Remote work options are rapidly transforming many industries, but they’re particularly impactful in real estate. Agents in the field will notice an increase in clients who are remote workers, as well as a shift in their expectations and needs.
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Real estate agents often understand the value of working remotely: remote work is ideal for individuals who spend time meeting with clients, visiting locations (such as homes for sale), and taking appointments. This gives real estate pros an inside perspective on the remote worker-friendly accommodations many of their clients desire.
As remote work becomes more commonplace, so does the demand for office space, even at home. In 2015, 23% of all employees report doing at least part of their job outside a business location. Homes with multiple bedrooms aren’t always best marketed that way; instead, an empty room could become a furnished office space.
This especially impacts the staging of the home. If the interested demographic is more likely to want an office than a nursery, prospective sellers (and their stagers, agents, and interior designers) should consider presenting that extra bedroom as a dedicated office space. Some families have multiple family members working entirely from home or attending classes online.
Technological improvements can also help a home sell. Here are some questions to consider:
● Does the prospective home office have enough electrical outlets?
● Is the home smart tech enabled?
● Does the window open for fresh air during the day?
● Is there a way to isolate oneself from outside noises when in the office?
Catering to the large number of people looking for that remote workspace at home is an obvious win for any real estate agent. Accordingly, real estate agencies must project a brand identity that understands the needs and desires of remote workers. They can create a brand identity that resonates with buyers looking for remote workspaces and generally working with remote technology.
Tech-savvy branding can include a focus on:
● Customization and personalization
● Ease of use, especially for technologically capable individuals
Think of brands like Esurance and Airbnb, which deal in real estate-related markets. These brands showcase their reliability and accessibility to the app user, and real estate agencies can do that as well.
Let’s take a look at the type of remote worker likely to gravitate toward a tech-savvy brand. Many workers in the tech industry spend some of their time working remotely, while the rest is done in an office. From 2016-2026, the number of available roles in IT is expected to increase 13%, making it the fastest-growing sector.
With heavy industry demand and frequent turnover, real estate agents should anticipate catering to new employees who need to move quickly and who will possibly move again in a couple of years.
This tech job relocation process happens quickly, largely due to the nature of the recruitment process. Recruiters in tech use advanced recruiting methods involving analytics to source candidates quickly and effectively. For the job candidate, this means that their life can change in less than two weeks, and they may need a new place to live immediately.
As more workers contribute remotely, startups and even larger corporations seek to minimize the overhead created by large office spaces. At some tech companies, workers on different shifts “hot desk,” sharing the same desk space at different times. Particularly in trendy urban locations and Silicon Valley, office space is pricey, and remote work reduces the need for space.
How can commercial real estate agents compensate for this? Consider staging office space to make the most out of small workspaces. Part-time remote workers require flexible solutions. With the movement against the open-office floor plan, which often results in workplace disaster, commercial real estate agents should consider staging office spaces for flexibility and privacy.
In tech, everything moves fast. Machine learning may soon outpace humans’ capability to adapt. Tech-related offices require agility in every aspect, and that often means flexible employee work schedules.
Remote workers use tools like Trello, Airtable, and Asana to collaborate and manage multiple projects. Agents shouldn’t be surprised if their clients link them to one of these tools, as well as links to online real estate listings.
With the demand of fast pace often expected from remote workers, these tools are the only ways for some to stay organized. Agents should be used to accepting Google Calendar invites as well, as that’s how many remote workers manage their shifting schedules.
Without a requisite commute, remote workers no longer feel trapped in expensive urban dwellings. Those who rented five years ago may consider home ownership in suburban or rural locations for the first time thanks to remote work. This enables them to enjoy a lower cost of living while earning the best possible wage they can through an online employer.
This has created an increase in demand for cost-effective starter homes. As birth rates in the United States decline, more people are looking for that spare office. Nontraditional living arrangements are becoming more common as well, such as friends living together permanently. Additionally, multigenerational living is convenient for remote workers who must stay at home to care for their aging parents.
Considering the rapid pace of tech advancement, fast relocations due to IT work, the availability of remote work on the rise and the needs for home offices, real estate agents should plan and market accordingly.