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post #1 of 22 Old 08-17-2014, 08:35 PM - Thread Starter
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New Garage Construction Question: Crazy or Sound?

I'm looking for advice on a possible new construction build. This is very early planning, but I have an idea that I'd like to toss out here before speaking with a builder to try to avoid having the guy think I'm nuts.

Would it make sense to build a garage deep enough to have the front reserved for two to three cars, and then having the back extended to accommodate a home theater, with a wall completely separating the two? I was thinking of inexpensive (Ok, cheap) ways to get a space large enough to accommodate a theater in the 16-24 x 20-28 foot range. Looking at pricing for garages, it seems like it might be a practical way of getting that much additional space.

Does this make sense? Or am I missing something?

I did a search for garage theaters, and found lots of conversions, rooms above and under garages, but not for what I'm thinking of doing.

Any thoughts or other suggestions? I don't want a room above a garage, and also want to avoid a basement build. Are there any other options I'm missing?

All advise is appreciated.

Scott

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post #2 of 22 Old 08-17-2014, 09:34 PM
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Sounds like a great idea to me! You just need to pay attention to the fire rating of the divider wall, but that shouldn't be a big deal.
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post #3 of 22 Old 08-18-2014, 04:39 AM
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It would be more expensive to do that than put the theater above or below the garage. You are paying for a lot more cement which is more expensive than wood, and you'll end up using just as much materials constructing the theater anyways in either event.

Go up or go down.

Use the economies of scale to your benefit. That way a little extra spend on a bigger garage gets you a bigger theater and vice versa. Don't make them compete for space with each other. Ideally you want both big.

If you go above garage you can do a standard 8 foot walls. If you start the interior room inside a room walls a little in its even higher. That begins your soffit height. Do a two step soffit and you'll get up to 10 foot ceilings in center with soffits at 8.5 feet. That's nice. Need more? Do 10 foot walls.

Above garage is cheapest option. Below the garage it works too but requires more extensive dig and pour. You'll get less tactile bass feel too. If you do below you'll have suspended concrete slab floor. More complicated than second floors build.
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post #4 of 22 Old 08-18-2014, 07:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mhutchins View Post
Sounds like a great idea to me! You just need to pay attention to the fire rating of the divider wall, but that shouldn't be a big deal.
Thanks for the tip on the fire rating. I'll keep that in mind.

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post #5 of 22 Old 08-18-2014, 07:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post
It would be more expensive to do that than put the theater above or below the garage. You are paying for a lot more cement which is more expensive than wood, and you'll end up using just as much materials constructing the theater anyways in either event.

Go up or go down.

Use the economies of scale to your benefit. That way a little extra spend on a bigger garage gets you a bigger theater and vice versa. Don't make them compete for space with each other. Ideally you want both big.

If you go above garage you can do a standard 8 foot walls. If you start the interior room inside a room walls a little in its even higher. That begins your soffit height. Do a two step soffit and you'll get up to 10 foot ceilings in center with soffits at 8.5 feet. That's nice. Need more? Do 10 foot walls.

Above garage is cheapest option. Below the garage it works too but requires more extensive dig and pour. You'll get less tactile bass feel too. If you do below you'll have suspended concrete slab floor. More complicated than second floors build.
When we first toyed with the idea of building, a bonus room above the garage sounded like a great choice.

We aren't the kind to move around a lot, though, and this will likely be our last house, so will plan on spending our later years there. My wife already has some knee problems, which are bound to get worse with age, so our next house will be a ranch. That means that above or below the garage won't work for us. That's when I came up with the thought of just building a deeper garage with a dedicated space. It wouldn't be a cheap as above or below the garage, but I think it would still be less than incorporating the theater room inside the actual house structure.

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post #6 of 22 Old 08-18-2014, 08:49 PM
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Just a bit of info whether it's useful to you or not.

I built an addition on to our home. A two plus car garage, media room, bar/kitchen, laundry room, bathroom, equipment room, and theater room. All this was added on to our already existing two car garage. So the addition is separated from the house by a now 4 plus car garage with all the other stuff wrapped around our pool.

