Storage Condo Buyers Guide

...- not perfect but nice to start with!

StorageShopUSA has developed over 200 storage-shop-busines condos. We have developed a buyers guide to help consumers make the right choice when considering a garage condo or a storage condo. We have taken our more than 20 years of construction and development experience and COMBINED it with a focused study of what people are really looking for in the real estate market It is not surprising that the Buyers guide below all points to why we designed built, and continue to build the same building over and over again. It works well.

  • Type of construction 2x6 wood frame provides a more energy efficient design and allows a clean drywall finish. There is no need to frame out the interior of the space. The electric and plumbing can be hidden in the walls and not surface mounted conduit. Post – beam and metal buildings are very solid and more suited for larger multi-unit buildings.
  • Unit dimensions A standard unit should be 25ft wide and 50ft deep which allows for
    • Shelving on both sides of the parking area and room to open the car/truck door
    • The office is at least 9ft wide – any less and the space would look and feel unfunctional
    • The 50ft depth accommodates large RV’s with room to walk around it. You can also drive an 18ft truck (standard) with a trailer up to 30ft.
    • 3 or 4 cars can be pulled straight in and be parked along the width of the back wall.
  • Energy efficiency. A high dense pack blown-in insulation provides an excellent energy efficiency. Metal buildings have a history of not being as energy effecient as standard residential wood frame construction. Remember, utility costs don’t go away. Look closely at the “costs to own” to determine value.
  • Floor drain with a hose bib. this keeps the unit clean and is very handy. One of the most asked for features. It is a must!

  • Windows. Windows provide natural light and really make the Unit feel comfortable and not like you are in a warehouse but your exposed finished basement or a garage that has windows. It is nice to be able to see out of them also – they are not too high up the wall.
  • Unit modifications. Can you make changes and if you can, how complicated is the construction. Concrete “tip-up” would be hard to sawcut through, metal is harder to work with than wood. A standard frame construction is easier and therefore more economical.
  • Room to expand. Can you expand to the adjacent space and how complicated would that be? The wall between the units is non-loadbearing which means it can come out. In addition, there is no electric, plumbing, etc in the walls that make it more difficult. Can you buy the space and reserve the right to expand into the adjacent space. Better yet can you sell off some of the space you really don’t need but already purchased.
  • Overhead doors Make sure the opening is both big enough and easy enough to move your stuff in and out. A 13 ft door will accommodate most RV’s, boats, etc. 12ft wide is very adequate to move trailers, etc in and out. Most all vehicles and various trailers have to be less than 8.5ft wide to be street legal. That leaves approximately 1.75ft on each side of the door opening.
  • Office/bath options. What would it cost to put an office /bath in or to do additional office space. Some buildings are easier to add space or remodel than others. It is nice to have the warehouse space insulated from the office/bath space and be able to control the temperatures of each area.
  • Electric. What is the size of the panel. 100 amps is plenty just make sure there are 5-10 more open circuits in the panel in case you want to add on. Is there a 240 volit circuit. Single phase is adequate for most smaller office/warehouse or storage-shop applications. If you need 3 phase, you can purchase a converter which is not that big a concern especially if you don’t use it that much. Actually, if you find a place with 3phase it will likely run on 206volt instead of 240volt which means some tools will run but not wear well because of it. (motors might burn out earlier)
  • Lighting. Make sure the lighting is both efficient and functionl. There are very high watt fixtures that are expensive and bright but not necessary for most applications. Incandescent bulbs in a big open space is not adequate lighting. I would suggest using 4 ft 32watt T-8 flourecent bulbs spaced every 100sf. This provides very nice light for the space and then using various fixtures for specific work areas and such.
  • Plumbing Floor drains, water spigots, shop sink (separate from the bath sink) and an ADA accessible bath are all very important features.
  • Heating and Air conditioning. A simple gas unit heater is very adequate and economical. These units are typically 80 percent efficient. A higher efficient unit doesn’t necessarily pay back well because they are more expensive, require a condensate drain and the unit heaters don’t run that long to heat the space. If you have employees that will be working in the space, you will most likely have to “condition” the air which means upgrade to a furnace that draws make up air from the outside and install an air conditioner. A PTAC unit (typical hotel room heat air conditioner) will satisfy this condition for smaller portions of the “built-out” space. The PTAC units can heat and cool an office independent of the warehouse space which is nice if you spend more time in the office.
  • Parking. Reserved parking in front of the unit is the best – it is like your driveway at home. How much parking is required by local ordinances? This is directly tied to the use – make sure you can do what you want both functionally and legally
  • Condo fees. Condo fees should include insuance on the building/unit, snow/lawncare, general building maintenance/repair, and a reserve fund. Self managed projects typically have lower monthly condo fees because the unit owners basically manage the development instead of a property management company. Common heat, lighting insurance etc can be complicated and harder to manage. The least amount of “common area” expenses the better.
  • Permitted use. Make sure that the unit is located in an area zoned properly for your use. Mini storage and/or “storage condos” are designed, built and zoned for exactly that – storage. This means you can not run a business from them legally. Make sure the unit can be used for “commercial” purposes. A unit classified as commercial has more value and utility than a unit classified as storage. Check with the local building inspector for clarification.
  • Access The development should allow adequate space to back in and out of the unit. 60-70 ft in front on the overhead door is nice spacing. Sometimes the location of a unit next to a drive isle can make up for some of that shorter spacing in front. Make sure you can get in and out with not too much trouble otherwise it will be frustrating.
  • Concrete floor.Look for 4 or 5 inch think floor slabs with reinforced mesh or rebar. I would add the fiber mesh in the concrete as an extra measure. The floors need to be solid because there could be a lot of weight on them. There is nothing worst than a nice shop with a bad floor.

The buyers guide will help you choose the right property to fit your needs. You may want to know some of the reasons why others have purchased a storage condo.

Use the buyers guide to help make an informed decision. What's even better? Look at the buyer personas to see how you fit in with all the other buyers - you might say "that's me exactly!"

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