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Changing from an "Office" Office To A "Home" Office. Have you Done It ? Could You Do It ?

Tonight I read a post entitled Change Is Good.  It was written by Debbie Atwood who is with a Century 21 office in Everett, Washington. 

Debbie was telling the story of how current market conditions were bring about a change in her company... causing them to consolidate their four offices into one "Main Office."  The office she worked out of... would no longer exist... and because the main office of her company was much further away from her home, she was going to be officing out of her home.

Going through a change like this has probably happened to many of us.  Sometimes it works well for us, sometimes not so much.  Here is my response to Debbie about my "take" on her impending change... followed by some requests from me for feedback.

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Debbie:  When change happens, especially when the change is not of your choosing, there are always positives and negatives involved.  Nothing is ever all black or all white.

From reading your post... it sounds as if you are probably not as prepared to work out of your home... without an office to go to every day... as some of your office-mates are.  I know what you mean about the nice'ness of meeting your clients at your office to write up offers.  After I began officing out of my home, Starbucks became my friend.  Also, Barnes n Noble became my friend, as did Panera Bread.

I think the place I used the most WAS Panera bread.  If I met clients there at times other than dinner, I found there was always a nice quiet booth to meet folks in, and lots of room to work and chat.

As far as not being at your office for your past clients to drop in on you at, and your having to increase your "pop-bys" (sounds like Buffini to me) now... I am thinking and hoping that being somewhat forced to "pop by" at their home of office... may actually help you increase your business.

Also... having them drop by YOUR office... is under THEIR control.  You stopping by THEIR home or office, is under YOUR control.  That... is a good thing, and I suggest you try and look at that as a Positive Step.

Also... one trick that I used when I went from working in an "office" office to a home office... to get myself in a "working" mode... was to get all dressed up as I normally would to GO to the office, then go out and get into my car, leave, drive around the block, and drive back to my home, into my driveway, and then go INTO my "new" office. 

Strangely enough, it worked for me.  It set the tone... even though I obviously knew just I was just playing a game.

Good luck with your transition.  I just know you can make it work.

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To my readers: 

Have you ever gone through a change like this ?  How did things go for you ? 

1)  What was the most difficult thing for you to adjust to ?  What was the easiest ? 

And... was there anything that really "surprised" you about making the change from working out of a formal office... to working from a "home" office ?

2)  If you have never made a change like this... and your company was forced into consolidating several offices into one... and you ended up with a long drive... a drive that perhaps was longer than you wished to make... what would you do ?  1) Make the drive and make the best of it.  2)  Office out of your home ?  or 3) Change companies, and join one much closer to your present home ?

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Comment balloon 76 commentsKaren Anne Stone • September 07 2010 01:51AM

Comments

I do not focus as well at home and so I have always worked from the office not from home.

Posted by Elite Home Sales Team, A Tenacious and Skilled Real Estate Team (Elite Home Sales Team OC) over 8 years ago

Karen, I just finished reading Debbie's blog and left a comment there.  I said how I thought your idea of dressing up like you're going to the office and then get in the car and drive around the block and come home and park in your new office is absolutely brilliant idea!  I wish I had thought of it.  For over a year now I've been working out of my home office (and some days I spend half the day in my pj's).  I've recently changed brokers and now I will have an office office, where I can store my working files and lock the door.  I am really looking forward to this change.  All in all, I think change is good, because there are benefits and down sides to everything.  It's what you make out of it.  Great post, :)

Posted by Pamela Seley, Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA (West Coast Realty Division) over 8 years ago

Hi Karen - Excellent points.  And isn't it funny how little games that we play with ourselves like that really seem to work?  I work from home primarily.  My office is not far fro my home, but it is small and sometimes noisy.  I do better without distractions. 

And sometimes I get more done if I take a few breaks during the day that I time by siting in front of the TV through one ten minute segment of a talk show or one segment of a program I have recorded, then back to work when the commercial comes on - one of my little games.

Posted by Susan Neal, Fair Oaks CA & Sacramento Area Real Estate Broker (RE/MAX Gold, Fair Oaks) over 8 years ago

Hi Karen,

I have always had both. I still do, but right now I work from my home. I have 4 desks there and both assistants work there as well.

Phil

Posted by Phil Leng, Phil Leng - Retired (Retired) over 8 years ago

I went by Debbie's post also.  I have been working out of my home for many years and love it.  Too many distractions at an office, and I love the freedom and not having to get dressed up and in a car every day.  As I told Debbie, if you don't like going to Starbucks, then you can always use and office at your escrow or title company for meetings.

Posted by Jane Peters, Los Angeles real estate concierge services (Home Jane Realty) over 8 years ago

Mark in # 1:  I know it can really be difficult for many agents to get into that "focus" mode that we need to be in... to actually become productive.  Different folks can work well from a home office, and others... not so much.  It really takes a commitment.

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) over 8 years ago

I love having an office to go to. Some tasks I prefer to do at night from home.............like blogging!

