Moving? 5 Deal Breakers for the Homeworker

Each time you’re searching for a new place to live, you have a list of “deal breakers” for your new home. For some it might be a dish washer or a second bathroom, for others laundry, a backyard or storage space. But for the freelancer working from home, there’s an entirely different list that can make or break a place.

Currently on the hunt for a new apartment, I’ve written my five-item list down and wanted to share with the homeworker community to stash away for moving day.

A Home Office Space

Why are we moving? Well, long story short, our landlords got caught by the county for building an addition on our apartment (long before we lived there) without permits, and they now have to tear that part down.

That addition just happens to be the space I use as my home office.

A home office is not your bed where you work on your laptop at night, nor the couch in front of your TV. Just ask the IRS! You need a separate room not only for your tax deductions, but also where you can set up your desk, computers, printer, etc., store all of your files and paperwork and most importantly, work productively and free from distractions.

It’s OK if your office also works as a guest room for the occasional visitor, just make sure it has outlets and is a comfortable working space, i.e. not the attic or garage where it will be extremely hot or cold, depending on the season.

Internet

I made a huge mistake when signing my current lease two years ago: I didn’t inquire enough about the Internet, which the previous tenants didn’t even have! It turned out that although we live on the same street as several restaurants, a hotel and plenty of wineries, Internet was hard to come by at our new home.

The only provider we could get was HughesNet, who charges you by the amount of data you use. And as someone who works out of the home, downloading and uploading large photo and video files daily, I needed a lot of data. We’ve been paying about $115 per month for Internet, and we can’t even stream Netflix. My next apartment will have access to affordable Internet on an unlimited monthly plan (like Comcast) with a strong connection.

Close Proximity to Coffee

One of the drawbacks of my current apartment is that I’m about a 10-minute drive from the nearest coffee shop where I might want to work every once in a while. I happen to be extremely productive in a coffee shop work environment, but I rarely ever make the trip. This isn’t going to be realistic for everyone, but if possible, try to choose a location close to, or in town, where you can easily seek additional “office space,” or even a good meeting spot for you and your clients. My goal is to be able to walk or ride my bike to one.

Here’s a list of reasons why you should definitely try working in coffee shops, even if you have a home office, from Fast Company.

Quiet

If you’re going to be productive, you can’t be bothered throughout the day by disruptive sounds, like ambulances, trains, traffic, construction, planes, school playgrounds, etc. Just because a place seems quiet during your visit, doesn’t mean it’ll always be that way. Do a little research on the neighborhood surroundings before you sign on the dotted line.

An Outdoor Space

This isn’t necessarily a deal breaker, but it’s something that I’ve really come to value since I made the switch to freelance. There are some days where I’m so engaged in my work that I forget to leave the house entirely. As a result, I get stir crazy. If you’re too busy to escape for a full lunch or workout break, an outdoor patio or yard will allow you to either take your work outside for a bit if the weather is nice, or reward yourself with small breaks to enjoy a cup of coffee, meditate or listen to the birds. Basically, a little fresh air will keep you sane.

These five items are at the top of my list during my current apartment search. What are some of your deal breakers for a new living space? Share in the comments.

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