From open concept floor plans to ultra-modern interiors, we’ve seen plenty of home trends come and go. But it’s no surprise that, since the pandemic, the latest trend to make its way onto the market is outdoor living space. Today’s buyers want homes with porches, decks, and patios. They want extensions of their living space beyond the traditional four walls. And they’re willing to pay a premium to get it.
Outdoor living spaces allow homeowners to move seamlessly from the indoor living room to the outdoor living room. This means more flexibility in how to spend time, entertain, or simply gather with family. It also makes it easier to pack up and move between spaces depending on the weather.
Since the pandemic, purchases of outdoor accessories and appliances have significantly increased. The spike really started during the lockdown in 2020 and research shows that the desire for outdoor living space is not going anywhere anytime soon. Atop the list of Americans’ planned purchases are grills, fire pits, lounge chairs, lighting, dining table and chairs, umbrellas, and sofas.
So what does that mean for your agents? It’s important that they’re well versed in the value these spaces add to a home’s potential. Not only is it key to correctly pricing and selling a listing—it also gives agents a better idea of what to look for in potential properties for their own buyers.
Let’s take a look at some of the most sought-after outdoor amenities.
Desired outdoor living space features
Right now, staying in is in. For entertainers, home cooks, and professional chefs alike, an outdoor kitchen is the perfect addition to their dream backyard. It can be used for everyday cooking and grilling—and as the spot for dinner parties or drinks on the deck. It also creates an added space for homeowners to get creative in the design and to have fun choosing from innovative appliances made for the outdoors. Homes with outdoor kitchens offer a huge selling point in the form of multiple spaces to entertain and host. Even just having the space to add an outdoor kitchen is a major plus when helping buyers envision the possibilities.
Remote work is at an all-time high. As a result, homeowners are looking for space outside to set up their offices. Victoria Tran, a representative for Autonomous, told the New York Times, “Not everyone needs a backyard office but when you have one, you’ll know this is life-changing.”
These outdoor office spaces add a level of comfort and privacy that today’s homeowners are hungry for. For agents whose clients primarily work from home, properties with beautiful patios or sun porches that double as office space could have extra appeal.
One thing we can all agree on? Privacy is a top priority. During a 2021 International Builders Show session, 85% of single-family home-buyers said they wanted privacy in their outdoor living spaces. And 77% of multifamily home-buyers desired privacy, as well. It’s a big must-have for people when looking at properties.
When your team is selling a home, make sure they’re driving home details like fences, screened-in patios, and landscaping—all of which will immediately spike a property’s appeal to buyers.
How brokerages can leverage the outdoor living trend
Help sellers make the most of their property’s showing potential
Take a look at your brokerage’s current listings and those that are upcoming. Work with your agents to make sure they’re helping their clients maximize the value of their current properties—showcasing existing outdoor amenities and suggesting improvements where it makes sense.
For example, well-designed patios can add up to 8-10% value to the home and earn an ROI of over 80%. So, if a patio upgrade can be done with minimal stress and minimal added cost, the investment may be worth it.
Educating your agents on how to properly value and sell homes with enviable features like a patio will help them provide greater value to their clients.
Encourage your agents to ask the right questions
It all starts with asking the right questions of both sellers and buyers. Help your agents understand how to find out the top priorities for their current clients, guide those necessary conversations, and continue to pay attention to the trends we are seeing. We’re used to talking to our clients and making sure the homes they buy are in locations that lead to an easy commute, but now we need to find out where they work and how they work. Odds are they now operate in a hybrid situation and the home needs to fit their living needs, as well as their working needs.
Educate and empower your team
Keeping your agents up to date with current industry trends empowers them through knowledge and experience—ultimately leading to higher performance. And at Weichert, we’re always here to help you stay in the know. Make sure you are also providing them with the right tools to help them assess buyer needs before they begin showing homes.
We provide agent-focused training that they’ll actually find useful, cutting-edge technology that top talents demands, and the tools to generate plenty of leads that help them succeed. Couple that with a productive sales system, and your current clients and prospects are sure to get a consistent, positive buying or selling experience designed to make them customers for life.
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