Need A Small Home Office In Your New Place?
Many people are branching out into contracting positions as free agents for different businesses or becoming full-blown entrepreneurs by starting out from a home office. It's a great way to reduce business overhead by avoiding a business building lease, but a bad home office setup can be expensive to fix--and may push you into buying a building or separate office sooner than planned. Here are a few small office details to keep in mind as you look for a new home that can double as a headquarters.
Check The Electrical Situation
For most home offices, a desktop or laptop computer will be the focus. Although many tasks are easy to do on a smartphone, full-sized keyboards can make so many tasks easier. For systems that don't have battery backups--and especially to stay connected to the internet--you need to make an electrical inspection your top priority.
Before putting in an offer for a home, make sure to ask an electrician for a survey of the electrical outlets, light fixtures, and the fuse box. A standard electrical inspection can find surface-level electrical problems and major electrical issues such as severed wires that lead to important systems, such as the air conditioning, heating, or boiler systems.
If the home doesn't pass the inspection, that doesn't have to be the end of the issue. Either speak with a real estate agent to find out if the owner (or managing agency) can fix the problems before you move in at no cost to you, or if the price can be reduced if you're expected to handle the repairs yourself.
Don't shoulder an electrical repair job on your own without a discount. The electrical work can get expensive and can take away from home comfort, so make sure that any improvements are documented and factored into your budget before the purchase.
Noise Control Options
Many home office arrangements require a quick workspace. This means that you can't have friends or relatives barging in--including your spouse and/or children. You also need a way to reduce outdoor noise issues, including regular construction and traffic. The last two problems can be acceptable as long as they're consistent and you can still be heard during calls, but aim for the best noise reduction possible.
Make sure that the home has rooms with sturdy doors that can block out some sound--at least enough to block out a television or conversations from the living room. You'll want to sit inside the room while friends stand outside the window to talk, just to see how well the building blocks out the sound.
For personal concentration, be wary of downstairs offices. You'll want to listen to the sound of people walking around in the above room to figure out if the sound is loud enough to distract you from work, such as having to deal with creaking floorboards.
Contact a real estate agent to discuss other parts of home office real estate for sale options.