treesner

cost of building a garage shop with living quarters

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Anyone have experience building a shop with living quarters? wondering how much the price difference would be between just a shop and shop with living quarters. Bonus if you built in California and have dealt with the higher cost permits. 

I'm single and 30, looking at houses in the mountains ~1 hours from tahoe (mostly out of the snow) and  as you might have guessed my main priority is the workshop but also having a bit of land for other creative projects like milling up logs and such. I've looked at a couple houses with a separate little living cottages and that really excites me as I would just rent out the 3bed house and live in the little cottage. but many of the places only have a 2 car garages. I'm thinking I would want more space than a 2 car since I've been cramped in a less than 1 car garage shop for to long. 

 

 I'm trying to figure out what would be best situation:

a) buy house (rent it) + cottage (live in it) + 2 car garage, then build a bigger shop later

b) buy house (live in 1 room, rent other 2) + 1-2 car garage, then build a big shop with living quarters so I can rent out the whole house later

c) buy property, put in septic/well/electrical, build shop + living quarters, then later build a house 

 

 

 

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I bought land when I was a little younger than you, and single.  There is no way I could buy it now.  I feel like I was lucky to have made that decision, and don't really know that a lot of thought went into it, at the time.  Since then, I got married, and did build a house, but the house has never been what we could have had, if I hadn't bought so much land.  Wouldn't change a thing though.

I knew I could build a house, because that's what I was doing for a living.  The trouble is building for a living, it doesn't really end up being cheaper to build something for yourself, than buying it.  You're either making money, or spending it, and if you're building something for yourself, you're spending it while not making any money.  You have a Lot more time to do both when you're single though.

I would suggest spending some time looking at what land is available, and maybe you'll get lucky, and find something worth all the work, and waiting for building what you want.

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I live in a very "rural" part of the country, but I know of a few folks that started with a barn / shop building that included a covered porch on one side, sized to park a mobile home or RV. That lets the shop and dwelling share utilities, and protects the "mobile unit" from weather, keeping more resale value if you decide to build a house.

As Tom said, land is the key. They aren't making more of it. Less, if all the rising sea level hype comes true.

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If you buy nice land, it's going to go up in value.  The reason I couldn't buy our place now is because of the value increase.  As population rises, land gets more desirable, and goes up in value.  Baring some great catastrophe, population is going to go up.  It's gone up exponentially here, and I think most places.

I didn't build anything to live in, until after I was married, and even then, we lived in a tent the Summer, and Fall that I built our "house".  It didn't start out to be a house.  My Wife was doing pottery when I met her, and she wanted a pottery shop first.  We decided to "fix it up" enough to live in for a while, and build a house later.   We've been in it (the pottery shop) for almost 40 years now, and raised two children here, who have been grown, and gone for over a decade.

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Good luck as you have a lot of factors to consider. Your idea for country living is admirable. Keep us posted!

My son is looking for property or house and property. Having a hard time due to the cost of land, he wants 2-4 acres for the kids to play. By the time he finds something, the kids will be grown. I couldn't afford my house now after living here for 23 years. Houses in our neighborhood are going for outrageous prices and are over 40 years old. One can't buy or build a house for under $125-150 per square foot. Looked at couple of tiny houses on TV- waaaay too tiny (cramped) for me.

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If I was 30 again, I would build a 3 car garage that would be used as my first shop. 3 cars wide, but longer than a typical garage. Build temporary living space in the garage. Include a small kitchen with drain and all plumbing. Add a small shower. An insulated space. Nothing is wasted. This becomes part of the house. Plan on building you house in phase 2 on top of the garage. Phase 3 a new shop separate from the house. Get at least 3 acres usable. If woodwork is your living be near a highway. Later in phase 4 if you have a prosperous business then make the whole property you business and build a shopless house nearby in the mountains.But I don't have a time machine so I can't do that. But you can...Lots of luck!

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If you buy land make sure you do all the research on the land before you buy. Check with the county/township/city to make sure you can get a building permit on the property. I can't tell you how many times I've had to have tense conversations with a person that bought a parcel before realizing that they couldn't get a building permit on it for various reasons (access, hydric soils, flooding, ect.). If you are in doubt call planning and zoning and ask first.

