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Setting Boundaries for Your Homebased Business

How to separate your home from your home office

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This story appears in the June 2001 issue of HomeOfficeMag.com.

Q: My homebased business is growing, both financially and physically. I stock an inventory, and despite computers, I have paper files. I'm finding that even space-saving office equipment takes up space. I need to expand from using one bedroom in my six-room house to using two rooms. But I'm concerned about disrupting my family life. Any suggestions?

A: There may be legal as well as practical answers to this question. A significant number of communities have zoning ordinances limiting the percentage of a home's floor space that can be devoted to a home business. One state, Maryland, has even codified a limit into state law. The typical limitation is 20 to 25 percent of the floor area of a dwelling. Do you need to worry if your home office grows to occupying 28 percent of your home? Probably not, unless you live in a community that sends out inspectors each year to check out home businesses for their zoning compliance-or if you have an unhappy neighbor, whose complaint might provoke an inspection.

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