By Freddy Marks
We have spent more time at home, in our houses, condos and apartments in the first five months of 2020 than any other time in history! Simultaneously around the globe in March, humanity was sent home to stay home. Home has become a workplace, a classroom, a workout studio/gym, a revolving gourmet restaurant, a dance hall and a salon/spa. Home has had to become multi-functional, and we have had a lot of time to stare at the walls around us, asking if the space we live in really suits the lifestyle we want to continue to have.
These months of confinement inside has people recreating existing spaces for many different tasks and daily needs. Canadian do-it-yourselfers are keeping the building supply industry afloat with renovations to reinvent and rejuvenate spaces so they suit all the activities we now perform in them. Clever storage ideas for the living room/office, soaker tubs for the bathroom spa, and decks and patios have become outdoor container garden sanctuaries. Some are not unhappy with their home layouts or indoor spaces, but it is the lack of private outdoor space that urban lots offer, that is fuelling the rural property market surge.
People are seeking a balance of modern construction with indoor convenience, combined with large, safe, private outdoor spaces. Rural subdivisions and remote acreages are in demand, and small communities from Hope to the Yukon border are now seen with envy for their wide open spaces. Rural land has become the pinnacle valuable asset, as its ownership offers freedom and safety that has disappeared from urban areas. Happy urban home owners are driving the market in inquiries about recreational property as well. Now more than ever, a rural escape rec-property that offers access to crown land and lakes and trails has so much appeal.
Everyone’s definition of a great piece of land varies, for me, it’s a forested waterfront sanctuary, with a log cabin, fishing dock and gated access on no less than 10 acres. For others a flat, fenced, .5 acre lot with a bungalow, room to grow vegetables and let the kids play, would be heaven. Whatever you have decided, to remain in your existing home and renovate it, or make a move and change your location, now is the time to do both! Low Interest rates, warm weather and relaxed lock down measures offer the opportunity to make that move or renovate to suit.
If you planned on selling your home and retiring off the sales proceeds in spring of 2021 then it would be prudent advice to push up that plan and list now to avoid market fall that has begun to affect house prices in urban markets. The saying goes “make hay while the sun is shining,” as our precarious economic position and looming insolvencies is a dark cloud on the horizon. The last three months of 2020 are predicted to have another wave of virus along with a wave of insolvencies as government support programs will begin to run out. By putting off bankruptcy with deferrals and rental assistance, a lot of people have just accumulated more household debt and are no closer to financial recovery. More than a million Canadians lost their jobs in March and another two million more in April, the effects of those staggering numbers on the economy are yet to be felt at all levels and in all provinces.
A second pandemic viral wave is foretold for this fall, and we will more than likely be asked to shelter in place again to avoid viral spread. What you do over the next four months will decide what type of indoor/outdoor lifestyle you will be living as spring 2021 arrives and we wait to see what our “new normal” is like after a full year of global pandemic measures.
Sellers, start with a property evaluation along with collecting all of your homes documentation as the first steps. Then my advice is always hire a tech savvy, professional realtor with experience to properly price and then aggressively market your asset. Sellers, now is the time to showcase all the positives your property possesses and how functional your spaces are. Hard decisions and hard work now, is the key to positioning yourself exactly where you want you and your family to be, safe and happy in your space together with your real estate goals achieved.
Freddy Marks has been a realtor for 30+ years, and currently lives in Harrison Hot Springs.