Home Offices Sell: Fast-Track Your Listings to Quicker Home Sales

As a real estate agent, technology is important to you. You use it every day to conduct
business, do research, access potential clients and to communicate. You know technology use is growing. What you may NOT know is that technology and home offices are quite possibly one of the biggest selling points a house can offer.

While family size is still declining, the number of people working full-time or part-time from home (and those executives that need full-office access from home) is on the rise.

Statistics You Can Use:

According to the most recent US Census reports, the number of individuals working from home has nearly doubled since 1980. See if the following Census statistics on the “home office” workforce in the United States describe your ideal buyer(s):

  • The greatest number of individuals that work from home are ages 25-59, with the largest percentage of those being age 40-44 years old
  • Substantially more women work from home than do men (the only exception is age range 55-59, with 0.9% more men than women)
  • Most of those working from home fit into the following business categories (in descending order):
    • Management
    • Sales
    • Business and Financial Operations
    • Profession and Related occupations
    • Service Occupations
    • Personal Care and Service Occupations
    • Office and Administrative Support Occupations
  • The overwhelming majority (67.4%) of these individuals work 50-52 weeks per year and 65% worked for 35 or more hours per week
  • 48.4% have a bachelor’s degree or some college and 12.9% have a graduate or professional degree
  • (NOTE: The figures above do not include individuals working full-time, who work from home on a part-time basis, while commuting to work part of the time.)

    Convert Spaces into a Home Office:

    When advising listing clients on how to best stage their home, you may want to encourage them to dedicate a space to creating a home office for showings. Even if the house can’t dedicate a bedroom, there are other ways to capture under-utilized spaces for this purpose. Have your client consider converting a utility room, a too-small family room or even an isolated nook of a larger room.

    “Found spaces” lend themselves well to home office creation. Odd shaped areas, like extra large landings between floors and wide hallways that continue well past the entry doors to rooms on either side, can become a home office. Your listing client may also capture a section of a sunroom or enclosed porch, reassign the use of a butler’s pantry, redecorate a master bedroom’s “sitting area” or convert a large walk-in closet. Any of these could function beautifully as a home office.

    Unlike standard living areas, creating a home office in a more remote, less easily utilized/accessed space is ideal. When working in a home office, being out of the direct line of family living is a bonus, not a problem.

    So consider re-assigning a pool house, part (or all) of an attached or detached garage, attic areas (over the main house or garage or other buildings), or basement areas.

    (NOTE: Rural homes, in particular, are becoming more attractive to those buyers who wish to escape the city and begin (or continue) working primarily from home. Current technology makes the dream of working from home, more economical and more viable than ever before.)

    Help Your Listing Clients Prepare:

    If you are guiding your listing clients as they create home office spaces, remind them to ensure the space has:

    • adequate plugs
    • excellent lighting
    • a good view (if possible)
    • phone/DSL wiring
    • ample storage
    • cable (for additional ISP options and the ability to monitor stocks and the news)

    The home office should be both comfortable and efficient. Storage matters here – but it doesn’t have to be built in – it will show just as well with freestanding desk and filing areas, cabinets, and bookshelves.

    Don’t forget a comfortable reading chair with a table and lamp, if space permits.

    You may want to discuss the option of renting office furniture “month-to-month” during the listing period with your listing client — if the home office concept is particularly hot in your area.

    Market the House:

    Remember… it’s usually a single room that sells a house. If you focus on creating an impressive home office space – it may be the key to accessing the exact demographic you want to reach!

    You aren’t just selling a home; you are appealing to an individual.

    • Be sure you “play up” the home office asset when you market the home.
    • Ask questions of potential buyers to help them recognize the benefits a home office may offer their current job (or an anticipated future job or business)
    • Outline the particulars of the office in your written descriptions, photographs and virtual tours

    (NOTE: Consider creating a list of homes with nice home offices as a “niche market” for yourself. Create flyers that you can include in information packets, relocation packages, or post these on the web as special interest listings.)

    Market the Home Office Concept:

    Utilizing technology to “telecommute” or work from a home office makes sense. And with today’s fuel prices… it makes dollars! One selling point for using a home office, even just two days a week, is how much money will be saved without the commute. You may also want to mention the family time that can be gained, which would otherwise be spent on the road.

    Realize that there is a growing entrepreneurial sentiment, a common dream of working from home that many individuals nurture. Even if they have not recognized the need of a home office, the appeal of having one is great and offering homes that boast that option is alluring.

    Using this information to appeal to potential buyers can help you sell your listing client’s homes faster, for more money. A small investment to create an effective office space can pay big dividends.

    Technology and work have “come home” for many people. Make it available to your clients and help them sell their home faster – even in the toughest housing market. When you market a home, you aren’t selling walls with a roof … you are facilitating a lifestyle!

    (NOTE: If you would like more information on the demographics of home office workers, visit www.Census.gov, where you will find demographics specific to your own state.)