For Sale by Owner – Home Office – Industry Trend or Event

For Sale by Owner – Home Office – Industry Trend or Event – Statistical Data Included

Lisa Roberts

Has your burgeoning business recently sent you on a house hunt? Probably not. According to a National Association of Realtors (NAR) survey, of the 5.2 million homes purchased in 1999, just 1 percent were bought with a home office foremost in mind.

What NAR’s survey doesn’t reflect, however, are the subtle ways technology and the Internet are affecting both what buyers want and the way houses are bought and sold. According to Paige Slyman of Atlanta-based Re/Max, conversations about “where to put the computer” have become as commonplace as “where to put the TV.” And Blanche Evans, editor of the online trade publication “Realty Times” adds that PCs have become such a fixture in everyday life that it’s more like “where to put the kitchen sink.”

Other surveys also reflect changing attitudes. For instance, Better Homes and Gardens recently asked readers what home buyers really want. Results in hand, the magazine teamed up with a Memphis architectural firm and a North Carolina builder to create what it calls the Blueprint 2000 show house. In this new dream house, flex space–the new buzzword for that extra room–is strategically placed to the left, off the front hall entrance. This way, if you use the room for a home business, clients won’t have to walk through the house.

Realtors aren’t the only ones following the home office boom. A recent survey conducted by Kay Hudson, founder of the American Builders Network Inc., or ABN (–an Internet portal that matches home builders with buyers–found that 86.6 percent of builders say their clients routinely request extra phone and cable jacks for their PCs. “Computers are like members of the family–with lots of consideration made for their comfort and convenience” explains Hudson.

ABN member Joyce Wilden of Holiday Builders Inc. in Melbourne, Fla., concurs: “I think we’re going to see homes with several computers.” Wilden adds that even customers who don’t yet own a PC debate where to place an extra phone jack for when they inevitably get one.

While the homebuilding industry is abuzz over incorporating flex space and Category 5 cabling into new floor plans, Peter Cook makes a case for buying an older home. The Philadelphia-based host of CompuDudes (, a children’s computing show on National Public Radio, Cook argues that the double-layered floors in his 80-year-old home soundproof the place so both he and his wife can alternately work and take care of their preschoolers. Second, there’s the view of 100-year-old trees lining his Elkins Park, Pa., street–tough to find in new developments.

Meanwhile, at least one home business owner not only fits into NAR’s 1 percent statistic, but moved to Rolling Meadows, Ill., to be closer to her business partner. Linda Faust, co-owner of, a company that sells aromatherapy products, walked through 25 to 30 homes in her partner’s neighborhood before she found one in her price range that featured both a dedicated room for her office and adequate yard space to grow her products’ lavender, rosemary, chocolate mint, and rose plants.

COPYRIGHT 2000 CURTCO Freedom Communications

COPYRIGHT 2000 Gale Group