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Live-Work Spaces: Pros and Cons 

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A live-work space combines your work space with your living quarters. The Internet has made it possible for many people to work from home and has increased the popularity of such housing. With the continuing rise in costs of commercial office space, it makes sense to own or rent a live-work space. This is not a new idea, but an update on the past arrangement where storekeepers lived above their shops.

In Bend, such units exist in Northwest Crossing and in the Mill Quarter as well as in other areas. Many people currently work from their traditional homes with a separate home office and telecommute and meet clients outside the home. In a live-work unit for businesses that require meeting clients on a regular basis, the typical set-up is a ground floor office and upstairs living quarters. There are both advantages and disadvantages to this type of living arrangement.

The main advantage is the elimination of commute time, and the related costs of commuting, such as gas and automobile mileage. When the weather is bad, you don't have to worry about braving the elements to get to work. Working from home also reduces traffic and reduces a person's carbon footprint. Live-work spaces that are created in reconfigured downtown warehouses can help revitalize areas that may otherwise decline.

Disadvantages arise if you lack self-discipline in separating your work and home life. Self-discipline is probably the most important factor; having the discipline to complete your work and not be distracted by the personal part of your life and likewise not becoming a workaholic at the other extreme. While this is true of any job, it is even more critical when you are on your own. Depending on your line of work, there may also be zoning regulations or community regulations that prevent you from having a business in your home.

Live-work housing spaces can be an asset for workers and employers by reducing commute traffic, reducing the carbon footprint, reducing employer costs that can be passed on to workers, to name just a few. An often-overlooked item is that you can take a tax deduction for a home office space or the office space portion of a live-work space, which can take a bite out of your housing costs.


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