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  1. #1
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    Garage shop with restrictive covenants

    Looking for some advice as I think about future plans. Right now I live in an apartment and have a small machine that I use for prototyping and a small amount of side work now and then. Probably not technically legal, but not too worried about the current situation.

    Right now I'm looking at the possibility of buying a lot and building a small house for my family of 3 and mother in separate part. Sort of an offset size duplex with garage in middle, mother in smaller side.

    I have a full time job that I have no intention of quitting any time soon, but over the last couple years I've developed a couple products that I can manufacture myself in a pretty small space. Easily done in the garage of my future house with a couple small machines. Most likely just side work, keep my job.

    What im wondering is, for this type of "garage work" do I really need to limit myself to lots without restrictive covenants? Because that REALLY limits what I'm able to buy. I want to be close to my day job and for that, most lots have covenants. I don't want to buy a lot that's 45 minutes from work just so I have the option of possibly having a small business in my garage.

    I realize this has a lot more to do with property law than machining, but was hoping to hear from guys that have been in this situation of making money in their garage shop while living on restricted land. I'm sure this is a very case dependent thing. One thing I'm sure of is that I definitely can't be bothering neighbors with noise, and that would be kept in mind when building. For sure insulated garage door, maybe even dividing wall at back of garage to separate shop to isolate noise further and make it cheaper to heat.

    Any advice or personal experience is greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Neuer Benutzer
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    Re: Garage shop with restrictive covenants

    Check with the municipality about the limitations of home businesses. I'd say as long as there isn't a stream of cars in and out all day that as long as you are within the guidelines for a home based part time business then the only thing to worry about would be compressor noise. That's easily solved with something like a California air tools compressor. They are designed to run very quietly.

    There are no covenants that I have ever heard of that pertain to what goes on inside your residence. As long as the garage door is down you are inside...

  3. #3
    Community Moderator Jim Dawson's Avatar
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    Re: Garage shop with restrictive covenants

    What you want to do really depends on the neighbors and the HOA. Pretty much all of the covenants for HOAs are written the same and it depends on how strictly they are enforced. Most restrict any business use. However a low key ''hobby'' shop in your garage is many times acceptable, but if you have an a**hole neighbor that wants to cause trouble then you could have a problem.

    I bought a property that was (I work from home now) about an hour from work just to get out of any city or HOA restrictions. I purposely bought just outside of the urban growth boundary, there won't be any housing developments built around me any time soon. It's zoned RRFF (Rural Residential Farm Forest), technically I could build a sawmill on my property and be in compliance. Rural and quiet, but only about 10 minutes from major shopping areas. The neighbors on both sides of me have heavy equipment and almost every property in the area has a shop. In fact there are 3 full commercial machine shops along my 1 mile road. We just respect our neighbours and all get along fine.

    I highly recommend that you concider buying a bit farther out than you are comfortable with right now. I find restrictions to be a PITA, dealing with the county is bad enough, having to deal with a city or HOA is unacceptable to me.

    Many years ago a group of floating home owners (houseboats) had a loose confederation that was sort of a HOA. We had to actually formalize it when we built a new moorage. Fortunately during that transition time I was the HOA president and I assembled a committee of like minded members to actually write the covenants. Since some of the members had hobbies and businesses we specifically allowed machine/wood shops and business use of the individual homes as long as it did not negatively impact the other members enjoyment of their homes and the common areas. There were restrictions, but not overly burdensome. Getting 70 members to agree on anything was challenging in itself, but the covenants were accepted by 2/3 majority vote at a formal meeting. But I think that this is not a normal case. In this case the HOA was acceptable to me, but I was able to write the rules.
    Jim Dawson
    Sandy, Oregon, USA

  4. #4
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    Re: Garage shop with restrictive covenants

    I'm not familiar with the restrictive covenants you mention, outside of Homeowner's Associations, but zoning restrictions can function the same way. Most counties seem to enforce zoning even outside municipalities, in unincorporated areas. And the general intent of zoning laws is to separate residential and industrial or agricultural uses, so a property is deemed to be one or the other, and normally you can't work where you live or live where you work. Agricultural uses are especially sacred; in many places it's perfectly fine to have huge machines running at all hours if they're chopping up trees or threshing wheat, but no way are they going to let you run a lathe or mill next door - that would not be in keeping with the bucolic atmosphere of the rural landscape. There are exceptions, but if you have a specific property in mind, it would be a good idea to talk with the relevant zoning officials before purchasing it, so you don't buy yourself a problem.
    Andrew Werby
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Dawson View Post
    What you want to do really depends on the neighbors and the HOA. Pretty much all of the covenants for HOAs are written the same and it depends on how strictly they are enforced. Most restrict any business use. However a low key ''hobby'' shop in your garage is many times acceptable, but if you have an a**hole neighbor that wants to cause trouble then you could have a problem.

