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

nkats, Mar 2, 2022

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.

About the Author

Last updated: 03/08/2022

2100+ Client reviews!

Bramlett Residential, and more importantly Joe Gage were amazing at helping my wife and I buy our very first home. Bramlett & Joe made the whole process stress free, and really helped expedite the process for us. We had no idea we would find exactly what we were looking for so quickly! Joe was very knowledgable on numerous things such as market strategy, what things to look for while touring homes, and he quickly understood exactly what type of home my wife and I were looking for. He was also in constant communication with us throughout the whole process which helped us feel very comfortable in a situation that could have been stressful. I will confidently recommend Bramlett & Joe Gage to anyone in the Austin area going forward!

 

We worked with Crystal Hirst and she did an amazing job. She went above and beyond to make sure that we found the right property for us. Our search initially was all over the place and we didn’t even know what kind of property we wanted. Nonetheless, Crystal was incredibly helpful and patient while working with us to find our home. Crystal would point out all the pros and cons for any place that we would consider and we felt we could trust her. As first-time homebuyers we felt this was important because we did not know what red flags to look for in a property. Additionally, she was communicative and extremely responsive throughout the entire process. We were very satisfied with Crystal and would recommend her to anyone with no reservations whatsoever.

 

It was a pleasure working with Shaun, he is a very pro-active person and move things fast, communication was assertive and clear. As a first time buyer I could not have been in better hands and would recommend him a hundred percent.

 

Jan was wonderful to work with!  Bringing a toddler while house-hunting can be a nightmare, but Jan made it fun for all of us.  It felt more like exploring the area with family.  We didn’t feel any rush or pressure to buy, and we knew Jan had our best interests in mind.  She was always friendly, but when it came time to negotiate, she fought hard to get us the best deal.  I would highly recommend working with Jan whether you are buying or selling.  If we ever move, we’ll definitely be asking for Jan again.

Jan is fantastic!  We moved from out of town, and she was great about showing us around and researching schools and home-builders for us so we could make the right choice.  Jan showed us both rentals and new builds in a rainy, single-day house-hunting trip, and, despite the weather, her enthusiasm never wavered.  We have been in Leander for two years now, and Jan still keeps in touch and serves as a source for local info!  If we ever move again, she’ll be our first call!

Because we were first-time home-buyers, Jan was the wind beneath our wings while we worked with her.  She listened to what we wanted and made sure that we weren’t getting into something that would damage us in the long run.  She was passionate, caring, and very knowledgeable.  We were from out of town, and she taught us a lot about the area and gave us some insider knowledge that helped lead us to a great home.  She gave us advice for the future when we might become serious about homes, and she prepared us not just for purchasing our home but also for potentially reselling it years down the line.  Working with Jan was easy and enjoyable; she was on our side from day one.  She went above and beyond my wildest expectations and really raised the bar for realtors in my eyes.

Jan Daum is a realtor with panache!!!  When you sign up with her to sell your house, you can rest assured she will get it done fast, at the best possible price, and with all the tools in her toolbox put to use.  I’d no sooner signed on the dotted line than Jan showed up with a stager and a photographer.  My home went online with a very classy display and sold over asking in less than a week, and with multiple offers!  Jan did not even get a chance to hold the planned open house.  Jan was with me every step of the way and kept in touch constantly.  I would recommend Jan Daum as a realtor for any property and at any price point.  You will not be disappointed with the service or the results.

Corrine was a dream to work with. She kept us up to date and was transparent with us through our house hunting experience. She connected us with great people to work with to get our place to close quick and easy. Will definitely recommend her and was a great pleasure working with!

 

We had the pleasure of working with Elken Miller and we loved our experience working with her. She is knowledgeable in her filed and will give you her honest opinion and she held our hand the entire process and we bought in 2021 which was a very competitive market at the time and she was absolutely awesome in helping us secure the house we wanted!
She is warm and always returns your calls and is on top of things you may not have even thought of. I highly recommend Elken Miller!

 

I started working with Elken summer of 2020. I had just moved to Austin and had no idea where to start looking given my tight budget and all the bidding wars happening. Elken helped me navigate that process every step of the way with ease. She was able to find me a new built in Elgin that fit perfectly with my needs. She is incredibly knowledgeable in the housing market, has great business acumen and is very resourceful. Elken also assisted me in negotiating with builder, lenders, and third parties (e.g. alternative “buy before you sell” type of lender, etc.) and did not stop until I got a great deal. In addition, she is thorough and proactive ensuring that all your questions are answered and that your expectations are met. Lastly, she is friendly and kind and never ceased to go above and beyond for me during my home buying journey. I will absolutely work with Elken again whenever I am ready to find a new place.

 

We enjoyed working with Elken at Bramlett Residential Real Estate for buying our first home. She’s detail oriented, help us address concerns, and always willing to answer questions that we have along the way. Highly recommended and we would definitely work with Elken again when an opportunity comes in the future.

 

As first time home buyers and new to the area, Elken Miller was a true blessing. Elken went above and beyond to search for a perfect home for our growing family, before the baby’s arrival. She listened to our needs, wants and stayed within our budget. She walked us through each step and treated us like family. We are now first time home buyers of a brand new build, in a beautiful area with a large backyard where we can create memories with our baby! Elken is professional, knowledgeable, caring and will not give up on what you’re searching for until she finds it. She’s the best and we truly thank her for everything.