It's hard to know where to begin when predicting into a void.
Actually, it's more like predicting into a tornado--are we near the end, in the eye, or somewhere in between? Every time we think that we can tell what will come next, COVID seems to throw a wrench into the works. It seemed as though vaccinations would make all the difference for Connecticut, and we were clearly outpacing the rest of the country in getting shots into arms. Even when it became necessary to get a booster, we stayed out in front of the curve. All of a sudden, the Delta and Omicron variants hit us--hard. With a positivity rate currently at 20%, most of our time seems to be spent cancelling plans.
What does that mean for buyers and sellers?
If anything has become clear over the past two years, it is that life goes on. We have learned to cope with working from home, social distancing, mask wearing, and remote shopping, even for houses. RTO (Return to Office) plans are up in the air, and we all have to live somewhere. Increasingly, that is becoming a question of existential proportions.
Where do we feel best?
- What kind of work meets our needs, and hopefully feeds our souls?
- How will our particular talents fit into a future world of remote work and increased social needs?
- What level of socialization do we require, and how is that best delivered?
Those questions may seem far from real estate, but they aren't. As the whole world is upended, the basics matter more than ever. Figuring out what you want is the first step in getting to your goals. You may be weighing tangible factors like climate against practical ones such as distance to an office, or you may be putting proximity to family alongside of the economic outlook for that section of the country.
Time to go for bigger risks.
YOLO isn't at the top of common acronyms still, but it's never been more relevant. Think about setting down all of your various considerations on paper, then weighting them for probable outcomes. Then assign a numeric figure to each branch, based on what following that plan would likely bring in in earnings, and cost in travel and cost of living. This is called a decision tree. The idea is that, in the end, you will be able to attach a number, even if it's not exact, to each choice you have. If you end up thinking that another result would have been better, that's a good indicator that some of the numbers you attached weren't realistic.
For example: You can work remotely, and live in Austin, or you can be in your office in NYC, but live in Connecticut. Will you keep the same job? Will it pay the same, no matter where you work? What will housing cost? Now add in the option of living in an apartment in NYC, maybe with a vacation home elsewhere. Now, do you need a car? Will you be closer to entertainment and friends, but will it cost more to go out there? How often will you travel to visit relatives? None of these have exact costs--it all depends upon how you choose to live. Will you exercise outside and skip the gym in a better climate? Will your company require you to fly back at regular intervals, or pay you less to work elsewhere?
The list may seem overwhelming, but it's the first order of business. Finding a home comes after you decide what you want to do and where you want to do it. And that's the clearest New Year's resolution one could imagine!