Posted by John Cunningham, Helping Phoenix Sellers and Buyers find each other (eXp Realty) over 8 years ago

Karen- Great Ideas from you and everyone else!  Thank you, I'm feeling better about this change already!

Posted by Debbie Atwood, Real Estate Broker (Century 21 Real Estate Center Everett, WA) over 8 years ago

Pamela in # 2:  An excellent comment.  It appears that you make comments as long as I do.  I have turned many of my comments into posts.  It's funny, but just bumping into an idea, and starting to comment on it... just seems to ignite a spark that ends up opening up my mind's door to all sorts of ideas.  (she said, terribly mixing her metaphors)

And yes, I really DID get all dressed up, drive around the block, and then back to my "home" office.  And... for me, at least, it really DID work.  Otherwise, I would have stayed in my jammies or my night-shirt... which did not work so well if and when I ended up having to drop everything and dash off to spur-of-the-moment appointment.

Best of luck in your new office, with your new broker.  Gee... now you have to go through training ANOTHER broker.  Sheesh.

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) over 8 years ago

Debbie in # 8:  I KNOW you can make this work... I just KNOW you can.  Try and soak up as much positive energy and as many ideas as you can from these two posts.  Lots of positive stuff here.  Oh, and did I mention it... I just KNOW you can make this work !  <smile x 2)

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) over 8 years ago

Karen Anne, I have an office, I had my private office inside the office.....I used to meet clients there, probably four times a year. I made a decission just to work out of the house. I am more efficient, start earlier and work later since I am not wasting commuting time. I have a room at home 100% office, color printer that always works, no downtime I know in advance when the toner needs replacing, own fax machine do not have to wait in line.....Shorts, T-Shirt is better for me...

Posted by Endre Barath, Jr., Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002 (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices) over 8 years ago

Susan in # 3:  Oh yes, these little games.  Sometimes they can work so very well.  Funny, but yes, I can get dressed up and drive around the block to go to my HOME office, but at other times, I stay in my jammies, get in my car, and drive up to the drive-thru window to either pick up a prescription, or stay in my nightgown and drive to the drive-thru window at KFC for a grilled chicken dinner.  I guess I just do some things better backwards than forwards.

What I do for breaks... is record something like Rachael Ray, and then play a segment of it for a break, then stop it, then back to work... and then later on... take another Rachael Ray break.  Different breaks for different chicks !

Who cares if they are games... if it works !

Susan... question:  How do you get to use that font in your comments ?  I think it is "Comic Sans MS"... but I am not sure.  It is one of my favorite fonts.  How do you DO that ?

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) over 8 years ago

Phil in # 4:  It sounds like you've got it down to a science... and it sounds like it works very well for you.

Question... do ALL of you work in your jammies, or just you ?  <silly smile>  I think having the four desks set up is a really great idea.  And... with DSL and fiber optics, there pretty much isn't anything you cannot do from home.

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) over 8 years ago

Jane in # 5:  Yes, it can really be great working out of your home office.  Some folks just don't have the focus to do that, and some others just find too many distractions there. 

And... I forgot to mention your idea about meeting clients at my title company... which is Alamo Title.  They have an entire office set up for their Realtors who are their regular customers... to use to either meet clients, or to just stop and do some work.  Great idea... and works very well.

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) over 8 years ago

John in # 7:  Another great idea.  Obviously, from the time stamps on most of my posts... I do an incredible amount of work at night, and in the wee hours of the morning, like writing blog posts, and commenting on other's posts, and responding to those who comment on MY posts.

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) over 8 years ago

Endre in # 11:  It sounds like you've got this Home Office thing all figured out.  All the right equipment, and all the supplies... including toner.  (My old RE/MAX office always used to run out of toner.)

Your office sounds like a mirror of mine.  Several computers, plus a laptop, several really cool Sony or LG monitors, plus one of those HP TouchSmart computers... with a 23" screen wide enough that I can open several windows on, and see two of them fully... side-by-side.

The temptation here for me is... staying in my nightgown rather than getting dressed up to the point where I can leave quickly if I have to, and at least LOOK professional if I have to.

You sound all set... Good For You !

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) over 8 years ago

Working from 'home' for me means working during my own most productive hours, not listening to agents who don't blog or use the computer (they ARE still out there) talk all day, and not wasting time in the car. I tend to work more because I am at home, but because I love what I do... it's not 'work.'

Posted by Susie Blackmon, Ocala, Horses, Western Wear, Horse Farms, Marketing over 8 years ago

Good Morning Karen, your post really made me think about the changes and additional changes that could be incorporated.  Thank you!

Posted by Dan Edward Phillips, Realtor and Broker/Owner (Dan Edward Phillips) over 8 years ago

EXCELLENT advice.  I'm not a realtor, but I do a LOT of work at Starbucks (and have for years - I'm super productive there - just the change of scenery is good).  At Starbucks I can get internet connection too (plus food & coffee to keep me going).  Ironically, now that I own my own biz and I've been networking a lot, I keep running into people I know (including past and pending customers).

