The World Has Changed...Has My Dream of Home?

Written by Posted On Tuesday, 25 January 2022 00:00

The pandemic has changed the way we look at a wide range of essential things: home, work, careers, security, leisure, real estate….

For many real estate buyers, the vortex of change around them has altered the way they look at the process of buying and at the home they want to buy.    

Whether you started home shopping during the pandemic or you’ve been waiting for “normalcy” to return to pricing, take a deep breath and make sure your thinking is up-to-date before you plunge into 2022 home viewing.

Originally, you may have been searching with a clear picture of your dream home in mind. However, have you brought 2022 reality into your dream of home, incorporating all the changes that have arisen over the past two years and are emerging now?

#1. “Do I Have Job & Income Security?”

How will you afford the house or condominium unit? Many industries have been shaken up by the pandemic, particularly the hospitality, transportation, and medical sectors. Further, working from home is now a viable possibility in financial services and many other industries, so you may be less tied to an expensive workplace location in your choice of where to live. Some businesses may permanently close their doors while new ventures will offer new job opportunities. Technology, particularly artificial intelligence and machine learning, are impacting many workplaces and jobs. 

What changes will transform your workplace, profession, career, or business? Why are you sure that your employment or business will still be there and that your income will continue to rise?

#2. “What’s My Budget?”

Mortgage pre-approval is a smart move if you want to max-out and count-on your borrowing power. With interest rates projected to rise, locking-in your buying power may give you an important edge during transaction negotiations.

Improving your income should increase the size of your mortgage. Have you or your partner had a raise? Do either of you plan to get a better job or are you expecting more pay when you finish your current education upgrade?

Reductions in debt improve borrowing power. If you saved and paid off most or all of your credit-card debt, sold your car, or re-paid a significant amount of student loan debt, these financial improvements may enable you to qualify for a larger mortgage.

How much over budget would you, or could you, spend to purchase your dream home? Think about this before you start shopping, so you are not caught up in the frenzy of a bidding competition. If you would spend tens of thousands more than the price range you are shopping in, perhaps you should consider shopping in a higher price range from the start?

#3. “Where Do I Really Want to Live?”

Traditionally, people wanted to live near work and/or schools. Thanks to the internet, virtual working from home (WFH) and virtual schooling have allowed buyers to think further afield for a new place to center their lives. What do you want to be walking-distance from? A short drive from? What community do you want to be part of or near to? The responsibility for personal fulfillment and independence rests with you.

The shift to a lifestyle-focused, not work-centric, lifestyle has been strengthened by the forced interruption of the past two years. For instance, light pollution has become more evident to people who are stuck at home and spending more time with their children. According to the US-based International Dark-Sky Association, “light pollution is increasing at a 2x rate of population growth and 83% of the global population lives under a light-polluted sky.” Light pollution is the result of outdoor lighting that is not properly shielded, enabling light to shine into our eyes (glare) and the night sky (skyglow). Light can trespass from a neighbor’s yard to yours where it can be intrusive. Are you searching for a new home where you can enjoy dark skies or a different aspect of nature?

Many families have decided on a move to a less urban, more-for-your-money area to enjoy a recreational-based lifestyle. On the other hand, the financial advantages of sharing living space with work space by WFH or running a home-based online business can enable buyers to afford a larger, prime-location urban setting.

If you’re searching for a protective environment where comings and goings can be more controlled should this virus continue or a new outbreak arise, an island or a gated community may be the ideal spot.

#4. “Do I Want More Than One Home?”

If your pre-pandemic life revolved around travel or frequent event or sporting attendance, what do you want your future entertainment and exploration to center on? If mass travel and crowd attendance have lost some of their charm, consider a lifestyle that would keep you on perpetual holiday.

Perhaps your friends & family circle would be interested in shared ownership. Each family involved would contribute a financial share and receive use of and benefits—including value appreciation—from several homes, not just one. Or, perhaps you have the financial resources to do this alone or in a ready-made investment-driven arrangement through advisors.

• Introduce variety into your life by owning or renting different homes as seasons change. Those WFH could experience ”workations.” That is, they could continue working while in these different environments to refresh their “office” experience without breaking employer routines.

• If you want to travel, but prefer to restrict movement to environments that you can still control for safety, owning several small homes in widely-different locations may provide you with a broader, yet still safe, world. This may prove more satisfying than owning one house which you frequently want to leave. You may also expand your horizons by becoming involved in local “Being Better” community improvement programs at the various locations you’ve chosen.

• To introduce variety more cost-effectively, consider shared-ownership options like fractional ownership, which could provide worry-free access to a summer home, winter recreational property, and international get-away with timing and in locations that suit you

#5. “Why ‘Aging In Place’ Makes Sense”

Since this all began, we’ve been watching the horror shows going on in retirement homes and care facilities. During the pandemic, the impact of poor management, profit-taking, ageism, and substandard housing on the lives of individual residents became evident and frightening. These previously rarely-spoken-of “last-home” options were revealed as far-from-ideal places to spend your last precious years or to have your loved ones housed.

Now, aging in place, or staying in your own home forever, makes sense. Home buyers at all stages of life are considering barrier-free design issues like elevators, main-floor bedrooms with ensuite, accessible bathrooms and showers, adjustable-height cupboards and kitchen counters, and eliminating unnecessary steps. These and other useful barrier-free design features are valuable to everyone, but essential for those who wish for a safe, comfortable home throughout their lives. These forward thinkers also encourage loved ones, who live with them or independently, to adopt age-in-place, barrier-free design.

Advanced chronological age should not force a move to a restricted, often less-nurturing environment. Why leave behind the home you love, your beloved circle of friends and neighbors, and familiar, cherished environs at a time in your life when you most treasure them—and the security they offer?

#6. “Why Not Build The Housing I Dream Of?”

If you know exactly what you want, perhaps undertaking a massive renovation or building a new house may be a viable solution for you. This may not be cheaper than buying someone else’s dream home, in fact it might be more expensive. However, if you are sure about what you want, explore a few available options with real estate professionals who work with local builders. Their experience should help you see quickly whether this alternative is feasible and practical for you.

What will your 2022-overhauled dream home definitely include and positively avoid?

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PJ Wade —       Decisions & Communities

Futurist and Achievement Strategist PJ WADE is “The Catalyst”—intent on Challenging The Best to Become Even Better. A dynamic problem solver and author of 8 books and more than 2800 published articles, PJ concentrates on the knowledge, insight, communication prowess, and special decision-making skills essential for professionals and their clients who are determined to thrive in the 21st-Century vortex of change.

PJ Wade's latest business bookWhat's Your Point? Cut The Crap, Hit The Mark & Stick!—further proves PJ's forward-thinking expertise and her on-point ability to explain technical, even non-verbal, communication details in practical, actionable terms. Print publication: Fall 2022.

PJ: “What's Your Point?the pivotal 21st-Century business question—must be answered before you open your mouth, hit a key, tap anything or swipe. Too often 'Your Point' is not clear to you and communication remains an expensive illusion.”

As The Catalyst, PJ concentrates on enhancing communication ROI for experienced advisors, executives, entrepreneurs, business owners, and other savvy professionals, who may not have received as much formal training in communication as they have in their own field.

Onward & Upward—The directions that really matter! Reach PJ at pjwade@TheCatalyst.com and visit her What's Your Point? Blog. Keep up-to-date with PJ's popular column  Decisions & Communities

https://www.thecatalyst.com

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