Advice and Opinion

How a home office can add value to your property

A home-based business can add value to a residential property.

The UK’s Office of National Statistics has shown recently that the number of people working from home has risen to 4,2 million, i.e. roughly 14% of the total workforce. This represents an increase of just over 11% since 1998.

Significantly, reported the Office of National Statistics, about 63% of those working from home describe themselves as professionals and 15% as managers or senior officials.

Much the same trend, said Tony Clarke, Managing Director of the Rawson Property Group, is now clearly evident in South Africa – and it is having a marked effect on the value of those South African residential properties that do include work from home facilities.

“Twenty years ago,” said Clarke, “the vast majority of those working from home were artisans or artists but the internet has changed all that. Today it can be perfectly feasible to run, say, an investment business working largely through one’s PC and the telephone.”

Clarke added that he doubts very much if the percentage of those working from home in South Africa is yet as high as in the UK but all the evidence goes to show that the trend is gaining strength and the numbers here are growing. What is more, he said, work from home facilities are today found not just on the periphery or in major centres but also in many outlying villages.

Stephen Lubbe, the Rawson Property Group’s co-franchisee for the George area reported in early December that there had been a steady increase in the number of people buying in George with the intention of commuting to Cape Town one or two days a week or in some cases one week in two. Such people do a large proportion of their work from the home. The same trend, said Charl Ciliiers, the Rawson Property Group’s franchisee for the Hibiscus Coast in KwaZulu Natal is evident in his area and Tertius Joubert, the Rawson Property Group’s franchisee for Wellington, in a recent interview stated that about half of his new buyers plan to work from home part or full time.

“What this means”, said Clarke, “is that any home owner who ensures that part of his home has been adapted for office work will find that he has definitely enhanced its value.”

“Our group recently sold a home in one of the country districts of the Boland where the relatively new office component created in a sound and heat proofed area was without doubt the most attractive room on the property: full length double glazing leading onto an outdoor deck and air conditioning throughout made it ideal not just for work but also for entertaining.”

The message is therefore clear – if you are looking to add value to your home, upgrade one or two rooms so that they can be used as offices. Today’s buyer will in all probability be prepared to pay higher for such extras.