Where are they now? It is a question that is most asked about actors, musicians or sports heroes who had, at one time, been well-known but then had faded into the woodwork only to reappear years later, hard lived and well-worn, as a competitor in “Celebrity Apprentice” or “Dancing with the Stars.”
Where are we now? It’s only been 10 or so weeks since I was last bemoaning the malfunction of my crystal ball. For the record, it still isn’t working. It’s OK though. We really don’t need it. Nearly three months into our new normal, we are beginning to get a clearer vision of what our corner of the world is going to look like moving forward. We have all been pushed outside of our comfort zones, some to a point where the zone isn’t even visible. Any opinions aside, good or bad, ready or not, for better or for worse, it is our new reality.
While many of us have been working from home, we have uncovered a great advantage. Aside from wearing the same pants every day for a week, we have also learned that we are so much more relaxed, happy and productive when we don’t have to make the drive to and from work. This also gives us more time in our day for the stuff we like to do outside of work. As a result, more of us are going to make this work from home thing the status quo.
Since, for most of us, this sheltering in place for the past few weeks has turned out to be more time than we have ever spent at home at one time. Consequently, we have found that our current shelters are woefully inadequate if we are going to continue to spend so much time in them. Anyone who has been to a home improvement store lately can verify that the attempt to switch things up is endemic. Pardon the pun.
While small homes with temporary office spaces and low maintenance yards were once popular, especially among the millennials, we are seeing an immediate shift to bigger home offices, large yards with built-in family entertainment areas such as fire pits, home playgrounds and swimming pools. While none of these amenities really add monetary value to a home, they do add intrinsic value. Experience trumps expense.
We have also learned the importance of sourcing materials locally rather than globally, not only to support our own local economy, but also out of necessity as the global market has become somewhat inaccessible and unreliable. Many have even gone so far as to grow our own crops (if zucchini and dandelion greens can be considered “crops”).
Technology in homes will become more paramount, as will an adequate number of bathrooms. Storage space for organization to promote productivity is also essential, as well as home gyms for those of us who are gym rats. While I could go my entire life without another shopping mall experience, when my gym closed, that was the hardest blow. Necessity is definitely the mother of invention. Nearly every room in my home has doubled as a gym at this point.
As the real estate market continues to stay hot, due to a combination of low interest rates, low inventory and a shift in functional need for individuals and families, we will continue to see an increasing presence of online home tours, FaceTime walk-throughs and virtual open houses. As Realtors, this makes our job even more crucial, as buyers and sellers will need to rely on our detailed reports, both visual and verbal, to make imperative decisions. We will be here to do the leg work.
Meantime, I’m still mixing it up between the brick and mortar of both my home and work offices, as well as my vehicle, depending on where I am at the time; and in the interim, I’m planting a few more crops, just in case.