I mention all this just because of how our new appraisal was handled after construction completion. I spent well over $135,000 (did a lot of work myself too!!) just on the construction including normal finish work and only gained about $40,000 in property value. Since the two living spaces are separated by the garage the addition is considered to be an additional unit (accessory unit) even though it's all under the same roof. It isn't a big deal to us but could have been had we planned on needing to refinance after construction was completed.

I'm now thinking about turning our 4 car garage into a mega kitchen and family room which would triple/quadruple the value of our house. It would go up from a 3,000sqft home with 4 car garage and suite to a 8,000sqft home. This would require some major roof construction since would have to add yet another garage but may be worth it in the long run.

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post #7 of 22 Old 08-19-2014, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by srw1000 View Post
When we first toyed with the idea of building, a bonus room above the garage sounded like a great choice.

We aren't the kind to move around a lot, though, and this will likely be our last house, so will plan on spending our later years there. My wife already has some knee problems, which are bound to get worse with age, so our next house will be a ranch. That means that above or below the garage won't work for us. That's when I came up with the thought of just building a deeper garage with a dedicated space. It wouldn't be a cheap as above or below the garage, but I think it would still be less than incorporating the theater room inside the actual house structure.
I think an elevator is cheaper than a concrete pour to go flat... lol! Seriously...
You are talking about 25 grand + difference there in concrete and labor, and then if you do then you lose garage space too possibly which is also not good. Losing less ends up costing a lot more... so you are fighting at both ends.

A nice residential elevator for 4 adult load is like 15 grand installed, which is something you could build later (if) you really needed. Having an elevator take you to a bigger theater is way cooler than a smaller garage and theater on the first floor IMO. Saved $5000 too.

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post #8 of 22 Old 08-19-2014, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post
I think an elevator is cheaper than a concrete pour to go flat... lol! Seriously...
You are talking about 25 grand + difference there in concrete and labor, and then if you do then you lose garage space too possibly which is also not good. Losing less ends up costing a lot more... so you are fighting at both ends.

A nice residential elevator for 4 adult load is like 15 grand installed, which is something you could build later (if) you really needed. Having an elevator take you to a bigger theater is way cooler than a smaller garage and theater on the first floor IMO. Saved $5000 too.
Huh? Where you come up with those figures on foundation? I've been in the construction business for 20+ years and have never spent more than $8-10k on residential foundation slab from start (staking out boundaries) to concrete finish maybe $15k at most if like 3,000sqft single floor. When the first floor starts getting larger and larger slab becomes a second option around here and most don't even consider it to begin with except for the garage alone.

Just curious as to why the $25k figure since it's double or more the price around the South East.
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post #9 of 22 Old 08-19-2014, 05:38 PM
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Huh? Where you come up with those figures on foundation? I've been in the construction business for 20+ years and have never spent more than $8-10k on residential foundation slab from start (staking out boundaries) to concrete finish maybe $15k at most if like 3,000sqft single floor. When the first floor starts getting larger and larger slab becomes a second option around here and most don't even consider it to begin with except for the garage alone.

Just curious as to why the $25k figure since it's double or more the price around the South East.
I was also assuming you had to roof that extra space.

I got a quote for my garage/theater project and an extra 8 feet would cost me $8000.

I was thinking that to do a pour and a full size theater on empty land and get a roof on it would be minimum $20,000. I was not figuring on studs, wood, or any of the other building materials because you'll spend those just the same on a second floor build. But with a second floor over garage you do get some bonus economies of scale on the foundation, concrete, and roof. Those are costly parts of construction.

A consumer level elevator with 1000 or 1200 pound capacity and 4 adult rated would be about $15,000 installed. But again I was operating off the idea that this might not be necessary up front, or at all- thus saving money while having a reasonable back up plan to the stairs. There is nothing wrong with wanting everything ground level, if that is what someone wants then it's worth it. But the cost is higher. Depending how much they want it or what budget they have to work with that might or might not be worth it.

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post #10 of 22 Old 08-19-2014, 07:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by audiovideoholic View Post
Just a bit of info whether it's useful to you or not.

