Where (And How) To Live When You Work From Home

Posted Mar 2, 2022
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A person smiling and holding their child as they work at their desk from home.

The Covid-19 pandemic has radically changed the workplace. According to Global Workplace Analytics, 4.1% of the US workforce worked at least part of the time remotely before the pandemic. That figure jumped to 69% at the height of the coronavirus problem, and now 82% of Americans are hoping to work remotely in some capacity after the pandemic ends.

The remote work trend may continue after COVID-19 becomes less of a concern. This is an attractive idea for many professionals because it may mean that they can buy a home anywhere without considering a daily commute to the office.

However, there are several vital considerations that remote workers should think about when choosing a new home in post-COVID-19 America.

Consider Your Company’s Legal Considerations

While remote jobs do not require you to be in a specific location, some companies may limit the places where staff and contractors can live. For one, businesses with a hybrid work arrangement will require you to live close enough for occasional trips to the office.

More importantly, companies may not hire remote employees from specific states because of state-specific tax and labor laws.

Some companies prefer to work with contractors rather than remote employees. In many states, there are penalties for misclassifying employees as contractors. Other states have laws that make remote hiring difficult. Companies have been avoiding Colorado when hiring remote workers because of its Equal Pay for Equal Work law, which requires all job listings to post a salary range. Failure to do this can result in significant fines.

Also, companies consider tax implications when hiring employees in certain states. Some states require tax withholding regardless of the company’s office location, while others do not. In short, employees who live in other states could create tax and accounting headaches for employers. Furthermore, states may have unemployment or disability insurance requirements for employees who live within their borders.

It is best to go over these issues with a current employer before moving. Most of these problems arise if you move out of state. For instance, there will not be tax implications for your employer if you live in Texas and relocate within the state.

Pay Attention to Property Taxes

Remote workers should also consider their taxes when choosing a place to live. Of course, if you move to an area with low or no income taxes, you will get to bring home more of your pay.

You should also think about property taxes, which can add a significant amount to your monthly home payments. You typically cover property tax expenses by putting them in an escrow account when you make your monthly mortgage payment.

Property taxes can vary by city or county, and you likely want to bypass places with high taxes. One reason to avoid high-tax cities is that several prominent companies such as Google pay remote employees less than those in the office. You may make less money and have higher property taxes if you’re not careful.

Property taxes vary, but they can be up to 2.13% of the value of your property, which is the effective rate in New Jersey. This makes it important to enlist the help of a real estate agent with local knowledge to find you a place in an area with a lower tax rate.

Look For Ample Social Opportunities

Most homeowners want to be near places to socialize, engage in cultural activities, and find entertainment outside of work. For remote workers who spend most of their time communicating with people in the digital realm, venues that offer a chance to be around other people are even more important.

With this in mind, your interests and preferences may influence your chosen location. If you are interested in sports, a health club, stadium, or athletic field can be attractive. For others, live music venues, restaurants, bars, or coffee shops are better neighborhood after-work spots.

In general, smaller towns have few amenities and attractions, but some people may prefer their sense of community compared to larger cities. At the same time, some urban neighborhoods have a tight-knit community feel.

Your chosen location will depend on your preferences and what you expect from your local community. However, remote workers need to find a place that presents a chance to connect with others during their free time.

Live Near the Lake or in a Sunny Area

The climate and natural scenery of your chosen location are also important. Remote workers spend hours a day at home staring at screens. As such, post-work trips outdoors may counteract this solitary behavior, which may benefit your physical and mental health.

Therefore, you may want to find a place with a sunny climate that allows for outdoor activities year-round. Such a climate can have a measurable positive effect on your mental health and outlook.

Urban or suburban lakes offer an attractive setting because they offer activities on the water and typically have open spaces and trails for exercising and relaxing onshore. You might even consider a lakeside home that will allow you to make these activities part of your daily schedule. If you are passionate about pastimes like fishing or boating, this setting can prove especially ideal.