    I bought a property that was (I work from home now) about an hour from work just to get out of any city or HOA restrictions. I purposely bought just outside of the urban growth boundary, there won't be any housing developments built around me any time soon. It's zoned RRFF (Rural Residential Farm Forest), technically I could build a sawmill on my property and be in compliance. Rural and quiet, but only about 10 minutes from major shopping areas. The neighbors on both sides of me have heavy equipment and almost every property in the area has a shop. In fact there are 3 full commercial machine shops along my 1 mile road. We just respect our neighbours and all get along fine.

    I highly recommend that you concider buying a bit farther out than you are comfortable with right now. I find restrictions to be a PITA, dealing with the county is bad enough, having to deal with a city or HOA is unacceptable to me.

    Many years ago a group of floating home owners (houseboats) had a loose confederation that was sort of a HOA. We had to actually formalize it when we built a new moorage. Fortunately during that transition time I was the HOA president and I assembled a committee of like minded members to actually write the covenants. Since some of the members had hobbies and businesses we specifically allowed machine/wood shops and business use of the individual homes as long as it did not negatively impact the other members enjoyment of their homes and the common areas. There were restrictions, but not overly burdensome. Getting 70 members to agree on anything was challenging in itself, but the covenants were accepted by 2/3 majority vote at a formal meeting. But I think that this is not a normal case. In this case the HOA was acceptable to me, but I was able to write the rules.
    I definitely agree it would be best to just go further out where I have the option to do anything I want, but it just makes a lot of things difficult. If I'm 30 miles from work, not only is it a few extra hundred bucks in gas per month, but it also cuts into the small amount of spare time I have after work, making it harder to have this side business at all. It's a really tough decision that I'll have to live with for a long time. In your case it was worth it. If the business becomes successful and I can work full time at home, it's obviously worth it in the end to have property I could put an actual shop on in the future, but if it never becomes more than just a side hobby thing, then it's definitely not worth the extra driving.
    It sounds like I should at least talk to the HOA of where ever I go and ask rather than just try to do it and get shut down later. The whole thing is just a really stressful decision to make, bit it needs to be done. Right now between my family and my mother, we pay nearly 2000 in combined rent. Every month we keep renting, we are throwing money away. I'm 33 now, so really need to start thinking about the future. We already have 40k available for a down payment and hopefully another 10k by the time we would by. I also plan to build most of this house myself to save money, which adds a whole different set of complications like getting a construction loan and permits for this house. I have years of experience building, but no licensing.

  6. #6
    Community Moderator ger21's Avatar
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    Re: Garage shop with restrictive covenants

    It depends on if you are talking about issues with the city (zoning?), or HOA's?
    Around here, a lot of HOA's are far more strict than local zoning laws. If you aren't bothering your neighbors, and nobody reports you, the city will probably never know what you are doing. Doing small scale work in your garage is not much different than what a serious hobbyist would be doing.
    Gerry

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    (Note: The opinions expressed in this post are my own and are not necessarily those of CNCzone and its management)

  7. #7
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    Re: Garage shop with restrictive covenants

    I emailed a couple realtors and HOA's of lots I'm looking at and they are telling me what I want to do is perfectly fine. Pretty much what I figured, don't make a bunch of noise and don't have traffic. The bigger issue seems to be the duplex layout of my house. Covenants are preventing me from doing that in one of the developments I was looking in. I can build the house to not resemble a duplex, but wouldn't have the option of renting out one side in the furure. At least good to know it shouldn't be a big deal for me to have my mini shop and some side income.

  8. #8
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    Re: Garage shop with restrictive covenants

    Get it in writing. Once you've paid the money, you'll be at the mercy of the neighbors, who will decide for themselves whether the amount of noise or traffic you generate is acceptable or not, but the realtor will be long gone.
    Andrew Werby
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  9. #9
    Community Moderator Jim Dawson's Avatar
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    Re: Garage shop with restrictive covenants

    That more rural option is starting to sound better And in my area MIL dwelling units or ADUs are acceptable, don't know about your area. I rent out an RV pad, the neighbors across the road and next door both have ADUs on their property.
    Jim Dawson
    Sandy, Oregon, USA

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    Re: Garage shop with restrictive covenants

    Just wanted to give an update here, been a while since i even posted on cnc zone. Its been a busy couple months! We moved forward with looking for lots to build on, found one that looked promising and allowed "cottage businesses" but not an easy build. The lot had a good slope to it and a covenant restriction stating that we cant block the view of neighbor above. It could have been done, but difficult.