I've even gotten some leads at starbucks - I have a nice computer "sticker" on my laptop and magnet on my car.  There was also a recent post abt wearing your realtor name badge and getting leads from that.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 8 years ago

Home office does require a certain amount of discipline.  I agree you must start off the day be getting dressed like you are ready for work.  I like your idea of leaving the house and then returning, make sense to me.

Posted by Richard Weeks, REALTOR®, Broker over 8 years ago

Very much like you, when I worked from my home, I got dressed every day as if I was leaving to go to work, but I would only go out into the hallway and return to my apartment...........knowing I had arrived at work and was ready to start my day..............it worked.  And I would stay in my office all morning until lunch time, just as if I was at an office.

Great post Karen Anne..............excellent points.

Posted by Roger D. Mucci, Lets shake things up at your home today! (Shaken...with a Twist 216.633.2092) over 8 years ago

Karen, I go to the office almost every day, but I do much work with my laptop on my lap at the house. Being in the office has it percs, so I try to do it every day. I am afraid if I stayed home all the time I would be out of touch. And it has happened!

Posted by Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties) over 8 years ago

Good morning Karen Anne,

Excellent post. Changes are occurring in the workplace of all companies and we are seeing more and more having to work from home. When there is change you do have to learn to adapt and if it takes little things (like driving around the block) to trick you then do it! Everyone has different work habits and needs and can make a good environment no matter what! I personally work best going to my office. I do have a private office within my company and have all our own equipment and my assistant comes in every day. I feel more productive going to the office and see many people in my building who have become clients. I come and go from my office as I am either on appointments or showing property. I find I get distracted at home as it's easy to throw a load of wash in or find a project I was thinking of doing around the house. But that is just me and if I was forced to work from home I'd make it work!!

Posted by Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.346.1799) over 8 years ago

Karen Anne,

I work from home as well. My broker's office is less than a mile from my home but I find I end up talking too much when I get into the office to get anything accomplished.

I have my fax, printer, scanner all here at home and find I get much more done with less distractions when I'm working out of my home office.

I think your idea of getting dressed to go to work, drive around the block, etc. is a fantastic idea. I have spent days in my office in just shorts and a t-shirt only to find that I am not prepared to meet a client when they call. 

Posted by Valerie Duncan Stewart, Real Estate Agent-Broker, OKC, OK ((Metro First Realty)) over 8 years ago

After so many years of corporate life, I thought I needed the routine of going in someplace to work.  But not many did work at the office in my first brokerage, so it was a bit lonely and the technology didn't work as fast as what I was used to at home.  I didn't feel I could be truly organized nor productive.

I gave it a shot at my next brokerage, and the environment was more positive with a better location.  But, there was still the issue of slow computers due to more users and I felt myself getting drawn into chatty time.  I actually have the discipline to work from home and not be distracted. I get more done, but the downside is that I probably work too much this way ;)

Posted by Karen Crowson, Your Agent for Change (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 8 years ago

Karen Anne,

Ah the Panera and Starbucks satellite offices! I agree Panera is best. We have written most of our offers in these locations for the last 2 years. It is easier for the client than schlepping to our office.

We work at home and go to the office to do large scale printing and Fridays for meetings. There are more distractions at the office we find. One of the things you lose is interaction and camaraderie with other agents. Active Rain actually fills this role for me in a more productive manner.

Posted by Steve and Jan Bachman, Realtors - Northern Virginia (RE/MAX Gateway, Reston, Herndon, Ashburn, Sterling, Fairfax ) over 8 years ago

Hi Karen Anne,

 

How funny - I am SO productive at Panera! On another note, I have worked out of a home office for almost six years now. I am incredible productive (most days) and very happy with it.  My problem is that my DH has trouble respecting my home office boundaries! He sometimes overhears my phone calls and then comments (criticizes) them! He makes assumptions about what I am talking about without hearing the whole story! It drives me nuts!

Unfortunately, we have a very large home office that we share, so I can't get away from this. I have found myself censoring some of my activities and calls, or, yes, escaping to Panera, just to avoid it! I definitely recommend to anyone moving to a home office, to make sure it is PRIVATE from your family. I wish I had that luxury. Sigh.

Thanks for your great post!

Posted by Sharona Byrnes (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties) over 8 years ago

Karen Anne, I made the move to the home office and it has been great.  Meeting clients for me is still at the KW office, so no difference there.  And I dress for success at home too - you never know when you might get that call to show a house!

Posted by Susan Brown (Keller Williams NE, Kingwood Texas (Humble & Atascocita too)) over 8 years ago

I have gone through periods of working at home and at my office.  I prefer my office.  I have had many deals happen because of hearing an agent in the process of listing a new home - I would have missed that at home. I also learn from hearing conversations other agents have with their clients - in an open office, you can't help it.

I also like that when I'm home, I'm home. It's family time, except for the few calls I need to take care of, they have my total attention.

