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  • Move Shop to a Town House?

    Getting to the point where lawn work and snow is no longer fun. I will be 77 next year and I love my shop. We can pay someone to do the heavy yard work and snow and spending time in AZ or FL may be an option. But what do you guys do when you move to a retirement townhome or the like? My welders and plasma cutter can run on 115 volts as well as my LMS small lathe, add roll around tool box and my workbench with vise. Open to suggestions, I figure I might have 1/2 of a small two car garage.
    Retired - Journeyman Refrigeration Pipefitter - Master Electrician - Fine Line Automation CNC 4x4 Router

  • #2
    Before buying, you might want to sound out a number of present residents to get an idea of what sort of HOA there is. Upset neighbors and/or
    an aggressive HOA re "shop" that looks 'commercial' can be a real problem. A close reading of any HOA agreement is a start but insufficient.
    Steve

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    • #3
      Well, I am 75 and finally have my garage/shop somewhat operational. Still some work to be done on the lathe and other areas. And still some rust remaining from when things were in storage: nothing serious, but it needs to be taken care of. I am not even thinking of moving. Yes, I have a lawn crew. And they are welcome to the money. Snow? Not here in sunny, south Texas. Well, not often and never in need of a snow shovel. I can remember digging out from two and three feet of it in Iowa and NO THANKS.

      Frankly, I hope to live here, in this house, until I am planted. I have a good doctor and I follow his advise. I hope my demise will be a long time and many chips in the future.
      Paul A.
      SE Texas

      Make it fit.
      You can't win and there IS a penalty for trying!

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      • #4
        No. Pay someone to do the things you don't want to do. You only have a few years left to fully enjoy life before medical issues start to crop up. An HOA that dictates what you can do in your own garage, or a neighbor on the other side of the wall with owl ears can make you hate life. And we all know that retirees on the board of HOA's or on committees have no other purpose in life anymore than to make your own life miserable.

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        • #5
          I am happy for you Mr George. Congrats on the retirement.

          I actually started my adult life in a condo. My garage was just close enough vertically to my up stairs living spce t was meant to be. Yeah. I ran 220 down to my lame assed tandem garage.

          Just so I could weld. Check my Facebook for the entire story. JR
          My old yahoo group. Bridgeport Mill Group

          https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/...port_mill/info

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          • #6
            You should be able to make a good shop out of half a garage.

            My shop fits into 1/2 of a 2 car garage. One benchtop has a mini mill and mini lathe. A 3/4 full sized knee mill backs up to a central walkway, as does a 9x20 lathe on a stand. The H/V bandsaw (on wheels) nestles between them and is pulled out when necessary. The welders move to wherever I can fit them at the moment.
            At the end of the project, there is a profound difference between spare parts and left over parts.

            Location: SF East Bay.

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            • #7
              If you are planning to move to a retirement village, you might check to see if they have workshops, or perhaps would be open to setting up something like that. It might mean sharing the use of some of your machine tools, but may also allow the use of larger machines and a wider array of tooling. And may be an opportunity to teach others a useful set of skills, as well as learn from others.
              http://pauleschoen.com/pix/PM08_P76_P54.png
              Paul , P S Technology, Inc. and MrTibbs
              USA Maryland 21030

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              • #8
                Originally posted by wmgeorge View Post
                Getting to the point where lawn work and snow is no longer fun. I will be 77 next year and I love my shop. We can pay someone to do the heavy yard work and snow ....
                Well you are lucky, I live in a rural, low population area where you can't pay anybody to any physical work.
                Toss out the old, the disabled, the obese, the welfare class, the plain lazy, the alcohol/drug/video addicted and there is no one left.

                I have to do everything myself from car/house repairs to picking up the pinecones, raking up the needles, and mowing the lawn.
                All that low skill/low education stuff cuts into making money or shop time.

                Dunno what I am going to do when I get older.

                The millionaire neighbors up the road can't even get a plumber, painter, handyman out without bringing one in from 60 miles away!

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                • #9
                  I will be doing this so my wife will not have to deal with it after I am in the big shop in the sky. Yes I do need to see the HOA rules, thanks for the suggestion and more.
                  Retired - Journeyman Refrigeration Pipefitter - Master Electrician - Fine Line Automation CNC 4x4 Router

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by sch View Post
                    Before buying, you might want to sound out a number of present residents to get an idea of what sort of HOA there is. Upset neighbors and/or
                    an aggressive HOA re "shop" that looks 'commercial' can be a real problem. A close reading of any HOA agreement is a start but insufficient.
                    That would be the biggest issue for me if I were in your shoes. HOA fees. Your paying fees for some entity to tell you what you can and can't do / have on the property your paying for.
                    I would pay a lawn crew.
                    I've known a few people that have moved to such places and all have regretted the move.