Make sure to check the ordinances, they may not allow you to do things in the order you want, eg build shop first and house second. Get familiar with websites like this for example. https://www.sierracounty.ca.gov/487/New-Residential-Construction This is Sierra County just north of Tahoe. More often than not the county is going to be the zoning and building authority. Some times that gets delegated to the city/township but that is more typical in dense urban areas but not necessarily always true. Example of Zoning from same county https://sierra.county.codes/SCC/15.10

Note that if you build a shop with living quarters, if the shop has garage doors it may be considered a garage and footprint  limits will be enforced.  Personally I'd buy a lot with a house and a garage and then build a shop/secondary dwelling. To do the shop and secondary dwelling in 1 from my example county you will be limited. It honestly seems that a separate house, shop, secondary dwelling would be the best cost effective way to go. This will vary by county.

My opinion is that additions to buildings are generally less strict than accessory buildings for size requirements. I'd consider making the shop an addition to the primary dwelling building it to said primary dwelling standards as am "entertainment room" and when sale of the house happens in the distant future it could add more value than a detached shop. Just a thought not necessarily a good one. I do like my shop in the house though.

Edit: I got off on a tangent. I think the most cost effective way would be house with garage, build detached shop, secondary dwelling could either exist or not but i think having the shop separate from secondary dwelling makes most sense. This way your shop would''t need to meet conditioned space building codes which may be more strict than accessory building codes. (I don't know CA building codes). You may want to build to those standards but it would allow you to do it over time and complete some of the work your self.

So probably A) would be your best bet but make sure that you can build the secondary dwelling and accessory building for the shop all on the same lot. Also keep in mind codes change and if you wait too long to build the shop zoning may change to limit what you can do.

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On my second house. Both have been foreclosures. I did not have to pay market value, but only the banks recovery number. That was less than half market for both. Being savvy in the remodel way, I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Better to have the setup you want to live in, than a perfect mobile home IMO. 

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My opinion is usually a little perverted and no reason to stop here. I’m thinking, 30 yo, single and close to Tahoe so money is probably not a problem? My primary concern at that age would have been “significant other”. Would I want to bring that person back to my shop or a place of relaxation? Now at my age, shop would trump other considerations. :D

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I don't know your budget but check out gardnerville, nv. About 15 mins away from tahoe. It does snow but very little. It's at the base of the mountain and your surrounded all sides by mountains, very beautiful. I'm from California also and would advise against building anything as permits are costly and they are super slow about it. Also gardnerville is very close to California border. I've never seen so many 4+ garages in my life. One person had an 8 car garage barn looking building also depending on your budget you can get these houses with a couple acres. Also great place to raise a kid as the schools are 7+. Its a small town which I like but its California prices. I would love to live there but since it's a small town, not a lot of places to work

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On 12/14/2019 at 7:23 AM, Valleyslim said:

I don't know your budget but check out gardnerville, nv. About 15 mins away from tahoe. It does snow but very little. It's at the base of the mountain and your surrounded all sides by mountains, very beautiful. I'm from California also and would advise against building anything as permits are costly and they are super slow about it. Also gardnerville is very close to California border. I've never seen so many 4+ garages in my life. One person had an 8 car garage barn looking building also depending on your budget you can get these houses with a couple acres. Also great place to raise a kid as the schools are 7+. Its a small town which I like but its California prices. I would love to live there but since it's a small town, not a lot of places to work

yeah my friends in Southlake were trying to convince me to live there. we go there to ride dirtbike and its close to tahoe but I dont know if I could deal with not living in the woods. something nice about being surrounded by trees. 

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On 12/12/2019 at 6:02 PM, wtnhighlander said:

Looks the best option for doing it 'your way' is to move out of California....

haha just haven't been able to find a place with as cool of land as we have here and other mountain places seem to be covered in snow most of the year or dead as the desert. kind of tough 

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Many years ago, I spent a month up in the cascades, followed by a drive down the coast highway to LA. Can't argue against the scenery, or any of the folks I met. Outside of the major cities, I would enjoy living there. Mostly.

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