A few years ago, the idea of a home office was an excellent idea. It was a place for one’s financial records to live, a tranquil place where people could pay the bills, do some filing, or maybe go through their mail. It was perhaps considered a more ‘professional,’ buttoned-down version of the ‘man cave’ and a spot where people can focus on getting some work done.
Home Offices are No Longer Optional
In the past, homeowners with a home office likely had another office at work; the home office was extra and convenient. It allowed them to get more done and work from home when needed. That’s not to say many Americans didn’t work from home entirely; many have been working from home for years. They have worked as virtual assistants, outside sales reps, entrepreneurs, etc. People have worked from their home office for years.
But that was before COVID – the global pandemic upended many accepted workplace practices, causing many employers to send their people home. They now work remotely from somewhere else.To many, the once-remote home office became their primary place of doing business, rather than just a temporary spot. Even though some workplaces have just begun inviting people back, some have discovered that a home office is practical, functional, and maybe even a necessary part of any home.
So, suppose you don’t have a dedicated office. In that case, there are plenty of reasons why you should create one, either by renovating your current space or designating an office in a new home you buy.
Things to Consider When Thinking about an Office
Indeed, “I need a new office space” shouldn’t be the prime reason whether you should upgrade to a new home. Still, it can be a consideration when you start putting together your pro-con list of whether to move or stay put and renovate what you have.
The following information can help your thought process.
- In terms of overall ease, moving into a larger space just for an office has some advantages. It would be easy to say, “Let’s put the office here,” after looking at things like sunlight and view when going through your new space. And then you’ll move everything in. In contrast, your options might be more limited when incorporating a home office into an existing space. Perhaps you can turn a guest room or a hobby room into an office. Beware, other family members may not be excited to give up their areas, such as a family member’s bedroom, a household game area, or a recreation room.
- Converting an existing room can get messy, whether you do it yourself or bring a contractor in to do some or all of the job. You’ll need to move furniture in and out of your home during the process. That may be desks, filing cabinets, chairs, couches, and perhaps bookshelves. You also might need some wiring done if you want features like high-speed internet or networked devices. If you’re working, these things could make it challenging to renovate your home simultaneously.
- Home renovations can also cause issues with your family. They are tiring and noisy, but they can be messy too. Suppose you build an office in your home. Some items may need to sit in common areas or another family member’s room. One advantage of moving into a new office is that the noise, mess, and construction are complete when you move in. No one was around when contractors added wiring, windows, walls, etc. Once you get the furniture in, the office is complete. If you choose to buy a home with an office, you might save your family a headache.
- How much a home renovation or new office costs can vary. It depends a lot on what you are doing. It shouldn’t cost too much if it’s just moving pieces in and out of a room. But suppose you’re completely renovating an entire space or building an office. If that’s the case, you’ll need to get estimates, designs, and approval from the county (in most states) to begin building. Your project costs will vary based on several things. If you’re hiring a contractor, get with one quickly, so you can budget, save and plan accordingly.
- Resale value. Suppose you’re considering creating a home office. In that case, it could improve the value of your home, which could be favorable if you’re planning to sell your house in the future. An office could be especially appealing to a buyer who wants to work from home, especially in today’s world when most employees do. Right now, home offices add value to a home, but that may change if workers return to work in mass.
Overall, there are advantages and disadvantages in both scenarios. The right choice will likely depend on your unique situation. Be sure to think things through and try to remove emotion. Get quality advice from professionals and your family and make an informed decision. If you have to buy a move-up home, at least you’ll know it’s the right move!