But you asked about the process of change which is always unsettling, yet usually unveils new creativity and can be invigorating.

Posted by Sally Dunbar, Fair Oaks Realtor - Fair Oaks Homes for Sale (Lyon Real Estate, Fair Oaks CA (Sacramento Area)) over 8 years ago

I had always worked in an office or business environment before getting involved in real estate.  Once I started that, I worked from home.  I get more done that I would in my real estate office.  For one, it's quiet.  I don't have anyone bugging me to help them with this or that.  I can bust out my calls and paperwork stuff in no time.

I don't think I could do this any other way.  I love my home office.  I still meet clients in the office office, or at other locations like you mentioned above. 

Posted by Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker, Bristow, VA (Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA) over 8 years ago

I moved to a home office in early 2002. It was the best move ever! I became far more productive. Yes, the TV was there and the bed was there and the snacks were there... but I could work at my pace throughout the day and create my own structure and not worry about people coming up to me and just blah blah blah talking and wasting my time.

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - TexasRealEstateMediationServices.com) over 8 years ago

Solid article and I have never actually had an office.  I have been in the business for 10 years and when I first started, I thought I needed an office and, although I had a broker offering me a good split, I interviewed around. 

However, the splits were awful and the people I ran into at the office were all down, talking about how tough it is and how good training was all that separated me from success or failure - PLEASE.

So I started out of a home office and worked hard.  Then we expanded but never got office space, then I broke off and started my own company.  Now I have a small real estate firm where people work from their home office and get great splits.  We are a great little family and we write deals in Starbucks (next to Coldwell Banker) which I love doing BTW.

But eventually, I would like to get an office BUT I want it for the right reasons and I do not see it as a necessity at all.

Posted by Stefan West, Temecula-Murrieta-Menifee CA Real Estate (West Realty) over 8 years ago

Karen Anne, great, great topic.  I moved from Coldwell Banker about a year and a half ago to an internet (virtual) broker, and have to work at home.  I love it.  I actually think I put in more hours than if I went into the office.  I like the idea of getting dressed and driving around the block to get in the mood.

Posted by Jean Hanley, Specializing in Folks Who Want To Buy/Sell Homes (Coldwell Banker Kivett Teeters) over 8 years ago

Karen Anne, I work from home and, for the most part, much prefer it to my corporate days.  I absolutely don't miss the politics and the "kids" who don't know how to play nice in the sand box!  I do, however, miss the collaborative brain trust session that I had with others and am working on putting together a marketing "group" of my own.  Sometimes, I spend to much time in my own head and need a fresh perspective to rid the cobwebs!

Posted by Deborah "Dee Dee" Garvin, C2 Financial (C2 Financial) over 8 years ago

I've worked from home for several years.  Most days I will get dressed as if going into an "office."  I find it helps me to be more productive & feel like I am at work rather than at home.  Working at home also gives me a lot more flexibility.

Posted by Christine Smith, Exclusive Buyer Agent & Attorney, Canton, MA (Buyers Brokers Only LLC - www.BuyersBrokersOnly.com) over 8 years ago

Frankly we have been working on our own for a few years now.  Especially with the advent of portable printers and scanners.  Our office is where you are and yes we stop by Starbucks or other WiFi enabled establishments to work every day.  Heck of a lot less expensive than renting office space or paying a desk fee to a company.  But there is a certain amount of discipline involved.  The convenince is what makes it so viable.  We can meet a client anywhere/anytime and still conduct business efficiently.

Posted by Ralph Janisch ABR CRS Broker, Selling Northwest Houston to good people like you! (Janisch & Co.) over 8 years ago

I work from home as does my wife, a real estate broker.  We've even bought a home that was set up perfect for a front room conference/reception area where we can meet clients.  We've found that clients like the "home touch" of our home office and are not as intimidated as going to a strip mall type of office environment.  I believe times have changed and people are more open to alternative settings.

Posted by Daniel Francis, MORE listings with LESS competition. Ask me How! (StepStone Realty, LLC) over 8 years ago

Karen,

I still work from home almost all the time.  We have a large office with all the tools including the phone switch, servers, printers, etc.

I've been hard at work since 6 AM and I'm still in my sleepwear sipping my third cup of coffee.

Tom

Posted by Tom Branch, Broker, CDPE, SFR, ACRE, Plano TX Ambassador (RE/MAX Dallas Suburbs) over 8 years ago

I have worked out of my home office for years but go into the office office if I have to meet people or finish files.  I love the freedom and space of my home office and can't imagine giving that up.

Posted by Peggy Chirico, REALTOR® 860-748-8900, Hartford & Tolland County Real Estate (Prudential CT Realty) over 8 years ago

Hi Karen: I have worked from home for the last 7 years. There are pros and cons. It can be VERY difficult not to attend to home issues during working hours. I love your habit of getting dressed up and "driving to" your home office. It sounds insane but I can also see how it probably works very well to psyche yourself up to work. I think the toughest thing about working from home is the loss of camraderie that you may have in an office. At the very least, in an office, you are surrounded by other adults and your colleagues can be very motivating. At home you must be self-motivated!

