The most costly commodity today besides time is space, especially in the major cities. One of the solutions for this highly demanding market is to convert residential homes into office space. Making the choice to convert a residential space into an office comes with its own benefits but also obligations as well. Learning how to follow through with such a conversion varies by many factors such as location, zoning laws, legalities, associated costs and many more.
Certainly, you need to check with your municipality before committing with any such endeavour to prevent any errors from occurring. Also, it is a way of leveraging property taxes, utilities and mortgage payments. These are just some of the ways our homes cost us money. In the far future, everyone hopes that it will all pay in the long run by selling the house for a profit. Converting it to office space will accelerate that process greatly as it will start making money rather than just costing us. Here are some of the things to know when converting a residential piece of real estate into an office space.
There are several traditional types of property. Commercial, recreational, industrial, agricultural and finally, residential. Rezoning residential property is a challenging task in many ways, one of them being that it impacts the surrounding community as a whole. It increases traffic, both motorized and pedestrian and reduces privacy. An alternative to rezoning are variance requests. These, instead of rezoning the actual land, allow for an exception to the initial zoning classification. It is a much simpler process than rezoning. No matter the choice, there are always strict restrictions in place on the percentage of the property that is allowed to be used for business purposes. Restrictions on the number of customers are also common. Take these considerations seriously and factor them in and make a calculated and educated choice.
Steps for rezoning to Commercial
Do your research, it cannot be stressed enough. Zoning maps are available online and the responsibility of comparing trends falls on your shoulders. Switching from a residential property to a commercial one requires you to formally request a change of zone. This can be allowed only with the proof of how the switch will benefit the entire community. There are ways to help you attain this objective. Try and meet as many neighbours and discuss the plans for the transition to commercial. Besides the government approval, you also need one from the community as well before anything can be finalized. Attend any relevant meetings that are taking place to create relationships with the important factors involved in the process. Collect all the official land details and descriptions. Make sure all the necessary paperwork is being filled. Finally, make sure that the actual zoning request has been filed when all the necessary conditions have been met.
Location is especially important for businesses that are relying on foot traffic and easy access. It makes the most sense for these types of companies to convert a property in order to claim a favourable and well-visited spot in a desirable neighbourhood. A favourable location will help build your brand, get eyes on and attract young talent.
Office space has a lot of financial expenditures associated with it. A square foot is not cheap to acquire and there are many long-term financial commitments. It may very well be more affordable to rent out a house or an apartment to place a business in. If you can find a landlord that offers flexible leases, even better. Try and compare the rental costs of office space with the ones of a residential property. If you find a residential space with flexible zoning, your monthly rent could very well be lower for the foreseeable future. Take into consideration all the costs that you will have to cover before the project is complete and then add some room to breathe for any unforeseeable occurrences. If it comes down to actually needing a loan, make sure to get some favourable home improvement loans instead of the first one offered.
Office spaces have security measures put in place for various reasons. Company data and customer information need to be kept safe, as per official, government guidelines. Fire and electric hazards have their own preventive measures to keep the people safe. The most common practice is to consult a professional security solution provider. Security is a big deal when working with any space, especially a commercial or office as plenty of people will be moving through it and not just physically. Therefore, it would be wise to get this factor out of the way as soon as possible as it may bring some unpredictable necessities. The layout or the building itself may need to be changed which takes a lot of time and resources to finish. Finally, the authorities need to inspect the space and grant the clearance for use. So, make sure everything is up to code according to the local regulations.
Different countries have different rules regarding conversion of residential property to commercial property. Some states have severe restrictions in various aspects while others do not. Assuming that the state allows for such a conversion to even occur, it will be necessary to get official approval from the housing society before committing to anything. Depending on what space will be used for, i.e. the industry and niche, there may be additional required permissions that you need to obtain from the local municipal authority. When the property has been turned to the commercial type, it will be, for all intents and purposes, be treated as such. That includes paying more taxes, especially property taxes.
