The most desirable features potential home buyers are looking for range from upgraded kitchens to remodeled bathrooms, from large master suites to storage options and garages. But as time has passed, another feature has quietly climbed the list: home office space. While the climb has been steady as the work-from-home population has grown since the late 1990s, the desire for home office space has increased even more recently—this essential feature has garnered even more attention since the spread of the coronavirus created the COVID-19 pandemic. People who are exploring their options in the real estate market are looking more and more for houses that have an extra room or a separate outbuilding that they could use as a dedicated home office space, as the line between work and home continues to blur.
Having a space within the home or on the property that can function as a home office is extremely important to many people today, especially those who work for companies or businesses that offer remote work-from-home options. People are looking for office spaces that meet their needs depending on their occupations; they need spaces where they can see to the administrivia of their jobs (not to mention the day-to-day needs of a household). Further, they want to have a space that is inspiring, yet functional, where they can be the most productive; a space that is comfortable and quiet, where they are not easily sidetracked by the comings and goings of others. As Michael Scott famously said, “An office is a place where dreams come true;” and that is the kind of place people are seeking. In many cases, new home buyers might even be seeking two spaces for working at home: a dedicated office space, away from the center of the home and all the distractions that come with such a location, as well as a more centralized workspace where tasks requiring less focus can be completed an where children can work with access to parental assistance and supervision.
The need for an office at home has been growing as a priority so much so that many people in the market for a new home have considered and brokered deals that have required trade-offs, from smaller living spaces to eat-in kitchens only (i.e. no separate dining areas); people are increasingly focused on workspaces. (Note: the amount of usable space is a major concern especially for people who run their own businesses from home; there are requirements regarding space and other aspects that qualify these self-employed individuals for home office tax deductions.) There is an increasing demand for home office space that architects and building contractors are taking into account, and that homeowners interested in selling are having to address—many architects and builders are adding home office spaces to their designs, while some homeowners remodel different rooms before putting homes on the market to sell. As telecommuting (aka telework) becomes more popular as well as more necessary, having a home office will only continue to climb as a priority for potential home buyers.
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Written by: Erika Mehlhaff