Can a home office help sell a house?

A few years ago, the well-organized, customized closet became a must-have item on practically every homebuyer’s checklist.

Now you can add a custom-built home office to that list.

A custom-built home office typically features built-in bookcases or cabinets and a built-in ergonomic desk. They’re in demand these days because technology makes it easy for just about anyone to work from home, at least part of the time.

And so, in this buyers’ market, a well-designed, custom-built home office can add value to a property. Here are five home office tips that can give sellers a competitive edge.

1. Have a lot of bedrooms? Turn one into a home office

If you own a home with four or more bedrooms, consider turning one of those rooms into a customized home office. Many people today shopping for homes have fewer children, so they probably don’t need four bedrooms. At the same time, just about everyone could use a dedicated workspace.

When building customized home office furnishings, make sure to include room for a wireless network router, DSL or cable modem, printer, and a desk space big enough to hold two large monitors. (Many people today have two monitors connected to their computer.) Also, add to the desk an adjustable, slide-out keyword tray large enough to accommodate a keyboard and a mouse or other input device.

One other suggestion: Don’t build a customized desk that directly faces a window. Glare from that window will make a computer screen on the desk difficult to read. Sure, you can lower the blinds or close the drapes. But many people prefer to have natural light as they work.

2. Add a home office to the first floor, if possible

If your home has two or more stories, add the home office to the first floor if you can. That way, if a future owner of your property wants to meet clients in the home office, they don’t have to take them upstairs—which can be awkward at best.

3. Have a small house or condo? Get creative

Don’t have tons of bedrooms? Look for an area in your home that might accommodate a home office. I’ve seen people transform a hallway corner into an attractive, perfectly functional home office.

4. Don’t want to spend the money to build a custom home office? Stage one instead

Instead of staging all bedrooms as bedrooms, stage one as a home office. For more about staging, see my article, “How to stage your home for maximum impact.”

5. Equip the home office with plenty of wall sockets

Older homes may have only one or two wall socket panels per room. That’s just not enough for a home office. Ideally, you should have one panel on each wall. Some wall sockets have gone high tech—such as this socket with two built-in USB ports for recharging iPhones and other gadgets with just a USB cable.

Also, make sure the home office has three-pronged wall sockets instead of the older two prong sockets. You might need to hire an electrician to ensure the home office is properly wired to power all the equipment of a typical home office.

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