I built an addition on to our home. A two plus car garage, media room, bar/kitchen, laundry room, bathroom, equipment room, and theater room. All this was added on to our already existing two car garage. So the addition is separated from the house by a now 4 plus car garage with all the other stuff wrapped around our pool.

I mention all this just because of how our new appraisal was handled after construction completion. I spent well over $135,000 (did a lot of work myself too!!) just on the construction including normal finish work and only gained about $40,000 in property value. Since the two living spaces are separated by the garage the addition is considered to be an additional unit (accessory unit) even though it's all under the same roof. It isn't a big deal to us but could have been had we planned on needing to refinance after construction was completed.

I'm now thinking about turning our 4 car garage into a mega kitchen and family room which would triple/quadruple the value of our house. It would go up from a 3,000sqft home with 4 car garage and suite to a 8,000sqft home. This would require some major roof construction since would have to add yet another garage but may be worth it in the long run.
Thank you for the information. I hadn't thought about appraisal value at all.

That brings up a related question: If you don't mind me asking, how did the addition affect your assessed value for property taxes? Did it only raise the assessed value of the home by $40K, or was it closer to the money you put into it?

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post #11 of 22 Old 08-19-2014, 08:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post
I think an elevator is cheaper than a concrete pour to go flat... lol! Seriously...
You are talking about 25 grand + difference there in concrete and labor, and then if you do then you lose garage space too possibly which is also not good. Losing less ends up costing a lot more... so you are fighting at both ends.

A nice residential elevator for 4 adult load is like 15 grand installed, which is something you could build later (if) you really needed. Having an elevator take you to a bigger theater is way cooler than a smaller garage and theater on the first floor IMO. Saved $5000 too.
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Originally Posted by audiovideoholic View Post
Huh? Where you come up with those figures on foundation? I've been in the construction business for 20+ years and have never spent more than $8-10k on residential foundation slab from start (staking out boundaries) to concrete finish maybe $15k at most if like 3,000sqft single floor. When the first floor starts getting larger and larger slab becomes a second option around here and most don't even consider it to begin with except for the garage alone.

Just curious as to why the $25k figure since it's double or more the price around the South East.
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Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post
I was also assuming you had to roof that extra space.

I got a quote for my garage/theater project and an extra 8 feet would cost me $8000.

I was thinking that to do a pour and a full size theater on empty land and get a roof on it would be minimum $20,000. I was not figuring on studs, wood, or any of the other building materials because you'll spend those just the same on a second floor build. But with a second floor over garage you do get some bonus economies of scale on the foundation, concrete, and roof. Those are costly parts of construction.

A consumer level elevator with 1000 or 1200 pound capacity and 4 adult rated would be about $15,000 installed. But again I was operating off the idea that this might not be necessary up front, or at all- thus saving money while having a reasonable back up plan to the stairs. There is nothing wrong with wanting everything ground level, if that is what someone wants then it's worth it. But the cost is higher. Depending how much they want it or what budget they have to work with that might or might not be worth it.
The preliminary pricing I was looking at for a basic attached garage was about $12K for a 24' x 20' space. Bumping that up to 24' x 40' would only increase the cost to $19K. This was just the price for materials, including all framing, roof, eaves, siding, soffit and fascia, house wrap, etc. It wouldn't include the gable, garage door, foundation floor or sill plate. The only extra cost there would be the foundation, but that seems like it should be under $10K, based on our recent costs for our driveway.

It also wouldn't include any of the interior work, but most of that would be the same regardless of where the theater would be built.

The way I'm looking at it, it would be an additional $20-25K to get a dedicated 24' x 20' space (yes, it'll be a bit smaller than that when finished), which sounds kind of reasonable, at under $55/sq. foot. Of course that doesn't include any of the additional inside finishing work needed, but again that would be an additional cost no matter where the theater were to be placed.

The elevator idea is intriguing, but I'd be leery of maintenance costs, and my wife isn't a fan of them at all, so I fear it would be vetoed.

