Save Money and Time This Year - Get a Home Office!
When we opened up our own real estate brokerage we discussed the different options available to us for where our office would be.
The time was at the peak of the housing boom. Many of our friends who are agents became brokers and started leasing space in fancy shopping malls, inside of the malls and on different commercial plazas.
Nestor is known for being the "Norstrodomus of real estate" (his BNI nick-name). Also, at this time our little guy was 3 years old and I did not want to have to contain him in a leased office space. We had been working from home as agents for a large franchise and we liked working from home.
We decided to take the money that it would cost us for first, last, security and for build-outs, permits, plumbing, flooring, desks, etc, etc, etc, and use it to convert our 600 square foot garage into a real office with exterior exits and the rest of the real deal. We also wanted a traditional office look and feel. Here is an overview of half of the office.
We had concrete poured on the garage floor to make it level with the rest of the house and to get rid of the down-slope that garages have. We made a laundry room off of the garage because prior to that the laundry machines were in the garage. Then we had a hurricane 5 impact garage door put on the garage and built it up to enclose that door so that if there is a hurricane and the door does move there is give there and hopefully not ruin the rest of the office. We encased that entire wall in.
Then we added A/C venting into the new office.
We did a lot of research on lighting. We did not want to go with regular flourescents because they can cause depression and nothing looks natural in that lighting. We went with full spectrum lighting that is used for different medical treatments and mimicks pure daylight. We put in a new knock-down ceiling finish. Here are Nestor's desks and space and desk for agents when they need to use the office:
There was electrical work to be done and some minor plumbing because we switched from the hot water heater to a waterless electrical heater that take up only a few inches in one of our closets. We did not want the water heater to ever break and ruin our office floor and we also wanted the space ( Florida has no basements and is not know for storage spaces) for our office supplies. Then we custom built two very large closets with custom shelving all to organize all the office supplies. On the closets are the boards with our listings and on the board on the left are the marketing plans.
Then we chose an impact glass window larger than was originally in the garage. It add a lot of nice natural lighting to the office. We added a door that also has a window in it for more natural light and also so we can see who is knocking on the office exterior door. We also added a really nice glass interior door that leads into the main part of the house.
Outside of our office, there is a seperate pathway from our driveway to the office. We moved the yucky garbage cans out of sight and added an outdoor seating area with flowers and shade trees around it for cooler days. I love to blog out there:).
We chose to go with a very durable hand-stressed wood floor that can take a beating. I love this flooring. It was expensive but oh so worth the cost because it is nearly maintenance free and durable. I love the different colors it brings out. We then added crown molding to the ceiling. I always stain our crown molding myself because the contractors never get the color right. I mix the different stains together to come up with the best match for the molding so it looks almost the same as our wood floor.
A feng-shui consultant was hired to help me organize our elements and choose the correct colors for who we are. She was perfect! We love our office. The black cabinets I painted look great above our black legal file cabinets. Then we have our furnishings which are cherry woods. There is a conference table, chairs and 5 desks. Of course no desk would be complete without our Apple computers! Here is our prosperity area of the office:
I learned so much because before we make any major expense we do a lot of research. I learned so much about wood flooring in Florida, about lighting, health issues and I learned so much about Feng Shui. We learned about impact glass and which ones are good and which ones are not. Here is my space with my dream board and desk area.
Well, back to many of our friends who opted to spend all this same amount of money on leasehold spaces where you don't get any equity back out of- most of them when the real estate boom busted- went bankrupt and lost those spaces. Many of our friends went back to work for franchises because they had lost their capital and their spaces.
Not a month goes by where Nestor and I don't look at each other and thank God and nod our heads in concurrance of the right decision we made for our business so that we are still in business today and still have our brokerage. We are happy and grateful that our overhead serves more than one purpose and that we made it through those toughest years here in South Florida.
Our businesses have flourished and so this past fall we were in need of a second office. So stay tuned for the making of our second office.