5 tips to make your home office a huge selling feature
Realtors across the board are reporting higher interest among buyers in homes with offices, and it’s no wonder, now that 42% of the U.S. labor force is working from home full-time.
This historic change in working conditions isn’t going away any time soon. According to Business Insider, many big-name corporations like Google and Indeed still have their employees working remotely, with no immediate plans to bring them back to the office.
Some of the country’s largest homebuilders have unveiled new concepts that highlight built-in workspaces — yet another sign that the home office will be in demand for some time.
If you’re preparing to sell your home, this is the best time to show off your home office. If you don’t have one, create it! These tips will turn any home office (or soon-to-be office) into a buyer magnet.
1. Find the right spot
You might already have a room that serves as a home office, but if you don’t, all it takes is some creative thinking to make it happen. There are two must-haves for any home office: space for a desk, chair and lamp, and access to high-speed internet.
The best spot is any room without a closet, even if you can only dedicate part of the room to a workspace. While bedrooms remain an important selling feature, a room with no closet can’t be considered a bedroom in your real estate listing, so the next best thing in many buyers’ eyes is a home office. Any space with a door is ideal, now that Zoom calls are on many people’s agendas and quiet spaces are highly valued.
In the absence of a room, look for any unused space in your house. What are you doing with the area at the top of your staircase? A stylish secretary desk and a gorgeous chair will turn that dead space into a sought-after home office, without making the area look cluttered or unsightly.
What about the space under the stairs? If it’s good enough for Harry Potter, it’s definitely usable for a small desk, chair, and lamp. A bigger closet, especially one with double doors, can turn into a beautiful workspace with a wall-mounted desk and floating shelves.
If you choose to use a bedroom as a dual-purpose guest room and home office, you can delineate the office space with an attractive area rug. Now that the home office is in such high demand, think about replacing the guest bed with a sleeper sofa to highlight how much space is available for the office.
If the home office will share a room with a den or playroom, separate the spaces with low tables with storage space, or use a partition. You can also use area rugs or tall houseplants to show where one space ends and another begins. When in doubt about the best spot to put the workspace in a large area, use the windows as your guide. Having a workspace that includes a view will take your home office to the next level in potential buyers’ eyes. Keep blinds and curtains open during showings so buyers can see all the lovely natural light coming into the home office.
2. Create calm and balance
The goal in staging your home office is not to give people an image of your workspace. You want them to feel like they’re looking at their future workspace. You want the space to project calm and balance. We get it: the actual home office is probably the source of some stress, aggravation, and clutter. But not the staged home office. This space should say to the buyer, “Look how organized and productive you will be in this beautiful home office!”
What induces calm? First of all, the desk surface needs to be almost completely clear, with the exception of the all-important lamp and some pens or other supplies in fun containers. It’s okay to have storage in the home office, but the desk should definitely not be used for storage.
Anything that looks cluttered, like piles of paperwork or shelves crammed with bankers boxes, need to be removed. Get rid of any devices that are not needed in the space, like a large extra monitor, bulky printer, or scanner. Wrangle unruly cords and cables with black zip ties that will blend in with the cords.
The main colors in the space need to be neutral, including the walls, furniture, and flooring. Choose calming colors like light blues, beiges, or grays. Paint trim in creamy whites to complement the calming wall color.
Balance is another important element of a well-staged home office. Use shelves for a small collection of books and a few decor items, rather than a lot of either one. If the furniture projects a masculine look, balance it with feminine accents like soft fabric on the chair.
Related reading: The best neutral paint colors to sell your home fast
3. Have fun with furniture
One of the many perks of the home office is that you’re free from industrial, over-sized, bland office furniture. Take advantage of this perk and have fun with the small assortment of furniture in your home office. Peruse antique stores for unique tables that can serve as desks. A beautiful armoire can turn an alcove into a perfectly functional workspace while using wall space for efficient office supply storage.
When it comes to chairs, you can have a lot of fun choosing a stylish design to make your home office look modern and sleek. Just because an office chair has the word “office” in the name doesn’t mean you have to resort to a sad monstrosity that would fit right in at Dunder Mifflin.
Keeping in mind that you’re showing buyers their future office, it’s important to depersonalize the home office before you put your house on the market. It’s hard for the buyer to see a home office in their future if someone else’s family is looking at them from a frame on the corner of the desk. Remove diplomas, certificates, bulletin boards and family photos from walls, shelves and the desktop. Replace them with gender-neutral art that appeals to a wide audience.
5. Add pops of color
Walls covered in bright, vibrant colors can increase productivity, but one thing they don’t increase is excitement from potential buyers. Rather than taking the buyer on the “Yes! A home office! Oh no, I have to paint this room ASAP” emotional roller coaster, confine your bright colors to a few accents. You can get just as much energy from some well-chosen pops than from committing an entire room to Pepto pink.
Vibrant colors can come from plants and flowers, wall decor, light fixtures, book collections, and decorative items on shelves. You will definitely need a desk lamp, as your home office should have as much light as possible. The lamp is a chance to have fun with color and design.
Keep reading: 2021 Colors of the Year