We may find that the pandemic has created a large group of buyers and sellers who hadn’t even considered moving at this time last year. I call them the COVID movers.
Employees once wanted – needed – homes within a short commute to the workplace. Now, many of those employees are working remotely from home, and plan to continue. They and their employers see the benefits.
Those who work remotely are now free to move farther from the workplace.
COVID movers can flee to the suburbs or the countryside to enjoy more space and perhaps a quieter lifestyle. They can have their own yards and room for kids and pets to play. They can HAVE pets! And, if public outdoor spaces once again become off limits, they can enjoy the outdoors in the privacy of their own back yards.
These COVID movers will likely have a second priority – a dedicated office space, extra bedroom, or basement that can be converted to office space.
Parents who found that home schooling is the right thing for their children may also be looking for different homes – ones with space for a classroom.
The bonus for many in this group is that they could find themselves purchasing “more home for less money” and enjoying lower property taxes.
Then there are the “Cooped-up” COVID Movers…
A second group of “COVID movers” could well be those who were under lock-down long enough to feel caged-in by homes that afford residents no private spaces. It should not come as a shock to learn that the divorce rate this year is up 34% from last year – and that the trend began a mere 21 days into lock-down.
Some will move because they want more space. Others will sell because they’re divorcing.
Most of us need a bit of alone time every day, and some houses don’t afford that opportunity when everyone is home.
The second “space issue” for COVID movers…
Because some are fearful that while this pandemic is receding, another could come along, a secondary issue could be storage space. Small homes and efficiency apartments lack space for a pantry or a freezer.
Some city-dwellers didn’t think they needed it. They had enough refrigerator and cupboard space to keep snacks or the makings for a light meal on hand, and they ate most meals out. Then suddenly, they couldn’t do that. I have a feeling that over the past several months there have been a lot of people shopping nearly every day, then living on frozen dinners or learning to cook.
COVID isn’t the only reason many want to move – or have already moved.
Fear is pushing many from the cities. Knowing that your home could be the target for looters and rioters is not a comfortable way to live. Neither is being afraid to let your kids play outdoors or being afraid to walk 4 blocks to work.
Those who can are getting out. We hear their mayors crying about it on the nightly news.
I believe COVID movers and fear movers will cause an upheaval in real estate markets across the country.
Supply and demand will affect pricing in many areas. The shift has already hit my own small town, where home prices are up by 30 to 50% already, and homes are selling fast.
There are no high-paying jobs here. This is a fading timber town. We have no big-city amenities, no shopping malls, no night-life, and not even one really good restaurant. Also – no rioters or drive-by shootings.
What will happen to prices in places people are leaving?
I think there will be buyers for those homes. Some will prefer to live in the cities, and some will prefer small homes, no matter what. Others will be willing to gamble that all of this will shift at some point in the future, so there are profits to be made in the long run.
But… how much will they pay? That remains to be seen.
It could be that you will need to polish your short sale skills in order to help some homeowners.
What can you do right now to increase your own business?
Prospect, of course. How you should prospect to COVID movers and those feeling crime will depend upon whether you want to list their homes or help them find new homes a bit farther out.
The first step is to create your list.
If you know your territory well, you probably have a good idea of the neighborhoods where people working in jobs that allow them to work remotely are living. You also know which neighborhoods are home to small dwellings and apartments. If you live in a city plagued by rioting, you know which neighborhoods are most at risk.
If those are your territories, you’ll probably want to go prospect for listings.
If your territory or territories encompass neighborhoods or communities which could well be their preferred destinations, begin sending information about your market: the average prices, the homes available, etc.
Take a little time to think about the COVID movers and the fear movers.
Choose which segment you can help most, then get busy. If you’re not sure what to say, or don’t want to spend the hours to write your own letters, check out my selection of real estate prospecting letters.
If I don’t have what you need, let me know. I’m always happy to create a new set of letters – either custom for you, or to add to the collection.
Working from home image courtesy of Startup Stock Photos at pexels.com