Garrington Property Finders: The family home reimagined

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How the pandemic has changed many buyers’ requirements for a new home - Credit: Shutterstock

Jonathan Hopper, Chief Executive Officer of Garrington Property Finders discusses how the pandemic has changed many buyers’ requirements for a new home and how this is affecting the type of property they plan to buy 

Where last year a most common requirement on a search brief was the ‘proximity to a local pub and good facilities’, this year ‘having room for a separate office or home gym’ is far higher on a client’s priorities. New home-searchers are revising their expectations of what a future property needs to provide. 

The new norm 

It is sometimes said that it takes 21 days to form a habit, so after nearly a year of lockdown it’s easy to believe that many features in our routines, such as the way we work and exercise, are here to stay. Indeed, there have been many reports in the media about the housing market being fuelled by buyers wishing to move to larger properties, further away from cramped city centres with more space and rooms to house the various activities that previously were carried out away from home. Garrington saw this theme first emerge last year.  

On a recent company-wide Zoom meeting, with property finders from across the UK, the theme was highlighted as being just as strong this year, in every location across the country. Buyers are increasingly talking about the challenges of accommodating an office, school room, gym, family social and, if possible, independent space in the place we call home. 

As a result, property search briefs have evolved and for many buyers the features which were once considered a ‘nice to have’ are now firmly ‘need to have’ items in a home. 

A legacy for the future? 

One question we would all like the answer to is ‘when will this be over and what will life be like thereafter?’ and of course, none of us know the answer to this. However, we can probably make some assumptions. Having found that a lot of us are able to work effectively from home, it’s likely that many will be reluctant to revert to a daily commute, preferring to travel 2-3 times per week instead. Likewise, having been forced to restrict our exercise to nearby open spaces or a workout area inside, we may decide that a monthly membership to a gym is an unnecessary luxury and the exercise bike is welcome to stay – if housed in a suitable space. 

New priorities 

After a couple of decades of open plan living, there is some suggestion that the new ways we use our homes will push us towards buying properties with a greater number of smaller rooms to accommodate different activities. Likewise, with the daily commute reduced to occasional visits, longer commute times can be tolerated leading to buyers looking further afield or even considering a second home which can be used (when permitted) for extended stays such as the whole of the summer holidays. Clearly, excellent connectivity is key to this approach so checking bandwidth early-on will remain of paramount importance. 

Don’t forget the old ways 

Whilst recent times have escalated changing requirements, please don’t forget that one day this period in our lives will be over, so if last year a visit to a local pub was on your wish list, don’t forget to add it now – after all, you are likely to now have a home gym to offset the visit! 

Garrington help buyers to find and purchase properties that meet their lifestyle requirements. Their local expertise and in-depth knowledge of the property market helps homebuyers to consider a wider choice of properties and purchase more effectively. 

If you are considering your moving options in 2021 and would like further information on how Garrington can save you time and money making the right decision, contact