We are without a doubt, experiencing a strong Seller’s Market as Covid-19 and continued shutdowns encourage city dwellers to pull up stakes – even temporarily – and make the move to the wide open spaces found in rural areas such as Grey County. The reality is that there are far more buyers than available properties right now, which is driving sale prices up enough that some property owners are wondering if they should take advantage of the opportunity and sell while the market is hot. Anyone looking to sell should understand that in order to sell for top dollar, a property must be at its best so it’s well worth it to take some time to get those touch-up jobs done: give things a fresh coat of paint, make those minor repairs you were supposed to do over the winter, tidy up your lawn and gardens and present your property in its best light. It is also worth keeping in mind that some properties will be more in demand than others. There are certain elements that new residents value and having as many of them as possible will give you the best chance of selling. So what are buyers looking for?
Since the pandemic began, many urban offices have been shuttered and employees have taken advantage of the ability to work remotely. Working-from-home has morphed into working-from-the-cottage and many feel it is here to stay. This obviously makes great internet service very important to buyers. Luckily, there are a variety of internet providers in Grey and Bruce counties and service is improving regularly. While true high-speed is still not available in every area, most rural towns have service that is good enough to satisfy the need. If you are preparing to sell, it could be helpful to prospective buyers if you can give them an idea of your internet’s speed as well as the maximum speed available at your location. Then buyers can decide for themselves if it’s enough to satisfy their needs and whether or not they’re willing to pay for upgrades or boosters when necessary.
AN EASY COMMUTE
While many city dwellers seem to be moving to the country, many are not yet giving up their primary residences and the amount of time they’ll be required to spend in the car and on a highway is an important factor in their purchasing decision. Ideally, buyers are looking for a spot in the country where they can feel totally removed from the hustle and bustle of the city…but they also want to know they can get back to the city in 2 hours or less if necessary. For many areas in Grey Highlands, that time frame is possible. There’s some good news for the areas that are just a bit farther off the beaten path though – slightly less demand can mean slightly lower prices, which actually opens you up to a larger market, given the current trend of skyrocketing sale prices due to competing bids. Many buyers who feel they have been priced out of certain locations are willing to look a bit farther afield and won’t hesitate to act when they find the property that is just right for them because they don’t want to miss the opportunity.
If the cottage is no longer just a cottage and has become a more permanent home base, anyone living there will need to know they can come and go whenever necessary, regardless of snow and cold temperatures. This means buyers are looking for well-maintained, winterized properties that require very little initial work. Many buyers from the city want a property that is “turn-key”, meaning they want to move right in and start living their idealized country lifestyle with little to no effort required. Getting your property updated and suitable for year round living will make it that much more attractive to buyers who are willing to pay for the convenience of not having to do that for themselves.
A GREAT VIEW
Some items on a buyer’s wish list remain unchanged over time. A key one of these has to do with the landscape. Now more than ever, buyers want to see the country ideal right before their eyes. Does your property have a spot that is just perfect for watching the sunset? Capitalize on that and set up some Muskoka chairs or a rustic bench and an attractive fire pit! Does the sun rise sparkle on your pond or at the end of your dock? Set it up like a piece of art and showcase that scene for buyers! Next comes the water itself, if you’re lucky enough to have it. Is your pond swimmable or is it full of weeds and algae? If you’re on a lake, are high-powered motors permitted (that some buyers will love if it means they can water-ski, for example) or is the lake peaceful and serene enough for paddlers and fishing? Swimmable water that also offers a picturesque view will always be in high demand.
GOOD SCHOOLS AND NEIGHBOURHOODS
When so many urban buyers are basically living at their cottages, it only makes sense for them to consider the schools and neighbourhoods their kids may eventually become involved with. Should they choose to stay put for a while, parents want to know their kids have an alternative to what is often a crowded urban setting. The wonderful community schools and organizations found throughout Grey County make a pretty persuasive argument for making the move to Grey a permanent one, so any information you can pass on to your realtor about the schools and clubs closest to your property could make a potentially difficult decision that much easier.