With more and more real estate investors and professionals giving up the cost and headaches involved with renting office space and moving their operations into the home, unforeseen challenges have cropped up. You would think knowing what you need to setup a real estate home office for success would be a pretty easy question to answer. You need a desk, a chair, a computer or laptop, a cell phone and, that's about it right? Wrong!
Setting up your home office is no different than setting up any other business. If you don't have the right tools and equipment then you're going to make things much harder on yourself than they need to be.
Here's a good checklist to use to make sure you have all of the things you will need to make your home office a place that makes you money.
Reliable, Fast Computer
This is the nerve center of your home business. Everything you do will involve your computer in one way or another. You need to make sure it is capable of running today's sophisticated software programs with speed to spare. Also that it has plenty of storage for both documents along with photographs and videos.
There is too much information out there on the web to try and see it all on one screen. Many times you are researching one document while writing another. Or watching a podcast while making notes on a spreadsheet. Trying to do this all on one monitor is beyond frustrating. Save yourself the headache and get a good pair of monitors. The prices on monitors have dropped that you can now get two for the same price that one would have cost you just a short time ago.
It pretty much goes without saying that we live in a multimedia world. Everything online now not only has video buy audio as well. The only way you're going to hear it is with a good set of desktop speakers. They don't have to be top of the line but you also don't want ones that are going to sound tinny or rattle on your desk if the volume is turned up.
Wireless Keyboard and Mouse
You really don't know how important these are until you start using them. I love being able to move my keyboard all around my desk and still be able to type away. Or sit back and put it in my lap and type from a comfortable reclined position. And having a mouse that can go anywhere without being tied down gives you more room on your desktop and less cables.
Comfortable Headset with Noise Canceling Microphone
This falls under the same category as the wireless keyboard and mouse, except this is much more important. So much business today is done through VOIP. (Voice Over Internet Protocol). This is the feature that lets you talk and surf the web at the same time using your internet connection. It allows programs like Skype to connect people from all over the globe using nothing more than their internet connection and yet they can see and talk to each other. Having a good headset and noise canceling microphone is a must for using any of these online communication services.
All of your equipment is at risk from the smallest spark of static electricity in your lines if you do not have a surge protector. I recommend getting one that also has a battery backup. That way if your power surges not only is your computer protected but you'll have time to save your work and power off your computer properly.
This goes along with the same train of thought as desktop speakers. Not only is the world multimedia but it's only in living color! To be successful you are going to need to be able to share your thoughts, ideas and business proposals with others using eye catching colors and graphics. Having a good color printer is the only way to go.
Laptop or Tablet Computer
While not so much a necessity, these items just make your life a whole lot easier. Laptops let your work anywhere you like. Most laptops today have as much computing power as a comparable desktop. And tablet computers like the iPad make taking your work on the road much more convenient. You can download a document or article you want to read onto your tablet and take it with you anywhere.
High Speed Internet Connection and Modem
Most of today's websites incorporate video as part of their content. Video requires a ton of bandwidth to watch without it getting all choppy. Because of this you are going to want to get a mid-range high speed internet connection. Broadband speeds have come a long way over the past few years and what used to be top speed and highly expensive is now considered mid-level and very affordable. Along with broadband you are going to want a modem that can handle the increased amount of data that will be coming into and going out of your home. If your modem is not up to par, then a data “bottleneck” will happen and you'll see parts of your home network slowing down or crashing.
Daniel Doran is a 20+ year veteran in the real estate industry. He is a previous owner of a law firm, mortgage and title company. Daniel has also written several books on mortgage modification, short sales and real estate investing. He currently specializes in Commercial Finance and Real Estate Development and is a graduate of Manhattanville College and Brooklyn Law School. You can contact Dan at Buildings By Owner.