Posted by Cari Anderson over 8 years ago

I'm lucky to have my office just a few minutes from my home. I prefer to work from home for the more controlled and productive environment. But when it comes to meeting clients, that's always in the office where I can take advantage of our conference rooms and big screens. 

Posted by John Novak, Henderson, Las Vegas and Summerlin Real Estate (Keller Williams Realty The Marketplace) over 8 years ago

I agree with Cari #40.  I, too, work from home and some days it's hard to get motivated and stay focused.  I like being able to dress casually, but can always change to professional clothes at a moment's notice.  I like the comraderie of an office, but it can pull you down as well.  I think I need to build a team, and we can all work from my home - problem solved!

Posted by Kathy Kenney, Realtor - Princeton & Central NJ Homes for Sale (Keller Williams, Princeton, NJ) over 8 years ago

Karen...I closed the office and moved it into the house.  Being a small brokerage, it was a finacial decision.  With business down, my agents prefered to work from home and not have the cost of traveling. 

I am not a fan of the home office.  It has worked only because I make it work.  I also have way to many relatives that live very close by and just because I am home they think I have all kinds of time to chat.  I have had to lock the door and hide the car.

My biggest thing was the lack of exposure.  Many people thougth I closed down.  working out of home made me look LESS profesional.  (That is a direct quote form people I know when I asked what my appearence was now!)  That is my biggest issue.  Of 6 store fronts there are 2 left.  Those two are doing fairly well.  It really makes me 2nd guess my move!!!

Posted by William Feela, Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No. (WHISPERING PINES REALTY) over 8 years ago

Every day I do this and I have for years!  It is easy and I would rather spend time reading experiences and sharing my experiences on Active Rain then get sucked into office politics which takes more time and energy out of your day.  You have to schedule everything including family time or time for yourself.  I close my office door at a certain time every day and *attempt* to let it go!

I find myself more productive at home.  I was offered a fancy office by a different brokerage several weeks ago and I big time declined.  Not worth it!

Posted by Renée Donohue~Home Photography, Western Michigan Real Estate Photographer (Savvy Home Pix) over 8 years ago

I've been working from home since way before it was cool...I do better in an autonomous atmosphere...I have a very nice office 12 miles away if I need it for a meeting, but most of the time I stay at my home office.

Posted by John Zappia, Maine Custom Realty (Maine Custom Realty) over 8 years ago

I love my home office!  While I do go to the office-office a few times a week, I couldn't imaging doing that all of the time!  A few thinks to make it work are A) truly having a separate office for just your work life B) not having other distractions <espeically another home-worker!> around C) as your post states, having a few nearby resources available to meet clients at.

Posted by Richard Strahm, Lansdale and North Penn Real Estate (American Foursquare Realty) over 8 years ago

Having a home office would be a perfect way to incorporate a Professional Real Estate Virtual Assistant. A Virtual Assistant could work with you and you wouldn't have to find a spot for them to work.

And I love working in my home office - what I find out is that my office work gets done - but my house stays dusty.

Posted by Sandra Bild ("Bild" a Better Business / Social Media Manager) over 8 years ago

Hi Karen,

Thank you for sharing the info on Debbie's blog...I did go and comment on hers and noticed many of the posters on yours are different so I am reposting my comments ver batim form what I had on Debbies...thanks for your always thoughtful blogs and reblogs!!

I first started working out of my home office in 1998.  I was a member of the 100% Club with Re/Max at the time.  I have worked out of my home for over 12 years.  Every full year after that, that I was with Re/Max I was a member of the 100% club. About 5 more years  So forget about the folks who say it can't be done.

There are pros and cons.  You have to be disciplined enough to actually "go to work" when you work at home.  Although Karen's idea is a great one...I am not sure you need to actually go out and drive around the block but it is a great excuse to start each day networking with some folks somewhere. I agree with the getting dressed for work.

My biggest obstacle I had to overcome was the toys in the garage that were calling my name..."Mike...can you come out and play with us?" Once I got past that hurdle, it has been great.

No more "I left it at the office"... No running to the office...everything is in one location.

Since I started doing this, I built a home with an office in the front room with a glass door to the foyer.  I have never had a problem with clients coming to the home and if they have kids...out to the living room and in goes a movie!!

But like a few people said...I go to the client whenever I can...always have...we always do that with sellers...and when I started doing it with buyers, I could see there furniture, lifestyle, etc. and better understand their needs.

Also, I have not had other agents complain any about dropping off paperwork at my home.

What you lose has been mentioned...the synergy and comraderie is harder...but then you also don't have the chicken littles and woe is me people standing in your doorway.  Or sales people if you are in an open office system. I can get done in 5 hours what used to take me 8 working at home.

