We all have an idea of what we want when we start the home-hunting process. When you run a home-based business, you have even more to consider. From zoning laws to adequate workspace to keeping your new home protected from business losses, the following tips can help you sort through your options so that you can settle in and get back to business.
Let The Hunt Begin
When it’s time to begin your home search, start by partnering with a local realtor. Once you have narrowed down your selection, you’ll need to provide information. A few things your realtor will want to know are your budget, preferred school district, number of bedrooms and bathrooms you need, and type of business you run. Of these, the last one may play a more significant role in where you buy than you might think.
In many areas, you can work from home without any special permits. But some businesses — like pet grooming, woodworking, and even photography — that require traffic in and out of your neighborhood, may be disallowed under local zoning laws. Even your HOA can determine what type of business you run from home, and the board can enforce rules written into its covenants.
Protecting Your Newest Asset
Finding the home of your dreams means putting measures into place to protect your assets. This is particularly important when you own a business. If you are structured as a sole proprietorship, be warned that you could potentially lose your home if your business suffers from financial losses. Instead, restructure as a North Carolina LLC, which, in addition to having limited financial liability, offers a host of tax advantages. You can do it yourself and save money by using a formation service instead of an attorney.
Next, take a closer look at your homeowner insurance. It may not cover accidents or damages caused while working in your designated office or workshop. According to State Farm, a typical homeowner policy only provides around $2500 as business coverage, but an in-home business insurance policy can fill the gap. Talk to your insurance provider about whether you need special coverage for vehicles kept at home that you use exclusively for business purposes.
Upgrading Your Space
Even if you find the perfect home, there will be things you can do to make it that much better for your personal and professional purposes. Start by designating a space exclusively for work. Before you start bringing your personal items in, get your professional area set up so that your customers don’t experience a delay in service while you settle in.
Your workspace should have plenty of natural light and be located above grade for the best wireless signal. Ideally, you will have a private bathroom and will be far enough away from the hustle and bustle of home so that you can fully focus on work during your work hours.
If your new home has a garage, you may be able to convert some of this space into an office. Ask your realtor to check on any restrictions that may prohibit you from building a separate structure later on if you want to take your business outside of the house.
When it is time to move, your agent can help you make a wise decision based on your budget and personal and professional needs. Provide them with all the information you can, and make sure to take steps to protect your assets as you make the leap from renter to homeowner. Most importantly, enjoy your new home.
Moving to Raleigh? The Reiner Home Team can help. Call (919) 694-7244 today.
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