Make Sure There Are Adequate Food Options

The right location can help you access social scenes and physical activities. You should consider access to good food, too. Good restaurants can be fun, but you also need to be near supermarkets that sell healthy foods.

Academic studies show that where you live can significantly affect what you eat. You do not want to end up in a food desert with limited healthy grocery options. You should try to find a place with nearby grocers, markets, or other food retailers who have produce and other healthy food options year-round.

It can also be helpful to find a place with healthier (non-fast-food) restaurants nearby for those times when you don’t want to cook. Convenient, healthy options can go a long way toward keeping your diet healthy after a long day of work.

Live Somewhere Near Proper Healthcare

Access to healthcare is essential for a good quality of life. This has always been the case, but it became even more evident during COVID-19. However, you need to consider this issue when looking for a new home because many places lack nearby medical facilities.

According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, 25% of Americans do not have easy access to a facility to receive medical services. If possible, you should find a location with a nearby medical clinic and a hospital within driving distance.

Live Where You Are Happy

Last but not least, you should strive to live where you will be most mentally healthy and happiest. Since you spend most of your time at home working remotely, disliking your house can become a significant problem.

If you find yourself in this scenario, consider the following options. Renovating or making any changes can not only alter the look of the house, but also your attitude towards it.

If an upgrade on your current home isn’t possible, you can consider moving to a new place. If you are going to sell and buy a new home, make sure you find one that has the features and design that you want.

Regardless of your choice, remote work will be more fulfilling if you have surroundings you love.

1800+ Client reviews!

Niharika Hubli

Working with Lauren Yoder and Sarah Crowson has been an absolute pleasure as my husband and I ventured to buy our first home in Austin, TX.

They were patient with us through out the process allowing us to digest it all make clear decisions. While we bought our home while physically being in California, it brought a lot of challenges with viewing, closing etc. Lauren and Sarah made it a priority to include us in all steps of the process and went above and beyond to keep us in the loop and make sure we are comfortable!

If you are looking to buy a property in Austin, I highly recommend Lauren and Sarah from Bramlett Residential. They are professional, friendly, honest, extremely resourceful and make buying a home easy!

Derek Gaskamp

Chris Kirk helped us look for a house in the Austin area and found an amazing property that we were going to close on in the North Austin area. Then at the last minute, work took us to San Antonio instead. Rather than ignoring us once we told him about our change of location, Chris pointed us to a great agent in San Antonio who helped us close on a new home this April. The entire time we worked with our new agent, Chris stayed in contact to see how things were going, from the time we started looking until we closed and even after. Even after we moved in, Chris made sure to reach out and see if there was anything he could help us with. All around professional and phenomenal guy!

Steve Ziessler

Kasey recently helped my wife and me with both the sale of our home as well as the purchase of a new home in Austin Texas. My wife and I have worked with over 15 real estate brokers and agents on several real estate transactions over the years and I can say with confidence that Kasey is the best we have ever partnered with. Kasey has the qualities that make her an extremely successful and effective real estate agent. I can’t say enough about her professionalism and knowledge within the industry. She has extremely high integrity, very conscientious, tenacious and a great advisor while always keeping the client’s best interests in mind. Kasey is a pleasure to work with!!!

Bethany Smith

Erin Szczerba is the absolute best! She found us the perfect gem of a house! Erin was thorough, professional and great to work with. She kept us apprised on all the necessary details and worked hard to ensure a smooth closing transaction, even with us being 1,000 miles away. She was honest and forthright – no games. After dealing with many agents across the USA over the years, we can honestly say Erin is incredible! She stands out from the crowd! Highly recommend!

Westley Burger

We were first-time home buyers in the crazy Austin market and Erin Szczerba was an amazing agent who helped us successfully find a great home. She helped us learn about the buying process and had a lot of great advice along the way. Erin was very responsive and was able to set up viewings for us on short notice which was very helpful in the hot Austin market.The financing team that she recommended was also a great resource and was able to help us put offers in on short notice. With Erin’s help, we were able to get a winning offer in our our house just a couple hours after seeing it on a Saturday morning. We are very grateful to her for all her help and would definitely recommend her to anyone looking to buy in Austin region!

