In pre-pandemic times, real estate listings would flaunt the usual repertoire of desirable amenities: ensuite bath in the master bedroom, gourmet kitchen with smart appliances, perhaps a full basement with a wet bar. But COVID-19 happened, throwing the very idea of normalcy and the comforts of home out the window as we scramble to transform our abodes into offices and makeshift classrooms.
So it stands to reason that homeowners and real estate agents are retooling their listings for a new wave of buyers who are in the market for, of all things, a Zoom room.
What is a Zoom room?
A Zoom room is an area of a home -- be it a corner, alcove, or a dedicated office or room -- that is optimized aesthetically for webcam calls. These are not to be confused with the online virtual rooms of the same name created by the actual company Zoom (NASDAQ: ZM). Rather, these spaces simply provide a pleasing backdrop as you log on to your computer, tablet, or phone for whatever web conferencing software you're using.
Sure, you could always download one of those backgrounds that make you seem like you're lounging on a sunny beach or hanging out in front of the Eiffel Tower. But the real lure of a dedicated Zoom room is that residents can have instant access to a quiet, well-lit space with an attractive -- or at least neatened -- background for that important conference call.
How to create a Zoom room
While pants may be optional on a web call, a tidy background is nonnegotiable. With a Zoom room, gone are the days of having to stow the laundry rack or haul the kids' toys out of the line of vision. A Zoom room is staged and all ready to go -- all you have to do is sit down and get ready for your virtual close-up.
Here's how to create one in your own home:
- Find a spot near a strong internet connection. While this is more about creating a pleasing visual, technology is still at play here, so make sure you're near a router.
- Create some privacy. Ideally, a Zoom room would be part of a dedicated home office with a closed door to prevent wandering dogs or children from busting in on your business call. If this is not possible, an accordion room divider can provide partial privacy as well as a nice backdrop.
- Add seating. If a desk isn't possible, then a small table that holds a laptop, tablet, or phone at face level will be just fine.
- Arrange the background. A well-organized bookshelf. A camera-friendly accent wall. An attractive wall hanging. All of these are good options for your Zoom background. Even better, they will show your fellow Zoomers a bit of your personality through your home decor.
- Adjust the lighting. You will need good lighting -- preferably natural -- so you don't appear as a hulking figure on your web calls. Avoid sitting in front of a window, as the backlight will wash you out. (Can't do it? Get room-darkening curtains and draw them for your next call.) Likewise, harsh overhead lighting isn't a good look. If good natural light isn't available, a lamp on either side of the Zoomer is the best option.
That's all it takes to set yourself up at home. Want more Zoom inspiration? Watch the nightly news or daytime talk shows and keep an eye on what the interview guests have in their backgrounds at home.
Zoom in on a quicker home sale?
To be clear, a Zoom room won't start a bidding war among potential buyers, and it won't overshadow the fact that you haven't upgraded your kitchen appliances. But a staged Zoom room could give your house a bit of an edge with buyers should their work-from-home lifestyles continue. For a little bit of effort that you can likely reap the benefits of yourself in the meantime, zoom in on a Zoom room in your home.