Converting a spare bedroom into a home office is a budget-savvy way to get a home-based business off the ground, but eventually, your business will outgrow its cramped quarters. Whether you need more space for storage, somewhere to put an extra desk for an employee, or a more professional image for visiting clients, it’s clear that your current home isn’t getting the job done. Instead of trying to make it work in a space that doesn’t fit, why not buy a home with plenty of space to meet your business’ needs?
What to Look For in a Live-Work Property
A home-based office can take several forms, but there are some things you absolutely need:
- Business-friendly zoning: Not all neighborhoods permit home-based businesses. Contact your zoning authority and review local zoning maps to ensure any property you purchase is located in a zoning area that permits your home-based business.
- Ease of access: If hosting clients at your home-based office, it’s location should be easy to find with ample street parking and a separate entrance.
- Privacy: A home office should be separate from living areas to ensure quiet and privacy. This may mean a separate structure, a walk-out basement, or an interior space with a private entrance and waiting area.
Affording Property for Your Home-Based Business
Buying a home with enough space for your business doesn’t necessarily mean spiking your home-buying budget. There are a few strategies you can explore for getting the space you need without overspending, such as:
- Moving to a more affordable area: For businesses operating remotely, location is less important than square footage. By purchasing in a more affordable area, you can get the space you need without stretching your budget.
- Purchasing a foreclosure: Buying a foreclosure is a great way to get more home for less, however, there are a few things buyers should know before purchasing a bank-owned home. For one, foreclosures are sold as-is, so inspections are essential. Since foreclosures in good condition tend to have a lot of competition, it’s also wise to have pre-approval in-hand before making an offer. Finally, purchasing a foreclosure is a more complicated process than a traditional sale, so buyers should work with real estate agents experienced in foreclosures to avoid hiccups.
- Building a backyard office: At an average cost of $156,000, building an accessory dwelling units can be more expensive than sizing up your home. However, there are a few ways to take advantage of outdoor space without spending six figures. Several companies sell prefabricated outdoor offices, which are significantly cheaper than ADUS, or homeowners can buy a shed and convert it to a home office for as little as $15,000.
Outfitting Your Home Workspace
Once you’ve found the ideal property, it’s time to turn your home office plans into a reality. The design of a home workspace has a greater impact on productivity than many people realize. As you outfit your home office, keep these factors in mind:
- Lighting: Good lighting is a must for any workspace, but don’t limit yourself to overhead and task lighting. When it comes to staying motivated on the job, natural light is always best. To maximize natural light while minimizing glare, install light-filtering shades on windows and add skylights on north-facing roofs.
- Storage: Cluttered workspaces beget cluttered minds. If holding inventory, create a storage area to serve as a warehouse space. If storing paperwork and other supplies, opt for hidden storage solutions like built-ins and storage furniture.
- Ergonomics: If you’re going to spend 40 to 50 hours a week in your home office, it’s important to make your health a priority. Invest in ergonomic furniture and design your workspace to allow for all-day comfort.
Creative entrepreneurs make home offices work in all types of spaces, from compact nooks in studio apartments to converted attics and bedrooms. However, a makeshift home office can only take your home-based business so far. As your business grows, consider moving to a location that provides the professional workspace you need to ensure your success.
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