                    JL............

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                    • #11
                      George, with your modest requirements I don't think you'll have much of a problem. While there's lots of HOA horror stories out there I suspect that most are pretty cool. Just don't be running the angle grinders at midnight You'll certainly want to meet with any potential HOA group and double check before purchasing but I'll bet there's a wood worker or two in the community running saws and jointers too.
                      Chilliwack BC, Canada

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by RB211 View Post
                        No. Pay someone to do the things you don't want to do. You only have a few years left to fully enjoy life before medical issues start to crop up. An HOA that dictates what you can do in your own garage, or a neighbor on the other side of the wall with owl ears can make you hate life. And we all know that retirees on the board of HOA's or on committees have no other purpose in life anymore than to make your own life miserable.
                        Or you can live in a high-end gated community and HOA like ours where there are few restrictions at all... The most restrictive is "you cannot do anything that affects the quality of life for another resident or property value", and even then... if it ever got to the final stage (never has in 40 years) that would have to be resolved though the courts. And.. our HOA as no authority to levy fines. Sure we have problems from time to time, but they get resolved. We still are subject to county laws about noise, pollution, etc.

                        Our fees are $621 per year, and that covers 2.4 miles of paved roads (we pay for paving, private), liability insurances etc.

                        HOA's don't tell you want you can and cannot do - as a member you agreed to the CC&R's when you joined, so any pressure from them is "stay in line with your legal agreement". Some people want to live in a restricted environment (like 55 plus, no kids.. lol) to be assured of "no problems with neighbors", some do not. Bottom line here... there is no "one evil HOA fits all"... read carefully what your are agreeing to and look carefully at what it takes to modify the CC&R's. Some (like ours) have a pretty high bar, some not so.
                        Last edited by lakeside53; 11-10-2019, 01:24 PM.

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                        • #13
                          I have no love for HOAs, after my parents ran afoul of their covenants when we installed a new roof, which was light colored to reduce solar heating in summer (we didn't have central air). However, I think we were not paying the voluntary dues, and we were not actively involved by attending meetings and such. We were at the far end of the neighborhood, away from the much larger cluster of townhouses where there was more interaction among neighbors. We might have been able to fight it in court, but my father had a heart condition and we didn't want the stress. So we had the roof painted black, which voided the warranty but satisfied the busybodies.

                          There is no HOA in my present neighborhood, where most houses are 100+ years old and sited on lots of 1 acre or more. Yet I have occasionally run afoul of the evil eye of neighbors who complained to the county because of my having building materials and "junk" in my front yard, and for letting the grass grow too high. This was on one occasion initiated by the real estate agent who was selling my across-the-road neighbor's property, and wanted to maximize the selling price. I was not actively living here at the time. I would think a good neighbor would have first approached me personally and asked me to clean up, and even offer to help, but we did not know each other very well. The county inspector advised me to get a building permit, which I did, and that bought me a year to reorganize the materials and clean up a bit, even though I never completed the project.

                          This is a sort of rural neighborhood, although only a half-mile from a shopping center and large apartment complexes. There is also a large relatively affluent neighborhood, Springdale, with $400k+ houses, bordering my property line to the east. A couple years ago I joined their private FB group and have recently attended their May yard sale and a group hike on the trails around Loch Raven reservoir. Their HOA is very active and seemingly reasonable. My friend's brother lives in an exclusive community and he was fined for having his garage door open for more than 15 minutes - yet he was happy that they had such restrictions!
                          http://pauleschoen.com/pix/PM08_P76_P54.png
                          Paul , P S Technology, Inc. and MrTibbs
                          USA Maryland 21030

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                          • #14
                            As a younger person, what might sound agreeable to me today, will not work for me tomorrow when I decide I want a boat, or an RV, etc. And as an American, others telling me what I can or can't do on my own property is grievously disturbed and disgusting.

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                            • #15
                              RB, I understand your feelings, but look at it from another perspective. It's like a local ordinance, but it's very localized AND you get to study the rules before buying the house.

                              The rules can be restrictive, but can also explicitly permit things that might otherwise cause friction. For instance if everyone agrees, it the CCRs can explicitly allow home machine shops to be noisy from 8 am to midnight.

                              My mom's mobile home park has a rule that there should be no construction noise after 8 PM. She appreciates that rule because she knows that no matter how many workers are working next door, it will be quiet after 7 PM. I found it restrictive when I hammered a nail into a stud to hang a mirror and she stopped me because it was after dinner and might annoy her new neighbors.

                              At the end of the project, there is a profound difference between spare parts and left over parts.

                              Location: SF East Bay.

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