When I walk into my home office each morning, I walk out for three main reasons...to leave and go somewhere...to use the bathroom...or for lunch/dinner...NO TV, no working at the kitchen table, no sitting on the patio on the cellphone. no watering plants, or playing with garage toys!!

Plan on having an office that is an office with desk, computer, printer, copy machine, fax (if you still use one), etc...just like you would have at the old office.

Good Luck and feel free to contact me if you have other questions.

Posted by Mike McCann - Nebraska Farm Land Broker, Farm Land For Sale 308-627-3700 or 800-241-3940 (Mike McCann - Broker, Farmland Broker-Auctioneer Serving Rural Nebraska) over 8 years ago

Hi Karen Anne,

when I started in real estate, working from home was just not done, and even then I had an office at home and tried to avoid going into the office unless I had to.

during my manager years, I was a 1st to arrive, last to leave type manager. Now that we both mostly list and sell, we work from home again and find going into the office a drag, and often depressing, so we avoid it as much as possible.

At home we have about 900 sqft. something that would be totally impossible in any office at a reasonable cost.

As a side advantage, I feel is the fact that you don't need to dress up, or adhere to whatever parking, access, and or use of equipment rules etc.

Over the years we have set up our office and equipment in such a way that there is very little we can't do, right from home.

We find that meeting with past clients at our home is typically a benefit, for newer clients we try to meet at their home, to learn more about them by visiting where and how they live.

Happy Selling (from home)

Posted by Peter Pfann @ eXp Realty Pfanntastic Properties in Victoria, Since 1986., Talk To or Text Peter 250-213-9490 (eXp Realty, Victoria BC www.pfanntastic.com) over 8 years ago

We went from 14 office to...well I don't even know how many we are down to now. I have always been out of office and loved it.

Posted by HomeSalesForce.com Team Powered by eXp Realty, Canton, Alpharetta, Roswell, Woodstock, Atlanta (eXp Realty) over 8 years ago

Hi Karen Anne,

We used to have office space at our main office, but have been working from our home office for the last 4 years. It works for us and we can still use the main KW office to meet clients, so it's the best of both worlds. Some people work better when they are in an office setting, which I can certainly understand as well. It takes a special person to be able to work out of their home and be able to focus on what needs to be done.

Dan 

Posted by Dan and Amy Schuman, Luxury Home Specialists (Howard Hanna Real Estate Services) over 8 years ago

I have worked out of my home office for the last 3 years.  It was a major adjustment, having had a traditional real estate office setting for 10 years before that.  The biggest hurdle is probably distractions, but you learn to manage them.  Most clients I meet with at their home, or I pick them up to view property.  The local coffee shops work as a back up.  

I actually left a local office to join KW, the closest is 45 minutes away.  I wanted to belong to KW so bad, I made the sacrifice to work at home. 

Posted by Catherine Ulrey, Equestrian and Acreage Property Specialist (Keller Williams Capital City) over 8 years ago

We never went in to the office much even when we were working under other brokers. We've always found it much easier to work from home, and now that we started our own brokerage it was a snap to transition because basically nothing changed but the boss's name. No "desk fee", no inane chatter from agents bitching about the bad market, bad realtors, bad deals or all of the above. We realize that working from home is not everyone's cup of tea, but for us we wouldn't waant it any other way.

Posted by Pat & Wayne Harriman, Broker/Owners, Wallingford CT Real Estate (Harriman Real Estate, LLC (203) 672-4499) over 8 years ago

I work out of my home too! So I tried to make my home office really LOOK  like an office and went a little overboard.

I have on my wall an dry erase board with my goals listed. I have very large city subdivision maps of my target areas Pearland, Alvin, and Friendswood on the walls.

My book shelves have all my RE books; plus related office equipment. My huge desk has my computer and printer and a wire stack file holder and I have a metal file cabinet.

My office is now junked up! My yard signs and event tables are neatly leaning against the walls but I need to clean up a bit here!

Posted by Sussie Sutton, UTR TEXAS Realtors - Rep for buyers and sellers. (UTR Texas Realtors) over 8 years ago

None of my agents work in the office. I have an office, desks, and conference room available to them to use as they pop in and out. They can bring their laptops to use the wireless, or use a vacant office computer. It works for me.

Posted by Erica Ramus, MRE, Schuylkill County PA Real Estate (Erica Ramus - Ramus Realty Group - Pottsville, PA ) over 8 years ago

Karen, I worked for a big office and loved it when I was new and needy. Once you have the hang of it, and your corporate office lease is up or they consilidate, as in her case, and you're forced to move, often times that's what happens -- people just move home. I did it when CB in CV moved to Glade and I had baby at the same time. It's worked for this season. One day I will probably have an office outside the home again, though. Files are piling in the attic, among other things, and there will come a season it will simply make sense again... To each his or her own! One thing is for sure, get up and get ready no matter what. Don't even want to take the kids in looking like I work in my PJs... not impressionable at all. Get yourself ready for the day regardless. Even if it's just to receive a check from the UPS man! Hey, he has to live somewhere, too! Love Panera Bread :)

Posted by Kristen Correa, Broker, I love coffee & real estate. I am out of coffee! (Kristen Correa Real Estate & Reedy Creek Realty Services) over 8 years ago

Hi Karen

 To quote the Wizard of Oz...
"There is no place like home.. (office)  You inevitably will work longer hours but more efficiently.  It takes discipline, and time blocking.  The tax advantages are more beneficial as well.

