It’s quite an undertaking, buying a home. There are moving parts everywhere. Add a pandemic to the mix? It seems ill-advised to buy…at least, it does to the untrained eye.
We had a chat with Jesse Laner, Realtor and C3 Real Estate Solutions co-founder. Laner has uplifting opinions about the market for buyers as well as agents and sellers. It’s heartening, considering our otherwise tumultuous circumstances.
1. Market health and opportunity
Folks want two things before considering homeownership. First, a healthy market. Second, good timing in their personal lives.
Despite low inventory and strict government health orders, the housing market’s doing well. Inventory is going fast, and with historically low interest rates, there’s more buyer advantage than in 2019.
“Your money goes further now than it probably ever has,” Laner advises.
Families haven’t all hunkered down, either. Some see the pandemic as a new life chapter. “Jobs don’t hold people back anymore,” Laner reflects, describing buyers retiring early or using the downtime to “get away from it all.”
Like so many things this year, it’s a fascinatingly mixed bag.
2. A return to nature
Those who can buy want rural properties before urban homes. To no one’s surprise, the pandemic fuels this choice. After all, that “location, location, location” adage no longer applies with offices going online and schools closing down. Travel times aren’t a big consideration anymore.
Certain aspects of urban living are now absolute downsides. Dining and entertainment are at half capacity (if they’re open at all), and close neighbors feel more like exposure risks. Urban properties do sell because inventory’s low, but they’re sub-prime cuts on a lean cow.
By contrast, rural properties have quarantine appeal. There are views, fresh air, space for outdoor toys and even room for gardens.
“Self-sustaining properties are very popular,” Laner observed. “Think like a hobby farm or a property [home buyers] can live off of if they lose their jobs.” It’s an interesting pastoral solution to a unique, modern problem.
3. Living, learning and working from home
Shelter orders and young people moving back home make for unique living situations.
“The appeal of an open floor plan is getting challenged,” Laner contemplates. He lists multi-purpose rooms some homes may lack. Dual offices, finished basements, auxiliary units and mother-in-law suites—each a far cry from the odd converted bedroom.
These preferences promote mental health as much as practicality. Laner slips into his prospective buyer’s wish-list again. “Having a lot of natural light … great kitchens … an in-home gym … there’s been a massive increase of people searching for pools.”
Laner summarizes the buyer’s frame of mind: “Can we still live here comfortably without having to leave?”
4. Safe home viewings
It’s hard to imagine buying a home without doing a walk-through. But the pandemic makes tours feel risky. And while virtual showings and photographs help, they’re not the same.
Fortunately, Colorado’s “Safer at Home” health order makes in-person showings possible.
Since June 30, agents can show homes with social distancing, sanitization and other anti-contagion procedures. Laner states in no uncertain terms that they refuse to put anyone at risk—not just C3 Solutions, but the whole professional community.
“People are honoring [the guidelines],” he said proudly. “I feel very safe … Everyone’s taking this very seriously.”
Hopefully, this means buyers can safely get the best value.
5. All this with affordability
Greeley and Weld County proper provide a healthy market, beautiful landscapes, varied architecture and, perhaps most importantly, affordability.
“We haven’t seen a dramatic decline in prices,” Laner reflects, which makes the area all the more attractive. A quick Zillow search confirms it. A 5,000 square foot home in San Diego goes anywhere from $1 million to $10 million. Similarly sized homes in northern Colorado start around $550,000 and rarely break $1 million. It’s a calm spot in a bizarre storm.
But how long will this last? Laner admits there’s no way to tell.
“Humans are social animals,” he remarks. Pandemic-related interests may end with a vaccine. What he does know is that he feels fortunate. “It’s a gift to sell real estate and help people right now, not a right,” Laner says adamantly. “The fact that we get to operate at all is a real blessing.”
To learn more about C3 Real Estate Solutions, visit mycolohome.com or follow them on Facebook.
By Emily Baudot, At Home Northern Colorado