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Old 10-01-2013, 01:35 AM   #1
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Default Questions about building a workshop...

I live in a very small house. It's about 1500 sq. ft. I have a 1.5 car garage and a finished basement. The house is very comfortable, and I've done a lot of work to it, but it's just too small for all my stuff. I do brewing, wood working, and I'd like to get back into classic cars (I had to sell mine a few years back). Every time I do a project I have to re-arrange everything in my garage. I can only do 1 project at a time.

I've tried convincing my wife to move, but she wants no part of it. I finally told her that if she won't move I'm going to go buy a workshop somewhere. She's fine with it. I'm starting to think about how to go about this.

My requirements are:

  • Must be close to my home.
  • Must have at least 2 car bays.
  • Must have a finishable room, separate from the car bays.
  • Must have a basic bathroom.
  • Must be heated and have basic utilities.

Here are my options:

Option #1:
Buy an existing building that I can renovate to suit my needs. I'll do 95% of the work myself.

I'm thinking of an old repair garage or a small warehouse building. I've been looking, but the cost is pretty high. Most are setup to sell as an ongoing business, so that's factored into the price. Plus, I really can't control location.

Option #2:
Build a new building from scratch. I'll hire someone to do the shell, then finish the rest myself.

I'm thinking of getting a small piece of land and erecting a pole barn, or possibly a 3-car garage with a large loft above it. I've actually found a suitable piece of land about 2 miles from my house. It's at the end of a small subdivision on a crappy corner lot along a very busy piece of road. It sucks for a house, but is perfect for what I want. It's cheap too. It has utilities available (gas, electric, water, sewer).

I have a rough idea of costs for the foundation and the building, but I have no idea about what it might take to get sewer, water, gas, and power to a building like this - or even if it would be allowed.


What do you think about each option?

Has anyone done something like this?

Can anyone give me some advice?
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Old 10-01-2013, 01:48 AM   #2
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Once upon a time I had considered the same thing. Circumstances changed and I didn't need to, but that's not the point. I would recommend option two. Consider that with option one, you would also likely have to pay higher taxes since the building would probably be zoned commercially instead of residentially. Or, if you're lucky enough to find a barn or shop that's already built and doesn't come with a house, that could be suitable, no?

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Old 10-01-2013, 01:51 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmendez29 View Post
Or, if you're lucky enough to find a barn or shop that's already built and doesn't come with a house, that could be suitable, no?
Yes - That's kind of where I started. It's tough to find that though. I think I'll have more options with an existing commercial building or doing one from scratch. Then again, I'm looking at this as a long-term project so waiting for the right property is an option.
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Old 10-01-2013, 03:22 AM   #4
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Find a house with a shop then rent the house out to pay the bills.

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Old 10-01-2013, 04:53 AM   #5
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Keep in mind that not all municipalities will allow a garage without a house. They think that a stand alone garage will be used for commercial use and won't issue the permit.

I like reynolds idea.

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Old 10-01-2013, 05:23 AM   #6
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Why not build another garage in the back yard?

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Old 10-01-2013, 05:54 AM   #7
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I knew a guy that was into cars and bought a house with a detached garage. Rented the house, used the garage for himself. Worked out well.

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Old 10-01-2013, 02:05 PM   #8
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I have a similar situation. Bicycles, woodworking, and brewing. Everything in my 1.5 car garage is on wheels. When it's clean, it's quite manageable. That said, we're looking at taking it down and making a full 2.5 car garage with a floor drain and water for a brewing area, then separate woodworking area. We'll see.

i know this doesn't really answer your question, but more a look at how you have your shop setup. Perhaps there's way's to make it more manageable?

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Old 10-01-2013, 03:47 PM   #9
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Thanks for the replies.

I'm limited with my current yard. I don't have a lot of room for expansion since I'm in a subdivision.

My current setup rquires a lot of shifting around. I have everything on wheels. When it's clean it's manageable, but if I'm in the middle of a project it becomes a problem. I end up rolling things out into my driveway before I can work. Everything fits together like a 3-D puzzle. Room for a car is my main problem. I had to pay to store my old car. It was real a pain finding a storage area. It's the main reason I sold it.

The house idea is a good one. There are some small houses with huge yards in my area. A little work and I could probably get one in rentable shape. I'm not sure I want to become a landlord though.

I did wonder about the building permit. I assumed I might have a problem getting a permit for a garage only. I'll have to look into that locally.

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Old 10-01-2013, 04:23 PM   #10
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Add a second floor to garage ,go up.

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