By September 9, 2013 Read More →

House hunting when you need a home workspace

Is it easy to find a house with room for a home workspace?

Home WorkspaceI get the impression from the media that many more houses now have a home workspace, so when freelance copywriter Sophia Moseley mentioned she was moving house, I was curious to know if the house hunting process is any easier for home workers than it used to be. This is what Sophia found when she searched for a house with a home workspace in Dorset this summer:

Sophia, did you mention home working when explaining to estate agents what type of property you were looking for?
We have moved rather a lot in the past few years and we have found you cannot rely on the agent to send you details of properties you want! I didn’t mention home working because I am not convinced they would understand quite what it meant and if they misinterpreted it we could have missed out on the ideal place.

Did they make any proactive suggestions or just fill in the usual information eg number of bedrooms etc?
We have found that since the advent of online business, letting agents are less proactive & mostly rely on you seeing the house you are interested in and contacting them. But when we register with an agent, the initial questions are always generic: how many bedrooms do you want, how many adults and what are the ages of our children; do we have pets, etc (it always amuses me when they ask about pets immediately after the children question!)

Were you offered suitable details for properties that could accommodate a home workspace or did it all seem a bit random?
In the first instance we were sent virtually every property they had on their books in our designated area, so yes, very random! Our biggest challenge was finding a house that was within a reasonable distance of our sons’ schools, so it was more a case of looking at all properties within a set radius; then narrow the choice by a process of elimination on the basis that we needed a spare room I could use as a home workspace.

Did you find that many properties you viewed are being used for home working already?
Some of the houses use the spare room as a general office, but there wasn’t much to suggest a business was being run from home e.g. no stock or supplies piled up.

Is it easy to find out how good a broadband connection you will be able to get, bearing in mind the speeds advertised are often, shall we say, over-optimistic?
Not at all easy, the agent seems to have a stock-in-trade response based on what the media say i.e. the connection is very poor and we must speak to our ‘service provider’. In fact even the opinion of the person living in the house shouldn’t be relied upon as we discovered – the connection at our old house was extremely poor and frequently disconnected, but in our new house it is reliable and much faster. However the previous tenants had complained about the speed!

Did you see any properties with purpose-built garden offices, extensions or conversions of the garage etc?
No, without fail the garage has been used as a storage area for boxes & bikes and I haven’t seen extensions or conversions. That being said, there is a very pleasant garden shed here that would make a perfect summer home workspace!

Sophia’s experience suggests not as much has changed as I believed and hoped. Have you moved home recently? Did you find it easy to find a house that could accommodate a home workspace?

Enjoyed this? You can see where Sophia previously worked in the first of the Through the Home Office Keyhole series that she inspired.

Posted in: Home offices

4 Comments on "House hunting when you need a home workspace"

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  1. We moved 3 months ago after a 2 year search which included ‘must have garage and home working space’ same results as above from estate agents, a generally useless bunch of lazy people.

  2. Oh dear, not very positive reports about estate agents from our home workers. Rather disappointing, I was hoping there would be greater understanding and help available now.

  3. Rosie says:

    It may depend on the area.

    A good 10% of the properties in my road have home run businesses, and companies at that as they’re listed on Duedil etc.

    There must be many more sole traders as I know there are at least 3 businesses in my building where the address isn’t public.

    • I wonder how many people keep it quiet when they’re moving on because they know they shouldn’t be running a business in the property? Or maybe estate agents haven’t yet cottoned on to the fact it is a strong selling point for some buyers/tenants.