View Full Version : HSMs and the High Cost of Housing

08-19-2005, 12:55 PM
As I watch housing costs continue to skyrocket in many parts of the country, I ask myself how does a HSMer find room for their obsession..err, I mean their hobby.

Shops take up floor space...sometimes alot of it.

I would expect garage/storage/shop space are one of the first options deleted when prices rise.

I would like to hear how HSMers are coping with the high price of real estate.

Any hints or suggestions?


Weston Bye
08-19-2005, 01:35 PM
I am building a new house for retirement. Smaller yard & drive way = less time spent mowing & snow removal. It is mostly on one level with a step up from shop to house and 2 steps down from shop to garage. Easier on my arthritic joints. The house has a small shop adjacent to the attached garage, separate heat & a/c, fumes dust & smells stays out of the house.

The biggest issue was zoning. I expect to have to earn extra income even in retirement. The city ordinances had a list of acceptable home-based occupations, model builder and writer being acceptable. As my machine work tends toward smaller details and assemblies, done on mostly benchtop machinery, and I write articles for HSM as time permits, I qualify. The ordinance specifically prohibited businesses operated out of the garage, so I designed the house so that the workshop could never be considered as part of the garage. The room, with some redecorating would pass for a den with a concrete floor. I will need to put the welding bench in the garage, but I can point to several neighbors who do hobby welding so I don't expect too many problems.

Enough space will always be a problem. I expect that I will have to develop the discipline to put stuff away when not in actual use, and design in storage.


08-19-2005, 02:49 PM
I'd hate to try and relocate in California(anywhere near the coast). If you shop around you can find areas that haven't caught up to the rest of the country,yet.
I'm looking to dump this house for something smaller in the next two years.Preferably further out in the country. The drawing card for the next place will be a bigger shop area.

08-19-2005, 02:58 PM
I bought my current shop, err, house 20 years ago. I don't plan on moving anytime soon.

08-19-2005, 03:00 PM
We live in San Diego, probably the area with the fastest rising housing costs in the country. 5 years ago we were able to build a detached garage on the property to hold the woodworking and HSM toys. I had a hard time justifying it to myself as it was an extravagance mainly for ME. Now I'm glad we did it. My wife gets as much enjoyment out of it as I do as I mostly build things she wants and I get to play with my toys.

Given the costs of housing in this area moving would be out of the question. I could never afford the payments on a new place. I have 13 years before I retire if I wait till I'm 65. At that time we'll see if we want to move or stay for a while. We will probably move eventually to an area with a lower cost of living but it won't be easy. Hopefully we will be able to build a small house (our house now is around 1600 sq. ft.) with a shop building similar to what we have now (20'x24'). Time will tell.

A piece of property with enough space to build on or add onto would be key. Not everyone has or can afford that. If our finances allow after retirement we will have a shop of some type. If not then I'll have to forgo some space.

Using the shop for extra income would be nice. Zoning will be a factor in that as Wes1 points out. Also CCR's in the development. I never want to live in an area that is restrictive in how you can use your property if I can help it. Anyway, that's how we deal with it. YMMV


08-19-2005, 03:57 PM
I think San Diego is right behind NYC.

Right now the house I occupy is worth 750K, that's up from 200K it was worth ten years ago... http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//eek.gif

This Old Shed (http://thisoldshed.tripod.com)

08-19-2005, 04:52 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by HTRN:
I think San Diego is right behind NYC.

Right now the house I occupy is worth 750K, that's up from 200K it was worth ten years ago... http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//eek.gif

I'm in roughly the same boat - purchased in '98, in the Washington, DC area. (Around here, people say this is the second worst real-estate market - behind San Francisco or something like that.

We didn't finish the basement, save for a full bath down there. My wife never goes down there, so that's my shop. (Actually, the shop is about 1/3 of the basement, the rest is random storage and such.) We do want to finish the basement someday, so I'm thinking about how to do the shop then. I'd really like a large door back there so I can get equipment in and out. Other than that, it's just dumb luck for me. I didn't really get into the HSM hobby until we'd been in this house awhile. Good thing for the unfinished basement that the wife wants nothing to do with...

08-19-2005, 05:05 PM
Rusty, Mine may be up for sale, Interested?

Your Old Dog
08-19-2005, 05:16 PM
We downsized 2 years ago to position for retirement. I have always hated bungalows and that's what we bought. I didn't buy it for the bungy! I bought it for the 3 story barn in the back. I have a seperate machine shop and am getting ready to build a new woodworking shop. The barn is built of 2x6 construction so I can severly insulate it against Buffalo winters. Both shops will be air conditioned. Like some others here, I'll likely have a "working" retirement.

3 Phase Lightbulb
08-19-2005, 05:39 PM
Hey Rusty,

Are you interested in something like this? http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif


08-19-2005, 05:45 PM
Well Rusty, you know thats not my home.

That is one of my rentals.
So 3Ph you are not as smart as you think, ass hole.

So back off before you piss me off again. If you can find out where I live, I can find out where you live and you dont want that.

3 Phase Lightbulb
08-19-2005, 06:04 PM
That's cool.. How much does it cost to rent something like that?

Rusty, I guess you've got two more Choices then:



Personally, If I was going to rent, I would probably splurge on a Motel 6.

08-19-2005, 06:08 PM
I get good money for them. Location , location, location.

Now quit wasting my time.

[This message has been edited by IOWOLF (edited 08-19-2005).]

08-19-2005, 07:54 PM
IOWOLF, 3Phase -
I swear I can never figure out if you guys do this for the laughs, or you're really at each others' throats. It's good for a laugh, anyway.

'cmon, you usually have a snappier retort than that. I expected better of you. Cough it up.

Oh yeah. I wouldn't mind having a few such places generating rent revenue, but managing property can be such a PITA. Not for me.

[This message has been edited by Wirecutter (edited 08-19-2005).]

John Stevenson
08-19-2005, 07:59 PM
Who rents the first place?

The three bears ?

3 Phase Lightbulb
08-19-2005, 08:37 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by John Stevenson:
Who rents the first place?

The three bears ?</font>

I knew I saw that house somewhere before....


[This message has been edited by 3 Phase Lightbulb (edited 08-19-2005).]