As noted in a previous column, selling your home as a retreat is an excellent way to raise an otherwise ordinary property above the competition. A resourceful agent can thereby broaden the market, attracting even out-of-state buyers.
Another, less commonly recognized strategy is to emphasize the possibilities open to a property with a potentially great home office.
As rental rates and home prices along the coast soar to new heights, and hiring rates remain level, more and more we see young entrepreneurs and telecommuters flocking to our area.
Just about every home has a spare bedroom that could work as a home office. But here are some plusses that could give that room the look and feel of a place where business gets done with pizzazz.
• Great lighting. Plenty of studies show that fluorescent lights, with their bluish hue and shadow-free effect act negatively on productivity and morale. We recommend skylights, SolaTubes, sliding glass doors, and as much natural light as possible. As a by-product, these assets will also help reduce energy costs in an intensively electronic office.
• Built-in shelves, drawers, and cupboards, to avoid the need for antiquated file cabinets.
• WiFi connection
• Space for at least two comfy chairs, if the office will deal with drop-in clients.
• Easy-care flooring, to reduce non-business maintenance chores
• No distracting views.
From our own experience and anecdotes from clients, we’ve learned that you could probably get more work done facing a brick wall than an entrancing vista (although Nikki’s former home office with a river view was probably her favorite ever). In choosing the space for a home office, a view of the back yard is less distracting than a view of the street.
If you happen to be a home-seller who’d like to take advantage of this lucrative market niche, you’ve doubtless noticed that some of our recommendations might require a few modifications.
Our consulting contractor estimates that even if you adopted every suggestion, the total tab would probably run to less than $4000. However, if that’s not in the budget, here’s an alternative solution.
Get an architectural rendering of your “idealized” office to show to prospective buyers. (You won’t need an architect for this; a high school student in drafting could do the job.) A further sweetener might be to offer a commensurate price reduction.
In a market currently flooded with not-so-special properties, a well-appointed home office is a great way to give your home a competitive edge.
Nikki Holmes is Broker/Owner, and Annie Holmes is publicist of Gold Rush Realty. Contact them at HolmesTeam@GoldRushGroup.net (530) 906-7745, or at Gold Rush Realty offices in Auburn or Fair Oaks.