If you’re among those who enjoy working from home and plan to continue doing so, as you’ve probably learned by now, your kitchen or dining room table isn’t going to cut it as a permanent workspace. It’s time to start planning the home office of your dreams: one that fits your home, your style, your budget, and—most importantly—your work goals.
Here are the essential needs for an agent’s home office:
Need #1: Space
First, look around your home and see if you have space or create some space to fit, at minimum, a desk and a filing cabinet. Got an old, unused armchair taking up a corner of the den? A walk-in closet that sits empty in the guest bedroom? How about a “storage room” that could be cleaned out and spiffed up over a long weekend? Roll up your sleeves and move stuff around to make room for your new workspace. (This is the hard part, but the rest is much more fun!)
Need #2: Furniture
This should really say “Need #2: A desk” because your desk takes top priority over everything else, and it totally depends on what kind of worker you are. Do you keep your clients’ info in neatly labeled files on your computer and use online storage for everything? If so, you can probably get by with a small writing desk. Do you like to have paper copies of everything and tend to spread your documents across a wide area while you work? You might want to invest in one of those big executive desks you see in bank manager’s offices.
It’s really up to you, but choose function over form and pick a style that fits the rest of your home—if what you need is a giant surface, but you can’t resist the cute little wall-mounted desk, you’ll be the one struggling to get things done on it later.
Next up is your filing cabinet. You’ll need one unless you like to keep everything entirely digital. You’ll also need some shelves and drawers to house work-related books and writing materials, including pens, pencils, Post-Its, and paper clips. Plus, it’s nice to have a place to put your favorite framed picture of your family or pet. Trust us; it’s more fun to work in a space that speaks to you.
Finally, another critical feature: your chair! The right chair can improve your posture, your productivity, and your mood, so think ergonomics! As a real estate agent, you probably spend a lot of time in front of your computer, so consider your chair an investment in your future comfort.
Need #3: Good lighting
Working from home means video calls. Lots and lots of video calls. And while (fortunately) no one will ever notice you’re wearing sweatpants under your dress shirt or blouse, they will notice if the lighting is so bad you look like an informant who wants to remain anonymous on Unsolved Mysteries. Download Fathom’s FREE guide to Look Your Best in Your Next Virtual Meeting.
Need #4: Good internet bandwidth
In this day and age, you’d think internet speed issues would be a thing of the past, but alas… no. Check with your internet service provider to ensure you have adequate bandwidth to accommodate all your video conferencing, live streaming, and content-uploading needs. That way, you won’t be slowed down because the kids are watching Netflix while you try to video call with a client.
Need #5: Headphones and microphone
To present yourself as professionally as possible, we don’t recommend relying on your computer’s built-in speakers and microphone when communicating virtually with clients. Investing in quality headphones that are optimized to pick up and amplify speech while muffling background sounds will ensure that you can hear and understand your clients clearly when video conferencing. Likewise, a cheap microphone will transmit your children’s raucous laughter, your spouse’s work calls, and the sound of your washing machine in the next room, so spring for a high-quality one that is made to dampen background sounds and amplify only your voice.
Need #6: A top-of-the-line smartphone
As a real estate professional, your smartphone is your lifeline. It holds your contacts list, connects you to your social media platforms, carries apps that help keep REALTORS® safe, and serves as both your cameraman and videographer. Make sure to choose one that comes with a 5G network, which now offers the absolute fastest connectivity across the cellular network and provides the most coverage, even in places that haven’t had strong connectivity before now.
Newer smartphones have vastly improved camera and video settings that help clarify and stabilize the images and videos you take. Since you likely use your smartphone camera to film virtual walkthroughs and take pictures of your listings, you can see why having the best of the best can give you a leg up on your competition.
Technology is advancing quickly, and you don’t want to get left too far behind! This DOES NOT mean you have to buy every single update that comes out. It just means that if your smartphone has been around a few years, it might be time to consider an upgrade.