Office Space – the necessity, not the movie.

Some of you may remember the 1999 comedy Office Space which is about the drudgery of working in an office and more. Here we are 20 years later, and it seems 2020 made many of us first-time telecommuters and away from that old “office space.”

The work-from-home situation during a shelter-in-place-order may not be ideal, however, the experience may increase the demand for this option from both employees and employers moving forward. The need for such flexibility has been growing steadily with concerns as basic as the time, energy, and cost of commuting. With lessons learned during this crisis, employers may be more willing to untether employees while realizing both operational savings and increased employee job satisfaction. In a recent online article Kate Lister, President of the Global Workplace Analytics, notes “Employees around the globe are not at their desk 50% to 60% of the time! That’s a huge waste of space and money.” Knowing that companies of all sizes will be looking to reduce cost as we transition into the future, many of us may be looking to create an office feature in our existing home, or adding an office space to the criteria for our next home purchase.

home officeWhile some of us will consider converting a closet, guestroom, attic, or garage space, others are interested in adding square footage. If you are thinking of adding space, following are a few points to consider~

Determine your budget. Obvious right! The cost of construction for a room addition has many variables including your location, lot size, design style, technology needs, and other existing conditions. If you currently do not have excess funds for your room addition, mortgage rates remain low and many may take advantage of this event to refinance and pull out equity for home additions and improvements. Often, we provide a free, general cost estimate so that our clients have a point of reference to make their decisions.

Office Space or Bedroom Addition? Many are focused on the immediate additional square footage to meet their current home office needs. However, if you are one of those many, you might also consider your housing market, current value of your property, and the likely increase of this space as an office versus dedicated bedroom. While you may not need a bedroom now, the value of your home at a future sale may increase greater if that new space is considered a proper bedroom. There are a few construction details required for a room addition to be included as "bedroom" and a County fee, so the overall project cost may be slightly higher for the bedroom addition. While every situation is different, in most situations the value of the home after any quality room addition will increase your property value, it might boost a little higher if the space you build now can be considered a bedroom in the future. For those of you living in Orange County, California, following is a link to general tax information on adding to your home -

Obtain referrals, locate, and interview architects. Most room additions are straight forward, however you will need architectural, structural engineering plans and in California, a Title 24 Energy Calculation report to submit to the City during the plan approval process. Many architectural firms will be able to provide all required documents.

If you are living within a Homeowners Association (HOA), contact them to obtain their requirements or special instructions regarding the plan approval and construction process.

Make sure you provide your architect with the HOA documentation if the architect is submitting your project on your behalf.

When to start? Most people will want to get started soon after deciding to add the space. But I recommend you take time to scan through your calendar and consider what activities or events you and your family have planned, that may need to be worked around during construction. Weather in your area may also be a consideration.

In summary, while 2020 has held many challenges, I genuinely believe that working from home will be given greater consideration as an efficient solution with solid benefits for employees, employers, and the environment. If you live in the southern California area, please feel free let me know if you would like a free consultation on any of your home addition or renovation projects.

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