Is it Time to Create a Home Office Space or Buy a Bigger Home?

Is your home feeling smaller these days? Do any of these ten situations sound familiar?

  1. You’ve tripped over dog toys in the last 24 hours.
  2. You rearranged the living room to accommodate new workout equipment.
  3. You’ve almost killed yourself on top of your cat who runs underfoot at any given moment.
  4. You have the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse theme song stuck in your head.
  5. The papers strewn on your dining room table are a blend of algebra and accounting.
  6. You’ve considered building a tiny home in your backyard.
  7. You miss the dreary dark basement you had up north. At least it was an escape.
  8. Your spouse also feels like your prison cellmate.
  9. You miss Starbucks, not for their coffee, but for the free office space.
  10. Spending time alone in the bathroom is the highlight of your day.

Don’t feel guilty. These feelings are totally normally. What’s not normal is sitting in the bathroom doing algebra and singing the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse theme song. If you get to that point, seek help.

Right now, many of us are working from home. As a result, that once-spacious abode might feel more like a cramped cabin in a hurricane with no way out of town.

Let’s face it. Living in Florida is amazing. But when life is halted and everyone is clustered inside, our basement-less homes feel small.

It’s no surprise that homeowners and renters are considering post-pandemic living options. For some, a home renovation will be in order. Others will utilize the space they have and make it work more efficiently.

For those desiring to upgrade or move, it might be time to consider that option.

So, which is it? Make space or buy a bigger home?

Whether you are a small business owner forced out of the local coffee shop and back into your home office, a parent balancing homeschooling with job hunting, or a full-time corporate employee working from home, it’s important to make space for yourself.

We reached out to the ladies at PalmerHouse Properties in St Petersburg, Florida to discuss options for renters and homeowners stuck in a snugger-than-usual situation. These are their tips:

1. Create a home office space

If you decide to stay in your current home for financial reasons, or simply because you love your property, configure a place in your home that has what you need, whatever that may be. It doesn’t need to be a designated office space.

Desk tucked into corner of living area. Image via Joy M Larkin

Depending on what you need, this space could be a comfortable chair and desk tucked into the corner of a living room, or a space outdoors under a gazebo. You could even turn your guest room into a dual purpose room, combining an office space with a Murphy bed, futon or daybed. Or make the bed truly hidden with a pull-out window seat.

If space is very tight, even a bedroom could act as a dual-purpose space. Also consider closet offices. You can easily and affordably convert a bifold closet into an office with a desk and shelves above.  Then close the doors to hide the mess.

Image via Mood Maybe

Just make sure that whatever option you choose, you have reliable internet and phone access, with a backup option if needed. You may also need a printer, scanner and filing cabinet. Fortunately many of these items can be tucked away in closets and used as needed. Be creative!

For more tips on adding a home office to a cozy Florida bungalow or small apartment, click here.

2. Set Your Office Hours

Although difficult to accommodate with small children, try to create set office hours, during which times you are not to be disturbed. This also means that you turn off the TV, Facebook any other distractions.

If you need to put on noise-cancelling headphones with gentle background music to keep your mind focused, do so. If you are partnered with kids, then create a parenting schedule that allows each of you set office hours.

3. Be Flexible

Home office space may need to be flexible, depending on weather. For example, on a beautiful day, it could be your deck, yard, porch, dog park or whatever space is safely available to you. But keep the same set office hours.

4. Have a Half-Glass Full Attitude

There are lots of pros to working from home that might make you focus less on the cons. After all, how nice is it to sleep an hour later, roll out of bed without taking a shower, grab your PJs, and walk five feet to your desk versus a 30-minute commute to the office. (Bonus Tip: Shower and dress if you have a Zoom call.) Studies show that job commute is the biggest influence in happiness; less is better.

If you have a Keurig machine near your desk, consider yourself extra lucky. For those of you who have your very own super fancy espresso machine, read this section title again. You have no reason to complain.

And the breaks! Who needs cigarettes when you can take breaks whenever needed. Walk the dog, go for a bike ride, fold laundry – the options are limitless. Just don’t forget to get work done, too.

Don’t forget the tax benefits – office space deductions, cable internet write offs, cell phone write offs… the list goes on. And you’ll save tons on cellular data because you have WiFi 24-7.

And remember to enjoy family time. Never has the family unit been so close…aside from the Brady Bunch days. Kids might even look forward to spending tech-free time at the dinner table.

For the business owner, the work-at-home set up has huge benefits, including no office rent! And with iPhones, webcams, Zoom, FaceTime, and Google Hangouts, everyone can still interact and be in attendance.

5. Upgrade

If the above doesn’t offer any relief and your need for more space is at top-of-mind, then consider purchasing a new home. There are dozens of options when it comes to real estate in Florida. From water views to backyard oases to beautiful home offices, your dream home can be found – or built!

Based on her experience, Realtor Barb Rowland notes, “when Florida buyers cannot afford water views (#1 choice often), having walkability and a home office are their next requests.” Again, the home office doesn’t have to be a designated office space. The corner hideaway desk in the image below is a perfect example of functionality and space efficiency.

Image via Front and Main

It might seem financially intangible to purchase a house with three bedrooms in the current financial market, but consider this:

  1. The average price per square foot price of a $200-300K 2 or 3 bedroom/2 bathroom home in St Petersburg, Florida is $198.24. (Based on homes sold in past 90 days).
  2. Using the average price per square foot, a third bedroom would be an added investment of $21,212.
  3.  When you consider a mortgage at 4.0 percent, that is less than $100 per month for the extra room.

In St Petersburg, Florida, there are currently 57 2-bed/2-bath homes on the market between $90K-650K and 236 3-bed/2-bath homes between $80K and $1,365K . The options are limitless based on your need.

And homes are still selling! So if you’re thinking that you need to hold off until things pass over, think again. On average, 2 and 3-bedroom homes are selling within 31-40 days on the market. There are also a handful – 11 to be exact – of homes available with pools in the $250-300K range. Wouldn’t it be nice to send your kids to the pool while you get work done? Or better yet, send your kids inside to watch TV while you relax in the water during your 15-minute break?

If you choose to purchase a new home, but still need to maximize on sleeping space, be on the lookout for items mentioned above. Dual-purpose spaces are always a bonus.

Times Are Changing

A couple of years ago there was a trend to have a smaller footprint and a more minimalist approach to home buying. But with this need for a home office (or possibly two or more office spaces depending on with whom you live), an upgrade might be necessary.

Who knows how long this pandemic will last, or how it will effect the way companies work. Our guess is that more and more people will be working from home over the next few years and it may become essential for all of us to be prepared for that situation.

Considering an upgrade? Reach out to PalmerHouse Properties for a free consultation.

Disclaimer: There is a good chance that this post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you (for which we are extremely grateful). 

Written by Rachel Covello

Rachel Covello is an award-winning speaker, writer, diversity consultant, and LGBT advocate. She is the Founder of LGBT Equality Alliance, a Chester County, PA nonprofit organization, and CEO of OUTCOAST, an online marketing and concierge platform marketing the Gulf Coast as an LGBTQ-inclusive place to VISIT, CELEBRATE, and LIVE.

Rachel is also an avid event photographer and has captured photos for LGBT organizations around the world, including the IGLTA, NGLCC, NLGJA, and Out & Equal.


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