Business owners are slowly inclining towards the flexibility of a home office. And, real estate brokers are not behind this trend. Most modern brokers/agents are realizing the need for being more accessible through telecommunication. so, does it really make sense for a real estate broker to have a home office?
It’s becoming more normal nowadays for real estate brokers to have home offices. The main reason is the job type which includes a lot of commuting and meeting with people. Most of the work is done outside the regular brick-and-mortar offices.
But there’s more to this story. And, if you are pursuing a career as a broker or real estate agent, we want you to know both sides of the coin. So, without further ado, let’s get into it.
Does A Real Estate Broker Need Physical Office?
Let’s start by breaking down the most basic question. Does a real estate broker really need a physical office? Well, if we stick to the “office” only, then, yes. Like any other business, brokers need to deal with a lot of paperwork. They collect contract papers from the property owners and deliver them to the buyer. They also receive multiple letters from sellers or buyers with a long list of requirements. So, it’s pretty functional to have a separate office setup.
But, if your house has enough space, you can build your own small office and work from home. Yeah, real estate brokers hardly meet their clients inside a brick-and-mortar office nowadays. The meetings happen usually inside a café or where the property exists. It’s more convenient for the client that way. That’s the reason, more brokers are not finding it feasible to have a physical office outside their homes.
4 Advantages Of Working From Home As A Real Estate Broker
The biggest benefit of having a home office is definitely the cost-saving. But, there are certain other benefits that you can enjoy as a broker from this kind of office setting. Let’s dig them all out.
1. No Office Rent
What’s the best part of working from home? Well, it’s the chunk of money you can save each month. Considering the growth of population, a small office set up in New York can cost you around $500 to $600. You would want the office to lift your business since you are spending so much. But guess what? The real estate industry doesn’t work that way. In fact, we have seen clients who never even stepped foot inside their broker’s office.
The brokering business heavily relies on your ability to commute and visit the locations. If you are a seller’s agent, you would meet the clients right where the property is. And, they can always communicate with you via mobile phones to add anything to their requirement list.
Moreover, with the growing popularity of online business apps like Zoom, Skype, etc, the need for a physical office is diminishing. To be honest, we wouldn’t suggest you spend a significant amount on something that would hardly increase the value for your clients. Plus, who wouldn’t want to save some money?
2. Easy To Invest In A Car
First impressions really last a long time. That’s why business owners invest in an aesthetically pleasing office space. It intrigues the client to view your business as reliable. However, we earlier mentioned how brokering clients hardly want to visit a physical office. In that case, how can you influence their first impression of you?
Well, expert brokers suggest you invest in a top-notch car. Even if the clients don’t see your office, they will surely notice the type of vehicle you use. It would create a negative impression if your car isn’t well-maintained.
On the other hand, if you maintain a nice car, it would leverage your brokering business to a great extent. Even though the clients have no idea what your office looks like, they would assume you are successful in the business. That causes them to trust you more.
3. Better Chances Of Catching A Client
Long gone are days when clients would reach you through flyers or a business card. Nowadays, it’s the brokers who need to chase a client. You can’t just sit in your air-conditioned office and expect everything to fall in place. To see the plot you are selling, you have to visit it multiple times. And, there’s a good chance you might find your potential clients in one of these locations.
Instead of wasting time in a physical office, roaming around those properties would benefit you more. By working remotely, you can lower the number of places you have to be. Just leave your home office to meet clients, verify personally, collect documents, etc. A broker who is out there will definitely catch more clients than someone nesting inside an office.
4. More Flexible Office Hours
Of course, you have to be always available for your clients. You have to meet them at restaurants, cafes, or within the property to seal a deal. The schedule is hectic enough. We see busy real estate brokers always on their toes, moving from one client to another.
Adding a physical office in this scenario would take the valuable time you can spare for your family. You would have to visit the office every day to check your mail or do regular paperwork. The obligation to always go to the office might bring down the fun in your profession.
Instead, you can opt for a home office. That way, you can step into the office whenever you need to see some paper or talk to a client via Zoom. And, the second it’s over, you can sleep in your bed. That’s super flexible.
3 Disadvantages Of Working From Home As A Real Estate Broker
It’s not all sunshine and roses. You have to tackle some limitations of a home office for this brokering business. Let’s check them out one by one.
1. Lack Of Professionalism
Yes, the first criticism you will have to face is the lack of professionalism. Even though modern clients prefer digital meet-ups, some of them still like the old way. Moreover, it’s hard to convince a client that you can complete the task without a physical office. For example, showcasing the properties at your hand, the reviews from previous clients, and whether you are certified or not, such information is hard to deliver in an online setting.
Having a well-furnished office with proof of success pushes you further into winning a client. And, even if you are digitally connected to the sellers/buyers, you will have to talk through video calls. In that case, having a proper environment around you is hard without an office. Trust us, it’s a major turn-off when the broker invites you for a zoom meeting and he is in the bedroom.
2. Lack Of Privacy
Another problem with working from home is the address. You definitely need to provide potential clients with a business card to contact you. Since it you work remotely, you are literally giving away your home address to everyone. The problem is you never know who might have bad intentions.
All your clients are going to send documents to your designated home office via mail. It would be a big hassle separating the personal ones out of them.
3. Poor Environment For Meetings
Even though it’s rare, you might get visitors in your office. People who prefer to talk physically would like to see a broker’s office. In that case, you might not want them to see your messy home office inside a bedroom.
You can still manage to organize a meeting in your living room. But that’s only fruitful if the area has an ambiance suitable for such situations. Otherwise, you are off to create a big negative impression.
Can A Real Estate Broker Have A Home Office?
So, finally, do we have an answer now? Well, a real estate broker can most certainly work from home. It saves the time required to travel to the office and pay big monthly rent. It also makes a lot of sense if you like reaching out to your clients.
On the other hand, this decision comes at a cost. You might be doing a great job and still be called “less professional.” And, if you want to remove that label, be prepared to invest a good chunk of money in remodeling the home office. It includes painting the walls, attaching ceiling lights, and furnishing the whole room with a meeting zone, couches, desks, and cabinets.
If you are okay with bearing these costs, we think it’s perfectly fine for you to have a home office.
Before You Go!
It seems like the benefit stream is never ending for a home office. Apart from all the plus points we have just described, you can even ask for a tax exemption. Yes, you heard it right. If you are self-employed or run your own brokering business, you can write off the space designated for the office. Sounds interesting?
Then, check out our article on what are the basic requirements to write off a home office.