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There are a number of considerations that one must go through to buy a new home, particularly one you work in. Anyone who has been through a house sale while living in the house knows about something called “staging.” Space requirements in the new house aside, […]

for-sale-sign.gifThere are a number of considerations that one must go through to buy a new home, particularly one you work in. Anyone who has been through a house sale while living in the house knows about something called “staging.” Space requirements in the new house aside, one issue that may come up is the fact you probably have to sell the house you currently live in while continuing to earn a living.

Part of that process involves removing the excess stuff from your home to make it appear spacious and inviting to potential buyers. This, unfortunately, includes work-related stuff. For some people, work-related material may be a laptop and some paperwork. For me, however, it’s a good portion of the contents of my office! And that’s just the start of uncertainty.

In addition, once the house is actually listed, I will have to be able to vacate the premises at a moment’s notice so potential buyers can come through the house. I suppose it’s a bit like when you work in a coffee shop and the proprietor shoos you away because you’re using the bandwidth and not buying enough coffee. Except in this case, I will be going to find the coffee shop. Fortunately, there’s a Starbucks nearby and my employer pays for T-Mobile Hotspot access.

This kind of unstable home-working situation is, in most cases, likely to be temporary. That being said, here are a few tips for coping with this situation:

  1. Know what you can do in what circumstances. Given that you could be interrupted at any point in time and have to move your work location, understand what in your current workload can be done and be prepared to shift to those things when necessary.
  2. Try to work only with tools that can be packed up and ready to go at a moment’s notice. That means using your laptop, cell phones, and other portable devices.
  3. Have your laptop bag ready to go at a moment’s notice. Have it pre-packed with the essentials–chargers for your laptop and mobile phone, portable peripherals, a power strip–Monster makes this great travel one–and anything else you might need. It shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to stuff your laptop in there and be ready to go.
  4. Consider taking some time off. It’s likely you’ll need some to actually do the move anyway, but if you can, why not take off a little more?

Have you tried working at home while your house is being sold? What kinds of issues did you run into doing this? Post your thoughts and questions in the comments.

  1. I’ve done this a couple of times over the last 10 years of working at home and the biggest pain is when meetings and impromptu showings collide. If you have some notice, you can scoot off to the nearest Starbucks as suggested and dial into a conference call on your cel phone,. But there’s nothing quite like that “oh crap” moment when you are already on an important call and the doorbell rings with a “we were just driving by, saw the sign, and wanted to take a look as long as we were here.” Throw in a toddler and 3 dogs and that’s a really stressful moment even if there is another adult present.

    If at all possible, you need to be accommodating to the potential buyer. Since you never know who will be “the one”, you can’t afford to pass anybody up. But, if you explain that you work out of the house, I’ve found that most people who want to see your house are open to the compromise of you taking your call in the back yard or the garage while they are inside. They don’t want you peering over their shoulder as they go room to room, but typically won’t care if you are still physically on the property provided you are out of their way.

    If you haven’t done so already, this is a great excuse for a cordless phone and wireless equipment so you aren’t chained to the desk. That way, you can set up shop on the patio furniture for 30 minutes and, wiith creative use of a phone mute switch, not have to interrupt the call you are on when the potential buyer comes knocking.

    Pete Johnson
    HP.com Chief Architect
    Personal Blog: http://nerdguru.net

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  2. Another suggestion would be to have a place scoped out that you can go to with free wi-fi. I wouldn’t mind dropping a few bucks on a cup of coffee or a drink to borrow some Wifi. Have it pre-planned with also not require you to go searching around with NetStumbler running search for free hotspots. :)

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  3. [...] The winner of the Narrow Niche of the Day list is Web Worker’s Daily compilation of 4 tips to work from home, while trying to sell your House [...]

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  4. Instead of driving around the neighborhood, I can easily park my car down the street a little and hit my own WiFi. Hm… I might have to try that.

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  5. [...] fine folks at Web Worker Daily have published my autobiographical piece on selling your house while you work in it. The big challenge right now is actually maintaining focus on work-work that I have to do rather [...]

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