Back to Business: Home (With Kelly Allen)

Let’s talk about where we’ve been hanging for the past sixteen months.  Our homes.  We bought our family home just north of I-285 back in 2015.  We seriously overbought (#suburboverbuy is one of my favorite things).  It was way too big, needed some work (but the layout is perfect), in a cul-de-sac, in a great swim/tennis neighborhood, and good proximity to the country club.  As much as we rolled our eyes at the time, the lockdown made us SERIOUSLY appreciate the space we have, and the friends we’ve made in our neighborhood.

My good friend (and realtor) Kelly Allen was instrumental in convincing us that this was the right house for us, and we are so glad she did.  I’ve known Kelly done quite a few real estate transactions over the past 15 years, and whether in a buying or selling situation, she’s always been right.  Her experience and instincts are dialed in.  As a result, we love this house and enjoy the projects – both big and small.  Our kids love this house.  We feel safe in this house and look forward to growing and raising our boys here.

However, the real estate market has gone berserk since last March.  Covid, civil unrest, changes in the current and future work environments have caused everyone to take a hard look at their living situations, and to try and make them better.  I’ve seen so many of my friends make a move.  Kelly and I were talking about this the other day, so I asked her to put her thoughts together.  She knows her stuff, so pay attention:

The world is finally beginning to feel a little more back to “normal” these days. We’re once again able to travel, go to concerts (something I’m excited about personally!) and hug each other! Some of us are starting to go back into the office as well which makes me curious about all of our zoom rooms and multiple home offices:

How will return to normal post-pandemic change the way we live in our homes?

Beginning last spring, my phone was flooded with calls and DM’s from past clients and friends — a volume I’ve never experienced in my 21 years as a Realtor — who had decided that if they were going to have to quarantine they wanted to do it in a space they loved. People began rethinking what “home” means to them. And if they were going to work from home then they could work from anywhere.

My clients all of a sudden wanted:

  • More land in quiet locations
  • Dedicated home offices
  • Finished basements
  • Incredible outdoor spaces
  • Less open floor plans (I knew this day would come!)
  • Closer to family
  • A swimming pool — once considered a terrible investment if your home was under $1M now became the backyard feature to snatch up.

Many of these priorities made pandemic life more than bearable. Some won’t be sustainable as we return to normal. Here are my predictions for changes in post-pandemic house-shopping:

  1. Distance to work/commute times will become one of the top priorities again for those buyers who are going back to the office full time.
  2. The condo market will come back, big time, because of work and as more people look to downsize into a lifestyle with little to no maintenance
  3. Swimming pools will remain on the wishlist for fewer homebuyers and farther down the list.  Be prepared for a lot more homes for sale with pools over the next 10 years due to the demand of installs in 2020 and 2021.
  4. Buyers will continue to want a dedicated home office, but the need for multiple home offices has ended. Any nooks and crannies that I showed off as perfect for 2020/2021 “a zoom room” will now be reimagined into command centers, storage (y’all, when I say I showed off zoom rooms I meant some were glorified closets that could fit a chair and desk- voila!- ANY space is an office if you try hard enough)

One thing that definitely will not change is the desire that many homeowners have to live close to hyper-local shopping and dining areas such as downtown Alpharetta, Marietta, Roswell, and Woodstock.

This pandemic has taught us what’s really important: family, friends and quality of life outside of work. I hope it’s something we don’t forget too quickly. -KA

Personally, I’m going to watch the intown Townhome and Condo market.  Kelly is right – the condo market will come back, so buying and holding as an investment/rental…now might be the time.  So let’s hear it, folks – what has been your real estate experience during the pandemic?

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7 Comments

  1. Randy
    06/30/2021 / 9:12 AM

    We also did a big suburban overbuy a few years back and I can’t recommend that enough. We grew into our house, both physically and income wise real fast. But during the pandemic we snatched a condo within a ski resort. It has become a great escape where our family spends quality time together. But on top of that the VRBO opportunities have made it an outstanding purchase. As a stand alone unit, people are traveling from all over the country to spend a few days there and we have really enjoyed helping them with everything they need to have a great vacation, plus they are paying our mortgage and allowing us to have some tax advantages. So there’s that.

  2. BJH
    06/30/2021 / 9:32 AM

    Two full time offices in our new home. One of them has been stealthily turned into a music/studio room under the cover of WFH/Covid. Woops!

  3. Brad Wesley
    06/30/2021 / 9:32 AM

    How timely as we close on the sale of our house tomorrow. Moving from SC to AL to be closer to family which became more of a priority for us after 2020. Moving from one high growth area to another, albeit smaller, area we sold our house in a week but haven’t landed a new one in several months of searching. We’ve become comfortable with the option of renting for a bit or even getting something we’ll under our budget as opposed to getting in a ridiculous bidding war. Coming from a starter house on a small, in-town lot, we do want more yard but also want to be walking/biking/golf cart ride from restaurants/retail. Tough to have it all in this market..

  4. MW
    06/30/2021 / 1:39 PM

    Listed in East Lake the first week of pandemic because we purchased a renovation project in Oak Grove. “We want to make an offer but I need to know if we have jobs next week.”

    Was under contract in 45 days and sold 2 days after we moved into the renovated house with updated bathrooms and an empty kitchen. Now wife moved into construction of our old house so she’s a trooper (to an extent). Wrapped up the reno by end of summer. Looking back, couldn’t be happier we went full speed ahead. Refi’d out of construction loan in March.

    lol at small unit 3 caps intown and 4% in Kennessaw

  5. David Brooks
    06/30/2021 / 10:37 PM

    Maybe a bit older perspective. We did our overby back in 1998. We love our house and our small neighborhood. Over the years we have finished the basement, screened in the porch and remodeled the main floor. We raised 2 boys who are almost out of the house (don’t ask). Our next home will be our retirement home, somewhere in the low country, maybe in 5-10 years.

    Enjoy the ride.

    • NEM
      07/01/2021 / 8:42 AM

      Yep, as newlyweds in 1993, we overbought in a great historic neighborhood to become the youngest no-kid residents by a couple of decades. Since then we’ve raised our two girls, graduated both from college and married one off this February. I remember the first few years in the house were so interesting. It’s a 1926 Tudor style so it has formal spaces as well as informal spaces. For years I never even walked through the dining room or formal living room. No furniture in there anyway for a couple years. But as we grew our family we filled it up. I’m only 52, and I won’t be leaving this house except by hearse if I can help it.

      • Robert Stewart
        07/12/2021 / 11:54 AM

        Here’s to Avondale!

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