    During this process of looking for lots and talking to banks about construction loan, i also kept my eye out for houses. I thought it would be unlikely to find a house with our requirements and price range since we need a separate living space for my mom, but something popped up. 7 miles from my current job, separate upstairs living space that just needs kitchen cabinets (im a cabinet maker), tons of room, much more than i could afford to build new. 3400ft house, bottom level is a walkout basement with garage, small shop, and 900ft of finished basement. Main level is 1200ft, second level living space another 1200ft. Basically the whole bottom level will be my area to play in. Now heres whats really cool, no covenants, no hoa, and suburban agricultural zoning. I can basically do whatever i want, including running a machine shop. Also in this county there is no building department which means i could even build a separate shop if i wanted and dont even need a building permit. The lot is a little over an acre with plenty of room to neighbors, trees between us. Its pretty much everything i could have hoped for plus more. The build we were planning was only gonna be about 2000ft and garage to have my machining stuff in along with the cars. This was a little more than we wanted to spend, but worth what we are getting and also avoiding the construction loan nightmare that would have involved 80 hour work weeks for months to do as much work myself as possible. Even with what we are spending, our monthly expenses will still be MUCH lower than the combined expenses of my apartment and moms apartment, not to mention we are building equity instead of throwing away rent money. Ive been giving mom 500 a month to help with her rent for the last 10 years. Now i can keep helping her with a place to live and the money will be going into a house i own. Basically paying into my retirement. We have been under contract a few weeks now, underwriting is done, loan is all good to go. inspections and repairs are done. All that remains is appraisal but i doubt it will come in low and we have a little more cash if needed. Scheduled to close on april 7th. Pretty excited to have my new shop area and no longer need to run my cnc in a soundproof box in an apartment. Theres just so many more options now. Plenty of room for machines. Now i can start my beefy mill turn epoxy granite build ive always wanted, maybe buy a used lathe as well, retire my current machine to carbon fiber cutting which has already become a decent side income.

    Couple more things i forgot to add. With the SAG zoning, im allowed to have a rental after turning in an application, which means when mom passes away in 15-20 years or so, i can rent out her living space. There are also 2 RV hookups on the property so i can rent those out as well. I could honestly see myself living the rest of my life in this house. In 30 years when its payed off, ill be 63 and collecting rent for the upstairs living area to pay my taxes, insurance, etc. Could be a pretty sweet setup.

  11. #11
    Community Moderator Jim Dawson's Avatar
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    Re: Garage shop with restrictive covenants

    Congratulations, sounds like you found a perfect fit. :cheers:
    Jim Dawson
    Sandy, Oregon, USA

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    Re: Garage shop with restrictive covenants

    Sounds like a sweet place. Congrats.

  13. #13
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    Re: Garage shop with restrictive covenants

    Quote Originally Posted by QuinnSjoblom View Post
    I definitely agree it would be best to just go further out where I have the option to do anything I want, but it just makes a lot of things difficult. If I'm 30 miles from work, not only is it a few extra hundred bucks in gas per month, but it also cuts into the small amount of spare time I have after work, making it harder to have this side business at all. It's a really tough decision that I'll have to live with for a long time. In your case it was worth it. If the business becomes successful and I can work full time at home, it's obviously worth it in the end to have property I could put an actual shop on in the future, but if it never becomes more than just a side hobby thing, then it's definitely not worth the extra driving.
    It sounds like I should at least talk to the HOA of where ever I go and ask rather than just try to do it and get shut down later. The whole thing is just a really stressful decision to make, bit it needs to be done. Right now between my family and my mother, we pay nearly 2000 in combined rent. Every month we keep renting, we are throwing money away. I'm 33 now, so really need to start thinking about the future. We already have 40k available for a down payment and hopefully another 10k by the time we would by. I also plan to build most of this house myself to save money, which adds a whole different set of complications like getting a construction loan and permits for this house. I have years of experience building, but no licensing.
    You don't want to be in an area where they have an HOA in place or you won't be aloud to do what you want, they are too restrictive, plus it's an extra payment you have to pay, you can still be close to an HOA area without being in it

    Just read you post yesterday glade you have found a place
    Mactec54

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    Re: Garage shop with restrictive covenants

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