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post #12 of 22 Old 08-19-2014, 08:22 PM
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Would you consider a semi-prefab garage like the ones from TuffShed? We're going to have them build a 24x30 garage to replace the attached garage that's being converted into a home theater.

http://www.tuffshed.com/products_pri...R&TabID=Prices

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post #13 of 22 Old 08-19-2014, 08:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Would you consider a semi-prefab garage like the ones from TuffShed? We're going to have them build a 24x30 garage to replace the attached garage that's being converted into a home theater.

http://www.tuffshed.com/products_pri...R&TabID=Prices

That's similar to what I was looking at. If I lived in a more temperate climate, the PRO Weekender Ranch would be an interesting option. I need something attached, though.

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post #14 of 22 Old 08-20-2014, 12:42 AM
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Thank you for the information. I hadn't thought about appraisal value at all.

That brings up a related question: If you don't mind me asking, how did the addition affect your assessed value for property taxes? Did it only raise the assessed value of the home by $40K, or was it closer to the money you put into it?
I had built and sold houses before doing our addition but I had never been involved in a job that had an in law suite, pool house, or bonus room above, beside, or under a garage that wasnt directly part of the living part of the residence. We went into this project with the thought of being able to use all my sub contractors and I do most of the finish work myself leaving plenty of headroom to take advantage of the sub 4% financing rates if wanted to use cash for other means or savings.

We were very shocked when we found out about the accessory unit laws and how they affect the value of such accessory unit. We went all out with the finish work which could be comparable to homes in the $150-175/sqft range. The laws set a percent it is to be assessed at which is like 30-40% of a comp used.

So since that's what it's assessed at that is indeed what the taxes are based against.

The way around it is to make sure that any living space that is part of the addition is directly attached to the living quarters (even a hallway justifies this situation). It's a very touchy subject in the real estate a construction field that I was unaware of until my banker told me to sit down once he had a copy of appraisal in his hands. We both searched and sought out many avenues for ways around this stipulation but were basically informed that it's just the law and many are unaware of it.

It wouldn't have been a big deal to us other than the fact that we could refinance for 30yrs at 3.3% right after completion so naturally wanted to take advantage of that at the time.

We have managed to pay down our mortgage quite a bit over the past 5 years so are honestly thinking about jumping back in head first to transform the garages into two grand rooms (kitchen and family room) since the rates are still rather low and if did sell the house around retirement time that would really elevate our buying options near or on a beach somewhere.

Feel free to pm me any questions about general construction work through contractors if need to. I built my first spec house at age 18 and have been in the trade for quite a while. Went to school for architectural engineering hoping to get away from it but have been buying rentals with all the low rates since I graduated lol.

Good luck with your room. Once one has a true home theater they will do whatever it takes to have one in their current home most of the time (I'm proof lol).

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post #15 of 22 Old 08-20-2014, 12:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post
I was also assuming you had to roof that extra space.

I got a quote for my garage/theater project and an extra 8 feet would cost me $8000.

I was thinking that to do a pour and a full size theater on empty land and get a roof on it would be minimum $20,000. I was not figuring on studs, wood, or any of the other building materials because you'll spend those just the same on a second floor build. But with a second floor over garage you do get some bonus economies of scale on the foundation, concrete, and roof. Those are costly parts of construction.

A consumer level elevator with 1000 or 1200 pound capacity and 4 adult rated would be about $15,000 installed. But again I was operating off the idea that this might not be necessary up front, or at all- thus saving money while having a reasonable back up plan to the stairs. There is nothing wrong with wanting everything ground level, if that is what someone wants then it's worth it. But the cost is higher. Depending how much they want it or what budget they have to work with that might or might not be worth it.
I gotcha. Just how was worded it was way off! I have a notebook that I have all my prices per sqft from info gathered from previous jobs so could calculate the total difference in the way you're meaning rather easily. May do it if OP chooses to weigh options of the two.
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post #16 of 22 Old 08-20-2014, 05:34 AM
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I think building costs are higher in my area, or contractors are just greedier.

