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Paul Bennett, Director

The way we do business and staff our workplaces is set to change forever. Already some professionals in London are being told to work from home for the rest of the year, while others are set to adopt remote working practices on a permanent basis.

With companies realising there is no loss of productivity when some or all of their employees are working from home – prompting them to evaluate the need for big offices and expensive headquarters – extra value is being placed on the home office.

A recent story in the Evening Standard’s Homes & Property section carried a very telling quote from Professor Yolande Barnes of the Bartlett Real Estate Institute, University College London, on the matter of working from home: “I do not think this is going to be a one-time crisis or a one-off lockdown,” she commented.

“Homeowners are reassessing their space for what lies ahead. Buyers and tenants will be more discerning and from now on, every time they view a new property they will be thinking, ‘can I live in these four walls in a lockdown?’”

This sentiment is now against a backdrop of rising demand, with Rightmove reporting its busiest day ever in late May, with over 6 million people searching for a new home online. For potential sellers, a new market is opening up – one where a home office is near the top of the ‘must have’ list.

At the end of May in an entire article dedicated to working from home, The Telegraph commented that a good home office ‘means credibility and power’ – and can add in the region of 10% to a property’s value.

If you’re thinking of selling or renting out your property and would like to capitalise on the heightened demand for the home office, there are some principles to follow to achieve the maximum return, as follows:-

  • Ensure any room you’re calling a home office or study is set up as exactly that before any promotional photographs are taken

  • Double check that your property’s write-up and floor plan makes it clear that there is a dedicated place to work from home

  • Bear in mind a ground floor office that doesn’t come at the expense of losing a bedroom on the first floor is usually favoured

  • Be meticulous when it comes to your broadband connection and telephone points – those serious about working from home will want to know they are moving to a well-connected property

  • Don’t forget commuter connections, as only a small minority of people will be able to work from home exclusively and/or forever. Highlight distances from Tube and train stations for those occasions when workers may need to travel

  • If your route to a dedicated home office is adding an outbuilding, ensure it has: planning permission; adequate insulation and heating for year-round use; light; power and a good wifi connection

We have a waiting list of buyers and tenants who are in search of a property with work from home potential.  If you would like your current home valued with a view to coming to market, please book a private appointment with the Behr & Butchoff team.