Before the pandemic, a dazzling kitchen, a spacious entertainment area and a cozy primary bedroom may have been enough to seal the deal. However, as the pandemic continues and remote working becomes the norm, buyers are looking for something else: Zoom rooms.
First noticed by Bloomberg social media reporter Sarah Frier and reported by the SF Gate on Friday, an increasing number of listings on Zillow are touting ‘Zoom rooms,’ which are high-aesthetic rooms perfect for virtual meetings.
A very 2020 thing:
Home listing in Oakland touting a “nice backdrop for Zoom calls” pic.twitter.com/ZBlHAIG8F7
— Sarah Frier (@sarahfrier) July 24, 2020
“A very 2020 thing,” Frier tweeted on July 24. “Home listing in Oakland touting a nice background for Zoom calls.”
Frier’s tweet received more than 830 likes and 20 responses from serious homebuyers and internet daydreamers who also noticed an increase in so-called ‘Zoom rooms’ on their favorite listings.
“I spend an embarrassing amount of my day on Redfin and this is actually becoming quite common,” Twitter user @DoubleLJSquared replied. “There be a decent wall in a $1.25 million place,” user @_MariaPetrova shot back in jest.
“New term: ‘ZoomScaping,'” tweeter @BobTinker added. “Deliberately arranging the visual backdrop of your home office/desk for video calls. Even if the out of view stuff is a mess.”
A preliminary search on Zillow revealed ‘Zoom room’ has yet to become a widely-used phrase, as only 14 listings in Los Angeles and San Francisco include the keyword ‘zoom.’ In New York City, 102 listings include the keyword ‘zoom,’ although a sizable chunk refers to using the Zoom platform for virtual tours.
Out of the 1,883 Zillow listings in Washington, D.C., broker-owner John Bratton was the only broker to use the term “zoom room” for his $469,000 listing on the southeast side of the city.
“It used to be location, location, location,” Bratton told Inman. “Now I think outside space and a work-live-play space are what my clients are looking for right now.”
“Before kids could go to the park, they could go to playgrounds or go to community centers, and now people are realizing how important it is to have a space for kids right in your own yard where they’re safe and secure while you’re working inside,” he added.
Bratton said the choice to highlight his listing’s multiple office spaces is a decision that has paid off — the home has only been on the market for four days and he expects to close on a deal by Tuesday.
“The thing has been who gets which office,” he said of the three serious offers he has on the table. “So, the Minnesota Avenue place is set up where you can have a quiet, secure Zoom office with a green screen that’s set up, and you can’t hear the rest of the household.”
“That was a main selling point, and I think the home will be under contract by tomorrow morning, and I know two of the three buyers who seem strongly interested in it like the option of working from home and having a space away from the family to do conference calls,” he added.
Although “zoom room” is catchy, Florida-based agent Clay Hall told Inman real estate agents should think twice about using the phrase as it’s the name of a Zoom subscription-based software product for businesses.
“When you enter that on a feature sheet in a major city, particularly in a luxury market, I know for a fact that many of the buyers will have used an actual Zoom Room at work, and expect a built-in Zoom Room system with a 40 to 70-inch display, a $1,000 to 4,000 camera and noise-canceling microphone array and speaker system,” he said in an emailed statement post-publication.
“It [could] get sellers into hot water [and] it [could] get realtors into hot water,” Hall added in reference to the risk of using a company’s name to advertise. “It [could] confuse everyone in [the business-to-business] and consumer spaces.”