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post #17 of 22 Old 08-20-2014, 06:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by audiovideoholic View Post
I had built and sold houses before doing our addition but I had never been involved in a job that had an in law suite, pool house, or bonus room above, beside, or under a garage that wasnt directly part of the living part of the residence. We went into this project with the thought of being able to use all my sub contractors and I do most of the finish work myself leaving plenty of headroom to take advantage of the sub 4% financing rates if wanted to use cash for other means or savings.

We were very shocked when we found out about the accessory unit laws and how they affect the value of such accessory unit. We went all out with the finish work which could be comparable to homes in the $150-175/sqft range. The laws set a percent it is to be assessed at which is like 30-40% of a comp used.

So since that's what it's assessed at that is indeed what the taxes are based against.

The way around it is to make sure that any living space that is part of the addition is directly attached to the living quarters (even a hallway justifies this situation). It's a very touchy subject in the real estate a construction field that I was unaware of until my banker told me to sit down once he had a copy of appraisal in his hands. We both searched and sought out many avenues for ways around this stipulation but were basically informed that it's just the law and many are unaware of it.

It wouldn't have been a big deal to us other than the fact that we could refinance for 30yrs at 3.3% right after completion so naturally wanted to take advantage of that at the time.

We have managed to pay down our mortgage quite a bit over the past 5 years so are honestly thinking about jumping back in head first to transform the garages into two grand rooms (kitchen and family room) since the rates are still rather low and if did sell the house around retirement time that would really elevate our buying options near or on a beach somewhere.

Feel free to pm me any questions about general construction work through contractors if need to. I built my first spec house at age 18 and have been in the trade for quite a while. Went to school for architectural engineering hoping to get away from it but have been buying rentals with all the low rates since I graduated lol.

Good luck with your room. Once one has a true home theater they will do whatever it takes to have one in their current home most of the time (I'm proof lol).
Thanks for all that information, it's very much appreciated.

What I envisioned for the garage unit was one entry door from the car area to a mud room, and a second door that would connect the kitchen to the home theater, so that should satisfy the living space requirement.

Our plans have taken a temporary setback for now. The lot we were looking at seems to have a bunch of questions around it, since it's part of a subdivision that's gone through a couple of owners, and at least one sheriff's sale, we're going to pass. It just looks like a legal quagmire. It's unfortunate, since it was .6 acres, allowing plenty of room for our plans.

I will probably take advantage of your PM offer once we do find the right lot. While we're not first time home buyers, we haven't built before.

Thanks for the advice,

Scott

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post #18 of 22 Old 08-21-2014, 09:00 AM
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I'm looking for advice on a possible new construction build. This is very early planning, but I have an idea that I'd like to toss out here before speaking with a builder to try to avoid having the guy think I'm nuts.

Would it make sense to build a garage deep enough to have the front reserved for two to three cars, and then having the back extended to accommodate a home theater, with a wall completely separating the two? I was thinking of inexpensive (Ok, cheap) ways to get a space large enough to accommodate a theater in the 16-24 x 20-28 foot range. Looking at pricing for garages, it seems like it might be a practical way of getting that much additional space.

Does this make sense? Or am I missing something?

I did a search for garage theaters, and found lots of conversions, rooms above and under garages, but not for what I'm thinking of doing.

Any thoughts or other suggestions? I don't want a room above a garage, and also want to avoid a basement build. Are there any other options I'm missing?

All advise is appreciated.

Scott
Hi Scott,

I took a look at the issues you presented. I've recorded a video response as I'm slooooowwww at typing

Hope it helps.

Thanks
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post #19 of 22 Old 08-21-2014, 01:15 PM
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I wouldn't let the property's history influence your decision honestly. You would be surprised at how much one can find out about property's histories when buying time arises. There are some crazy/wild past owners that put all kinds of stipulations on deeds. But 99% of the time they are useless unless are buying directly from that persons estate. One of the last properties it bought was supposed to have been left to 4 grandchildren back in the 80's but somehow was sold off with the estate. It had been sold twice since then but my attorney managed to find it somehow and had to get them to sign off on it, legally relinquishing any ties to it. They couldn't have done anything but it could have put a delay on the closing had they not signed when they did.
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post #20 of 22 Old 08-21-2014, 08:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi Scott,

I took a look at the issues you presented. I've recorded a video response as I'm slooooowwww at typing

Hope it helps.

