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I have been reading your real estate answers for years but I don’t recall this subject coming up: I need to move in the next couple of years. I run my business out of my home and there are several computers and lots of files with confidential information. When my home goes on the market, can I simply lock this room and keep it off limits? I have nothing to hide, but need to secure my home office. What is the best way for me to sell my home while working from my home?
Working from home
It’s your home and you can dictate showing terms. But there are other options:
1) Ideally potential buyers could see the room, without entering. All computers should be turned off (and be password protected). All files should be kept in locked filing cabinets. To further secure this area, consider taping caution tape blocking the doorway when the home is showing. All showings would be accompanied by a real estate agent, either your agent or if your home has lockbox access, the buyer’s agent who your Realtor® will advise as to these showing restrictions.
2) Multiple family units are often sold with all offers being made subject to buyer’s inspection. Of course this is never the ideal manner to sell a home for the highest possible price. If you were to opt for this strategy. you should have several blown up photos of the room affixed to the door. Additionally a floorplan sketch and measurements of this room should be at your home available for buyers.
Depending on the number of bedrooms in your home, it may be wise to consult with a home stager. There may be space to bring in a day bed and have the room staged so that it shows as a home office and or guest bedroom. If there isn’t room perhaps some of the older files could be stored in a locked filing cabinet in the garage.
I understand that you are concerned about your home office’s security but I strongly suggest that you not be present for showings as this is almost always awkward for buyers. I think the simplest way to sell your home is to have your real estate agent be there for all showings. She can secure your home office by placing caution tape on the door for all open houses.
Hope I was able to help, Phyllis Harb