There are a few things to keep in mind before actually converting a part of a house into an office. First, you will need a shop and establishment licence from the municipal authority that has jurisdiction over the matter. Before actually applying, you need to be clear and transparent on the area needed and the kind of business you are rezoning for. The powers that be will levy commercial charges instead of residential on the property, water and power supply, depending upon the area, property size and the nature of the said business activity. Those costs are usually considerably greater than if the property were to remain in the residential zone. Anticipate, calculate and prepare accordingly.
There are many ways a residential property can be turned into a money-making investment rather than it just costing you. Let’s go over the most lucrative ways to make this happen. Provided that it is legal in your area, you could add a rental suite to your property. For those properties that do not have room inside for such a project, a garage can be converted into one. Some may even allow for a completely separate structure do be added on and constructed for such a project. These do often require to have their own separate entrances as well as a kitchen and bathroom, each. This is regulated by law. Also, do the math on how much and if your rental suite will generate income and if it is worth the hassle. If the project is estimated to generate profit, how much time will it have to pass for it to pay for itself and become profitable? There are simple online tools to help you make those calculations.
Storage space renting
For those that find being a landlord too much of a hassle to turn a buck but have some space available and want to turn it into a steady income source, they should consider renting storage space. There are certain size and characteristic that space itself needs to meet, otherwise, it is a great idea. There are plenty of things people want to store because they are not using it all year long like boats, RVs, motorbikes, etc. They want to protect their precious possessions from the influence of weather, time or the probability of theft. But most of the storage demand is for the all-year-round. Letting someone use your free space can be a nice monthly addition to your budget. As with renting rooms or apartments, your storage needs to stand out as well. Make sure you have all the features that will separate you from the competition and grant you higher rent prices.
If your free space is big enough, you just might be able to monetize it by holding events. Most likely it will not be enough to host concerts or larger events, but smaller ones. Outdoor weddings are a nice example. Again, it depends on the characteristics of your space a rural location would be ideal for such an event. Smaller gigs and concerts take a surprisingly small amount of space to be comfortably held. Again, check for all the prerequisites that you and your space need to meet in order for everything to be up to code.
Convenience and comfort
No matter the type of business you wish to run, it needs to support any employees in their day-to-day needs. Proper ventilation, heating, cooling and access to facilities such as bathrooms are essential and mandatory by law. Parking is increasingly important as people are commuting further and further to their jobs as time progresses. Whether you acquire permits or make your own parking lot reserved for your staff, the neighbours and employees alike will appreciate it greatly. Employees need to have every chance to do their job as efficiently as possible and it is up to you to make it happen. This is just one example of how to do it as possibilities are endless with different industries and niches. How you go on about it depends on the specificities of what your business is doing.
Redesigning a residential property gives you a great opportunity to diverge from the office feel that every other business seems to adopt by default. Make the adjustments to make it feel like an easy and comfortable place to work. It used to be home, after all, you do not need to completely renovate it into a traditional, boring office, but rather tweak it here and there. Introduce colour into the work environment and by doing that show that you are not afraid to think and step outside of the proverbial box. Designate and prepare private spaces for confidential conversations and meetings. The sky is the limit and uses the possibilities given to you to make something new.
Converting a house to a business space is something especially beneficial for startup businesses and businesses in their infancy. The reason for that is the minimal risk associated with this business move. Also, some might decide to live and working in the same building is a great benefit to their lives. It is both economical and convenient. No more long commutes and hours spent on public transport or stuck in traffic. Time is money and you will be saving lots of it in the process. For example, imagine a hard-working young couple that has several children. What a time, effort and money saver would it be for them to work where they live! It sounds great, but be sore to actually separate working space from private. A certain degree of feeling like at home is ingrained into all of us. It is our biological need to have a place to call our own where we can relax and socialize outside of the working environment. A little food for thought.
If you are thinking about converting a residential piece of property to business property, make sure that you have done your homework, first and foremost. Hiring an architect to handle all of your structural needs and a lawyer to handle the legal aspect of such an endeavour is a smart thing to do. Better safe than sorry and it is a great way to get started.