Work-From-Home and the Future of Home Buying

As more and more companies are embracing the work-from-home model in light of the current events, we think that some of the parameters that normally drive home-buying decisions will change. As people are making plans to buy new homes, a number of new factors are going to affect the types of homes people buy as well as their locations. This could potentially create a new market for home sellers to take advantage of when advertising their homes. Today we are going to speculate on some of these qualities that may affect home-buying in the future.

The Home Office

Where once having a office space or spare bedroom was considered more of a luxury, people may be more and more drawn to requiring a dedicated home office area in their new home. They may even need multiple rooms to function as usable office spaces if partners have work-from-home jobs.

If this is something you are looking a dedicated office space for in a new home, you may want to keep these questions in mind:

  • Is this room wired for internet and phone?
  • Is this room located away from distractions such as TV, kids, street noise, etc?
  • Is there enough space for your equipment, files, office furniture, etc?
  • If you are meeting with clients in your home, is there easy access to the space from the entrance or is it possible to install a dedicated entrance? Zoning rules might be a factor if you’re having frequent business visitors.
  • If there is not a spare bedroom/office, are there spaces in the home with enough room to multi-function as an office? Maybe a space in the basement or above a garage could be finished to gain additional space?

Home sellers may also start featuring extra rooms as potential office spaces and using in-person or virtual staging to showcase this more often.

City, Suburbs, or Rural?

One of the biggest factors for choosing a new home often times is the job commute. However, with more work-from-home options, people are able to open up to the possibilities of choosing places further away as on-site job work become more optional/flexible. Especially with the motivation to having a dedicated home office space, people may look further out of major cities and towns for larger yet more affordable homes. Families may also be able to focus more on moving into desirable towns/communities or places located closer to preferred schools without having to triangulate work locations. One unique consideration in Maine especially, is access to reliable high speed internet as you get in to more rural areas.

At the same time, younger professionals who may not need a vehicle to commute back and forth to work may be more drawn to finding new homes in the city. Saving on car payments, insurance, and car maintenance, they may be able to utilize these funds towards affording better apartments and condos within city limits. Enjoying the city life and being within walking distances of major shopping, venues, and attractions may be a draw for young professionals with the ability to work from home.

Personal preference will be a greater drive towards how people look at locations for their new homes, which means sellers have a great opportunity to sell their homes in a way that caters more towards work-from-home opportunities vs convenient commutes.

Cross-Country Locations

We are seeing entire companies and industries emerging that are exclusively based online or as a work-from-home model. With these kinds of jobs, more and more people may be focused on moving to places based on desire instead of convenience. Often people have been drawn to major cities across the country as a matter of finding more job opportunities, but in the future, people may choose to stay closer to their families, friends, or familiar areas. At the same time, people may feel they have more freedom to move to new places driven by factors such as cost of living, climate, crime rates, educational access/quality, and community as opposed to work locations.

With home-buying tools like virtual tours and document signing, people who work for these kinds of online companies may feel more confident about taking the plunge of buying a home in a new state. Especially with their job still waiting for them once they move, buyers may have more freedom to research and consider many possibilities for new areas and regions.

While we speculate on how work-from-home jobs may affect future home buying and selling, we still believe there are always going to be jobs that require working in a physical office, building, or job-site. Most people will probably still make considerations on their regular job commutes and convenience as a part of their home buying journey; however, we think that the work-from-home culture may create a new marketing opportunity and strategy for home sellers who may not normally be able to benefit from easy access to major cities or companies.

You can always reach out to your local experts at the Real Estate Store for more information on real estate!

Want to keep updated on local real estate listings, stories, and tips?  Follow us on Facebook or Instagram!

My brother Jack and I co-own The Real Estate Store. I grew up and live in Scarborough, ME. I became a real estate broker in 2005, but Real Estate is a family business for us. We are second generation Real Estate Brokers. My experience working with apartments and with residential construction has given me insight into cost-aware construction and green construction and design.

Posted in Uncategorized