8:00 am
Jon Holsten | Category: Living, Northern Colorado Real Estate, Windermere Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Matthew Gardner Weekly COVID-19 Housing & Economic Update: 5/11/2020

Job growth is critical to the health of the housing market, so on this week’s episode of “Mondays with Matthew,”  Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner analyzes the effect of COVID-19 on employment and what we can expect for the duration of the year.

Posted on May 22, 2020 at 4:16 pm
Jon Holsten | Category: Buying, Northern Colorado Real Estate, Selling, Windermere Real Estate | Tagged , , , , ,

Headwind vs. Tailwind

So far the tailwind of historically-low mortgage rates are prevailing over Wall Street and COVID-19 concerns.

Buyers are still active.  Properties are still closing.  Moving trucks are still showing up at people’s homes.

Open house traffic has declined, but we notice plenty of buyers looking for property.  (one of our open houses last weekend had over 40 visitors)

For many, the interest rates are just too good to pass up.

We even see instances of multiple-offer situations for properties priced right in high-demand locations.

Rates today, compared to 4%, equate to not only a monthly savings for those refinancing but also equates to tens of thousands in additional purchase power.

For the average price of a home on the Front Range, the savings is $171 per month and the increased purchase power is $35,811.

Here’s what we expect to happen over the coming months.  Listing inventory and transaction volume will both decline.  We will no doubt see lower activity compared to a year ago.

But thoughts of the market “coming to a screeching halt” can’t be validated because of the historical performance of our market and because of the inherent fundamentals in place.

We will continue to track the numbers and communicate the facts so that you remain well-informed.

Posted on April 17, 2020 at 8:00 am
Jon Holsten | Category: Buying, Housing Trends, Northern Colorado Real Estate, Windermere Real Estate | Tagged , ,