We’re living in the age of the freelance economy, independent contractors, and small business owners who have broken away from the usual strictures. If you’re reading this, chances are good that you’re a small business owner or a freelancer. You work for yourself, which, while you may not always have a boss, still means you always have to hustle. Part of hustling in this economy is having the right equipment. As a contractor, real estate developer, or a fix-and-flipper, you know that if you go into a job without the right tools, your chances of succeeding are slim. The same is true with other freelancers and having that understanding of the freelance economy can help you decide what to do with a house you’re preparing to put on the market.
For many freelancers, their work revolves around their house. Whether they are contracted with a company, working for many different clients at the same time, or running their own business, their homes are where they do their work. That’s why it is as important for them to have a proper office as it is for you to have all the tools you need to fix a house. With more and more workers following this path, adding in a home office is an excellent use of your rehab budget that will make your property more appealing to today’s modern workforce.
Turning a Bedroom into a Home Office
It’s fairly common for a homeowner to turn a spare bedroom into their office by adding a desk, a printer, and filing cabinet. But if you’re working on a fix-and-flip property, you can go above and beyond by equipping the house with a designated home office. All buyers are looking for a home that meets their needs and having a room that is ready for them to start work with a dedicated office space fits the needs of many. For people in the freelance economy, buying a place to live and buying a place to work are essentially the same thing.
The most important thing a home office needs is proper electricity. Running extra wiring to provide extra outlets is crucial. People will have their PCs, laptops, phones, tablets, printers, and possibly even fax machines, all of which need a place to plug in. Take the time to consider how someone is likely to organize and utilize the space in the room, and arrange the outlets and other design features based on that. People don’t want their desk directly in front of a west-facing window and they probably don’t want their electronic equipment right in front of a ground-floor window. This will effect how you arrange the outlets. If you’re going to rearrange the electric capabilities of the office, it’s important to take into account where people are likely to want their outlets located.
The home office is also a great way to save people money by going green. Home workers spend a lot of time in their office, running a bunch of equipment. That can potentially mean a very high energy bill each month, but you can make adjustments to help a future buyer cut down on those costs. Installing energy-saving lights, utilizing smart heating or cooling systems, and putting in more energy-efficient windows are all great ways for them to save money down the road, which also allows you to bump up the asking price.
Turning a Garage into a Home Office
Turning a garage into a home office is a bigger project, and one which you’ll have to think about. People need their garage, for the most part – if not for a car than at least for storage. But if it is a multiple-car garage, or if the garage has a second story, this can be a great place to create a dedicated workspace.
A garage is more often used for a startup, but it can be a perfect home office, as well. Here are a few things you’ll need in either case:
- Proper lighting: Every office needs efficient, green, and effective lighting, but few garages have it. Setting this up in advance shows potential buyers that you have their needs in mind.
- Finished floors, wall, and ceiling: Most garages aren’t exactly what you’d call pleasant or conducive to doing good work. Being a professional requires a professional setting. Make sure the workspace is complete.
- Electrical upgrades: Many garages already have decent electrical capacities but, just like when converting a bedroom, you want to give your buyers options so that they can design the office as they see fit. If there is going to be a business, they should be able to expand and hire employees on the existing electrical system.
- Connectivity: Get the garage ready for wireless networks and broadband. It is almost required at this point.
- Windows: This is a very small thing that’s almost easy to overlook, but it makes a garage office feel much less like a dungeon and much more like a pleasant and easy place to do work. People will brighten when they see that a garage can be just as comfortable a room as any room in the house.
- Energy-efficiency: This involves heating, A/C, and fixing doors and windows to reduce draftiness. An energy-efficient garage is actually fairly easy to do, and even if it won’t be an office, it will be very helpful in the sale.
This may seem like a gamble because not everyone is going to want an office. Of course, there is nothing about either of these renovations that screams “office only.” You are simply taking the necessary steps to provide potential buyers with the option to create an office in a room that is pre-equipped to handle the needs of their business. In the modern work environment, that could be a huge selling point for your house.
At Socotra, we understand the way the economy works and what people want. Our equity-based hard money loans are perfectly designed to help you meet these needs with fix-and-flip loans that will get your house on the market and ready for the right buyer as soon as possible.
Your real estate assets are your best investments for the future. At Socotra Capital, we’re proud to be the premier direct hard money lender for California real estate. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.