The Future of Home Buying
With how much the housing market has changed over the last 50 years, or even, over the last decade, it can be interesting to think about what the future of home buying could possibly look like. With uncertainty around all of the things that go into the housing market like the environment, economy, work life, entertainment, styles, and personal preferences, who knows what the process will look like in the future? But still, it can be fun to speculate.
10 Years From Now?
Although ten years doesn’t seem that far off, a lot can change in a short amount of time. Especially in the housing market.
10 years ago, unless a person was self-employed, home offices were a luxury that went unused most of the year. A converted old childhood bedroom, a guest room, or even a corner of the basement might be enough. Now, almost everyone could use a home office.
With remote working and learning becoming such a crucial part of our society, it is hard to imagine life without it. Even if people start going back into the office, it’s likely they’ll need a dedicated space for a couple of days of remote working each week. That being said, in ten years, it is likely that most homes will have rooms specifically modeled as offices. And people will be searching for a home with the number of rooms that allows them to have an office set up. Just as fewer people insist on a separate formal dining room than they once did, changing priorities will almost certainly include space for work and school. Especially since the work-from-home culture seems here to stay for many.
Another example is the open floor plan trend. It has been around for a while, and some people are realizing it is maybe not the best for them. Working or learning from home with no doors to close for quiet or a Zoom call is not ideal. But all trends come and go, whether it be sectioned off houses or an open layout. In the future, this might lead people to realize their needs are specific and will opt for more customizable layouts or buildings specific to them.
After the pandemic, people are reassessing their priorities and needs. In the next 10 years, these will come into play. Some might like something more minimalistic with less clutter. Others want more outdoor living space after being cooped up. Maybe some will want room for new hobbies or interests or even realize a new preference of city vs. rural living.
Maybe people will be wanting more concrete statistics on the neighborhood, the schools, and the community they will be living in. With increasing technology, people might use apps to get “matched” with neighborhoods based on their personal preferences.
50 Years From Now?
Buying a home 50 years from now could be quite different in a lot of ways. Just looking at a house built 50 years ago helps put this into perspective. Not only were home styles a lot different then, people couldn’t find or see houses online. Everything was done a lot slower and on a smaller scale.
Nowadays, it is fairly easy to see what you are buying in online photos and video tours. But, you still can’t really get a good feel for the home or the neighborhood without being there. Why not be there, virtually? Augmented reality has come such a long way that it is not crazy to think it will be within every industry in some way 50 years from now. Imagine being able to tour a house and walk around the neighborhood, just by putting on a headset. Maybe the ease of seeing how all of your furniture will fit into a home before having to actually move it will be possible. New technology could see its way into people’s lives in 50 years, making home buying a lot easier.
Speaking of easier, hopefully mass transit will see many improvements over the next 50 years. With systems that connect people across the country to transit systems within cities, people could become less picky about where to look for a home. For example, what if you could live on a ranch in Montana, and get to a meeting in New York in just a few hours via high-speed rail or a super-fast flight? With technology and transit getting better, in 50 years we will be able to actually spend time with people who live geographically far away. A more remote world with better transportation means you can really live anywhere.
Beyond hoping for better transit, the threat of global warming is making a lot of people take action. So, in 50 years could we see gardens with whole foods replacing lawns? Although people have been tending to lawns for decades, there’s a whole lot of value in land, especially in 50 years. Why not put it to good use? People are focused on health, whole foods, and eating healthier, and in 50 years, this could mean going back to our roots—but with the added advantage of new methods of growing and tending to our own food.
Another environmentally-friendly thing that could replace the lawns of today could be solar panels. We’re seeing solar panels being used on roofs, but if more things move to solar power, lawns could be a good way to get energy as well. Or, better yet, maybe they’ll develop a panel that collects as much energy but at a fraction of the size so it doesn’t take up a whole lawn or roof.
100 Years From Now?
While we’re at it, let's look even further ahead. What would home buying look like 100 years from now?
For starters, there might be housing for sale in a simulated world. Instead of focusing so much on the housing market in the real world, the attention could be moved to a virtual housing market. A world where someone can afford multiple houses always seems better than somewhere they can only afford one.
Even in the real world, home buying is likely to be very technology driven. We are already seeing people able to adjust settings in their home with voice command. Maybe in the future technology will detect the very sensations you experience and adjust the settings in your home accordingly. If you’re feeling cold, the temperature rises; if it’s too bright for your eyes, the blinds dim the room.
Changing technology also means a more customizable home buying experience. We expect it will be possible to build homes very quickly, even with customized specifications. And when we say custom specifications, we mean not only the shapes and sizes of the rooms, or the kinds of hardware in the kitchen. We mean a home that maintains a constant temperature, humidity, and air quality that are customized to your level of comfort (and that of your family and guests). Every new home will be able to transform a given lot into your own individual little slice of paradise. With so many people investing in good security measures, it is not out of the question that people will be taking extreme health measures in the future too.
The Future is Bright
It's fun to speculate about what home buying will be like in the future. The point here is to show that the home buying process changes, and that it continues to change at an accelerating rate. The home buying process your kids and grandkids will go through will scarcely look like the home buying process you go through today.
This makes all the more reason that real estate agents need to keep up with the technology while making each generation feel comfortable in the process. For help finding the home today, contact Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties.
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