If you feel it is the righ tmove for you..then trust that feeling because it probably is.

Posted by Allison Stewart, St. Cloud Fl Realtor, Osceola County Real Estate 407-616-9904 (St.Cloud Homes ) over 8 years ago

  I do like my home office I concentrate more that in the office where someone generally interupts me.

Patricia

Posted by Patricia Aulson, Realtor - Portsmouth NH Homes-Hampton NH Homes (BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY HOME SERVICES Verani Realty NH Real Estate ) over 8 years ago

I love your focus on the positive aspects of this and know that Debbie will make this work with all of your awesome suggestions and the great comments here.  I especially LOVE your trick of driving around the block.

I haven't made this type of change yet, but would welcome the challenge and now armed with your suggestions I know I could make it work too.  I would need to get dressed as well and be sure to put on my "confidence shoes," so I could make the transition from home to work.  I do love the energy I get from the people at the office, but there would be a different kind of even more wonderful energy from being even closer to my family. - provided they remembered that I was working as well.

If my office closed and I had to choose another company or a long commute, I would be at home in a heartbeat.

Posted by Kristen Wheatley, Supporting Success - Best Job in the World! (Better Homes & Gardens | The Masiello Group) over 8 years ago

I think men like the office better, just my opinion from personal observations the last 15 or so years.

I like working out of the home best. But, I go in a couple of times a week.

 

Posted by Missy Caulk, Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate (Missy Caulk TEAM) over 8 years ago

Karen - A few things are different for me as a lender but I think most of the same rules apply.  I started working from home when my wife gave birth to our special needs child and needed my help.  Surprisingly I was much more productive working from my home office than my office office.  Not as many interruptions so I kept working from home.

I can't say that any part of my transition was difficult because I loved everything about it.  Well, I guess now that I work from home I work more now and longer hours than I ever did from my office.  I was able to reduce my fees because I wasn't required to pay for commercial space.  However when FHA became the dominant loan in our industry there were rules that had to be followed to be compliant with HUD.  One of those was to have an office manned during regular business hours.  Luckily my LO's live right by the office and like working from the office which allows me to not have to work there every single day.

I too meet clients in Panera's and Starbucks.  I find it's a more relaxed atmosphere than an office.  Good topic and congrats on your feature!

Posted by Nevin Williams, Senior Mortgage Advisor (Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation) over 8 years ago

Karen Anne, sometimes it is not an either or, office or home office, but often BOTH. Brick and mortar offices despite what some say do have advantages for meeting clients and having a community presence and training and interaction with the other agents.

Posted by Gary Woltal, Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth (Keller Williams Realty) over 8 years ago

I would have a hard time going to an office now... I am too accustomed to being at the house.  I try to get out in themorning to view properties and visit people, then spend the afternoon working on prospecting, blogging and with clients. 

Of course, I can sneak in some time with the kids, Cub Scouts, organizing a rebarcamp...

Posted by Lane Bailey, Realtor & Car Guy (Century 21 Results Realty) over 8 years ago

Hi Ms Karen- I've worked from home for a while now and I do set my hours.  I work from my desk and try to do some "chores" around the house during the lunch hour.  I do like the flexibility!
!

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) over 8 years ago

Karen, I am just getting ready to go back to working out of my home again after 6 years at the office. We are converting our living room (never used) into a study with French doors and I can't wait! I can be productive at home and am looking forward to it. The office is only 5 minutes away, so I can pop by there anytime I need to, but I'm excited!

I don't know how Susan does it, but if you write the comment in Gmail and copy and paste it, you have fonts, color and size to choose from. It's a little extra effort but Susan does stand out, doesn't she?

Posted by Sharon Alters, Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL (Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308) over 8 years ago

The only thing is that sometimes the color will default to black - I had it in a lovely green.

Posted by Sharon Alters, Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL (Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308) over 8 years ago

I do not have an office at KW.  I do use conference rooms there and there is a techroom with computers for my use.  I primarily work out of my home as many of the agents in my office do.  I have also used Panera and Starbucks to write offers.  Why?  Because we were too far from my office to go all the way back.  I always have a contract with me and my laptop for just such an occasion.  It has never been a problem working from home.  I only go into the office about once a week to get my mail, update my sentricard and catch up with fellow agents. 

Posted by Tammie White, Broker, Franklin TN Homes for Sale (Franklin Homes Realty LLC) over 8 years ago

Hi Karen Anne... I like the camaraderie and the sharing of ideas and best practices that comes from being in an office environment, but from a convenience perspective there's nothing like a home office.