Thanks
Dennis
Thanks, Dennis.

The dimensions I threw out in this thread were just a rough idea of what I had in mind. The actual ones would be settled on with the builder when that time comes, trying to get them as close to the golden ration as practical. For this thread, I was just trying to toss out the shared structure idea, to see if it was a reasonable path or not.

I did check out some of your other videos, and will be reviewing them again when I get closer to actually acting on this. Lots of good information, and you've presented it in a clear and straightforward manner.

Scott

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post #21 of 22 Old 08-21-2014, 08:17 PM - Thread Starter
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I wouldn't let the property's history influence your decision honestly. You would be surprised at how much one can find out about property's histories when buying time arises. There are some crazy/wild past owners that put all kinds of stipulations on deeds. But 99% of the time they are useless unless are buying directly from that persons estate. One of the last properties it bought was supposed to have been left to 4 grandchildren back in the 80's but somehow was sold off with the estate. It had been sold twice since then but my attorney managed to find it somehow and had to get them to sign off on it, legally relinquishing any ties to it. They couldn't have done anything but it could have put a delay on the closing had they not signed when they did.
I'm glad that worked out for you, I wouldn't have had the fortitude to take up a situation like that. Family members fighting over an estate can get really, really messy (I've seen this in person).

The particular lot we were considering was part of a subdivision with covenants and an HOA, none of which were listed on the seller's disclosure report. It looks like this was all formed about 10 years ago, the development went bust, and was sold off a few times, at least once through an auction. The original paperwork was not filed correctly, and lumps separate phases together. My wife visited and phoned the Register of Deeds a few times, and each time more stuff was dug up. The HOA dues aren't supposed to kick in until all the units were sold, but none of those are specified, and it's just a huge mess.

Neither of us wants to be part of an HOA or live under a list of covenants, so it's been like searching for a needle in a haystack.

Scott

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post #22 of 22 Old 08-21-2014, 10:26 PM
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I'm glad that worked out for you, I wouldn't have had the fortitude to take up a situation like that. Family members fighting over an estate can get really, really messy (I've seen this in person).

The particular lot we were considering was part of a subdivision with covenants and an HOA, none of which were listed on the seller's disclosure report. It looks like this was all formed about 10 years ago, the development went bust, and was sold off a few times, at least once through an auction. The original paperwork was not filed correctly, and lumps separate phases together. My wife visited and phoned the Register of Deeds a few times, and each time more stuff was dug up. The HOA dues aren't supposed to kick in until all the units were sold, but none of those are specified, and it's just a huge mess.

Neither of us wants to be part of an HOA or live under a list of covenants, so it's been like searching for a needle in a haystack.

Scott
Yea I wouldn't have bothered even trying to buy something that was in an estate fiasco but that was 30 years prior to my purchase and just wasn't properly recorded when sold. The beneficiaries had gotten their money but the property had never been put in their name but somehow previous purchasers' attorneys never caught it. Mine was just thurough enough to catch it.

Yea HOAs are becoming more and more a thing of the norm. They can have really good benifits but can be a hassle as well. Just make sure to read what stipulations are in place before throwing the option out the window is all. Having a home theater comes with many costs and trade offs if aren't able to build an addition so that is a major advantage you would have over most theaters seen here on AVS. Most have to sacrifice a room, basement, or bonus room which normally aren't of the optimal dimensions.

You mentioned the golden ratio. I built mine to the exact ratio but keep in mind that it's a two way street as far as stereo and home theater. I used it anyway but just saying lol. I added depth to my room which extended it past the ratio and made up for it with my sealed off baffle wall. That's something to keep in mind. Just because one uses the ratio doesn't mean that the usable space will end up using the ratio dimensions if that makes sense. I would never use a non AT screen again even though they truly do provide a better/smoother picture closer to that of a flat screen but having a baffle wall with the center speaker (and possibly the L and R speaker) behind the screen is a must for me.
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