How to Choose a Home When You’re Working Remotely

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Working from home is getting more popular by the day, as more businesses and individuals realize the productive benefits and morale-boosting effects of the arrangement. Today, more than 5 percent of Americans now work from home full-time, and millions more work from home at least part of the time.

If you’re one of these people, you may wonder what you can do to improve your working environment—especially if you’re in the market for a new home. Buying a new home is the perfect opportunity to find an ideal working environment for your career.

So which factors are most important when buying a home for your remote working career?

Your Home Office

Everything starts with your home office. This is where you’re going to be spending most of your time while working, so finding an ideal environment is a must. Different people will have different preferences for how their office looks and fits within the layout of the home, but there are a few core considerations you’ll need to bear in mind no matter what.

For example, how much space do you need? If you want plenty of space to include a massive desk and storage options like filing cabinets, you’ll need to make sure you have a room to designate as an office with ample square footage. You may also want an office with a suitable view. Accordingly, you may disproportionately value homes with an office-like room that has a good window.

Depending on how much time and flexibility you have, you may also want a room that already looks and functions the way you want. For example, you can always add more outlets or change the color of a room, but if it’s already optimized for what you need, you can start working in the office as soon as you move in.

Other Working Options

Working in a home office can get tiresome, even if it’s completely optimized for your preferences. That’s why it’s a good idea to look for a home that presents multiple alternative working options. For example, you might consider homes with a built-in patio, so you can work while enjoying the outdoors, or you might purchase a house with a porch, with ample space for furniture.

Location Considerations

Because you work from home, you’ll have significant flexibility in choosing the location of your home. Use this to your advantage, and consider the following:

  • Subjective preferences. You’re going to prefer some cities and neighborhoods over others for purely subjective reasons. For example, if nature is important to you, you’ll probably want to find a house that’s close to a park, a nature preserve, a river, or some other natural feature. If you like big city living, you’ll want to find a place in an urban area. Make a list of your goals and priorities; living in a house you love can make work much more pleasant.
  • Amenities. Also consider the amenities in your surroundings; these are important not just for your quality of life, but also to serve as backup plans for working locations. For example, are there any cafés, libraries, coworking spaces, or other communal spaces you can use as a temporary office if your internet goes down? Are there gyms and other health clubs nearby so you can stay in shape and socialize?
  • Internet reliability. Speaking of internet, your connection is going to play a massive role in your success when working from home. Without steady, fast internet, you’ll have a hard time managing your communications. Talk to people in your neighborhood to see what their connections are like, and if they prefer one provider over another. Review the providers and plans available to you before making a move.
  • Cost of living. Because you can live almost anywhere, it may be in your best interest to move to an area with a low cost of living. This can make your salary go further, regardless of how much you make.

The Moving Process

Finally, it’s important to strategize in anticipation of the moving process. Moving is stressful for anyone, but especially for a dedicated professional who relies on home space to do their work. Plan your timetables so you don’t miss any assignments or meetings during the moving process, and come up with a backup plan for somewhere to work in case there are any snags. For example, you might scout for coworking spaces or cafés in the area that you can use as a temporary office until you’re fully moved in.

Working from home gives you significant flexibility for finding a new home and moving in, but it’s important to be discerning. This is a big decision that can affect both your lifestyle and your career, and you need to take it seriously.

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Anna is the founder and CEO of Johansson Consulting where she works with businesses to create marketing and PR campaigns.