Posted by Steve Shatsky over 8 years ago

Hi Karen Anne, I didn't read all the comments - but I have had a home office since my father fell seriously ill in 2007.  It was necessary to be able to work from home.  I found it to be the best fit for me.  I find that I get distracted in an office setting and KW is always trying to suck you into a meeting or class that you often have to PAY FOR.   So it saves money.

Posted by Ruthmarie Hicks (Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605) over 8 years ago

Karen - In response to your question about the font I use, I write my posts and my comments in scribefire, which is an add-on to firefox.  It lets me write in any of a dozen or so fonts, and change the size and color of the lettering. It also has a spell check.

You have to be in firefox, then you can add-on scribefire (it's all free).  Scribefire will put a little icon in the lower right corner of the screen whenever you are in firefox.  Click on it and up pops a box to draft your writing, make any style changes, then block and copy it into your blog or comment box.  It's must easier to do than it is to explain.  Try it!

Posted by Susan Neal, Fair Oaks CA & Sacramento Area Real Estate Broker (RE/MAX Gold, Fair Oaks) over 8 years ago

Karen Anne, I have had a home office for years and I don't find it a huge compromise.  Like the virtual office concept, it's along the lines of "anywhere I hang my hat is home".  It's also a superb way to cur overhead, which is something many in the industry must consider.

My Madeline Island real estate office is a "storefront", which is something of a summer essential in  a recreational community.  In the Minneapolis - Saint Paul area, I used to have an expensive office, but found it just didn't carry its own weight financially.  My urban/suburban clients want me to meet them over coffee or at their office or home, rather than in an office. 

Posted by Eric Kodner, CRS, Madeline Island Realty, LaPointe, WI 54850 - (Madeline Island Realty) over 8 years ago

Been on this for years. Works very well. At first, it was a little awkward having people in my home, but then I noticed how it made things more intimate and memorable. I keyed into that and so far so good......

Thank you Karen Anne

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) over 8 years ago

Karen Anne - I work from both, depending on what I'm doing and for whom.  I loved the dialog ... and as usual learned much from it ... including the comment Susan (#71) that may just make my blogs more colorful .... thanks, as usual!

Posted by Jack Mossman - The Nines Team at Keller Williams in Stockton, The Nines Team at Keller Williams in Stockton (The Nines Team At Keller Williams) over 8 years ago

Jack in # 74:  Just a quick response here... I think many agents also are able to work from home and office.  I think this case here is from someone who felt she could no longer work from the office due to her broker consolidating four offices into one.  Not having a choice, and feeling all you can do is to work from home... can be scary if you've never done it before.

Now... about Susan's comment in # 71.  I was just asking HOW she did that... not indicated that I wanted to do it myself.  I find larger print, bold print, and the use of colors very "distracting" in either a comment, or a post.

I want to have my attention drawn to the ideas in a post, not multiple sizes and fonts, and multiple colors.  Again, I find them distracting.

When Active Rain came out with a post about how to do that about six months ago... there was a RUSH by many to produce lots of posts what honestly looked like they were originally done in a kindergarten finger-painting class. 

These colorful (?) posts and comments were "all over the place."  I am glad the excitement about it has died down.  Now, there are only a few who post or comment using all those "options." 

Usually, when a post is full of that stuff... I don't even read it.  Again... I find it very distracting.  Just as I would find a post containing over-use of pictures, links, key-words done in bold and other over-done stuff.

So... I do not plan on using it... I just wondered how to do it.  Also, I recognized the font that Susan was using... as Comic Sans MS... one of my favorite fonts.  In fact, it is the font I used when I wrote my Active Rain Profile.

And... when someone makes a comment using a larger, more obvious font... I don't think it is fair to the others, and I also hope it doesn't start what I might call a font "food fight."

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) over 8 years ago

Karen - All of my posts and comments are in the same font, size and color - Comic Sans MS in dark green.  I agree that super large print in a comment or a rainbow of colors can sometimes be a bit like showing off on someone else's post.  I just used the additional color and size on my comment #71 to demonstrate.  I wouldn't normally do that.

Posted by Susan Neal, Fair Oaks CA & Sacramento Area Real Estate Broker (RE/MAX Gold, Fair Oaks) over 8 years ago

When I first started in this business six years ago, I spent a great deal of time in the office where I had a cubby.  There wasn't anyplace for files or privacy.  When I was lured to the company I currently represent, I was given a shared office (with one of my best friends), several file drawers, a large work space, and a door that closed.  Over time, though, I've been going to the office less and less.  I find I get so much more done at home.  I have everything I need, total privacy, no interruptions during the day (except when Buddy and Lisha want something - they're both attention hogs), and if I don't have a reason to leave the house I do stay in my P.J.'s.  Our mailman wouldn't know how to act if he delivered something to the door and I was dressed.  It works for me!

Posted by Christine Hart Howlett, Keller Williams Greater Cleveland NE (Painesville and Eastern Lake County) over 8 years ago

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