Kim Ziessler

Kasey Gilliam with Bramlett Residential Real Estate is by far the best realtor I have ever worked with. Eric Bramlett the owner has also been great through the entire process. My husband and I have bought and sold over 15 homes in the last 40 years so we have a lot of realtors to compare her too. Kasey is a true professional in every since of the word. She showed us a lot of homes over the last 1 1/2 years but never wasted our time with homes she knew wouldn’t work for us. Her honesty and her attention to detail was spot on. She was always accessible no matter when we contacted her. Kasey and her assistant Kim worked hard from showings, offers, contracts, working with title companies and other realtors. I would recommend Kasey Gilliam to my family and friends or anyone looking to buy and/or.sell in Austin. Trust me she works hard and knows her stuff.

Herminia Silva

My husband and I sold our house in North Austin, Texas with the help and beautiful work of Kasey Gilliam and a team from Bramlett Residential Real Estate. We were thinking that the process of selling our house would be stressful and tedious, but was exciting every day. Up to date information was giving from the agency each time a house was listed in our area, and helped us to determined the most competitive price for our house with great results. They helped us in every stage of the process, from making our house attractive for a good price for listing it, to maintaining it in good shape, to until the closing process. We are so satisfied that we recommend their services.

Katie Steadman

Trey Blanco helped us buy our first home in one of the hottest markets in the country and we couldn’t be more thrilled! We are so grateful to have had Trey on our side, and can’t recommend him enough.

Rachel Drew

Kasey Gilliam with Eric Bramlett Residential successfully guided us through the house selling process from the very start when we were planning to sell, through deciding what improvements to make, taking photographs, listing, and closing. From the very beginning of our conversation, we knew we’d scored a pro who we could trust to give us solid advice and keep us on track, and that is exactly how it went down. She kept us apprised of the market with just the right amount of email updates. She was willing to work with our timeline, even when it changed a bit, and kept all the details managed and smooth, so that we didn’t need to. I would recommend her without hesitation to anyone looking to sell.

Ross G

Chris Kirk has been working with us in the Austin area looking for a home for the past several months and was there working diligently every step of the way. From looking at and scheduling viewings and working with other relators and business to help get us what we wanted. Chris was always knowledgeable and compassionate with our needs and fears, and never once left us hanging and if he said he was going to do something or check on it, it was always taken care of. Communication was out standing and he always made sure we understood what was going on and was willing to answer any question we had. Chris was spot on with his readings of the market and finding us the right house for our needs. He really does treat you like family and to me there are no better hands to trust a very serious purchase to. Even after the purchase he is there to help and work with you and that is some amazing customer service.

George Ting

Agent: Linda Baddour I rarely write reviews, and almost never 5 stars. However, my experience with Linda was far beyond any I have had with other (many) realtors, and I really have no criticisms or suggestions to her at all. She had excellent knowledge of local market, Especially north Austin where she has greatest familiarity. She listened well!! Can’t do well without doing that. Showed appropriate homes, and knowledgeable about each one. Very accommodative for intense 48 hours of driving around as I am out of towner. Suggested good bids which were successful resulting in purchasing 2 homes in that time frame. Then meticulously followed up on every detail, setting up inspections, getting amendments, getting repairs, following up, and closing smoothly. I was out of town after making the offers, and she performed as if I were looking over her shoulder. Excellent communicator, people skills and a pleasure to work with. I have recommended her to others where I am and they will seek her out as remote investors, given my experience.

Sandy

Our experience with Becky was exceptional. She is amazing and great! We worked with several realtors in the past but nobody was even close to what Becky did for us! I’d give her 10/10 hands-down. Don’t think just call her and she is great to work with. Very dedicated, punctual, proactive! BEYOND EXPECTATIONS! Exceeds expectations!! Way to go, Becky. Great to work with you and Bramlett ofcourse is doing a great job of hiring stellar people 🙂