Found a possible home for a b&b ...

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I'm still on the hunt for the perfect home to make into a b&b.  One I've been looking at is an older home that is old fashioned in the decorating.  All rooms have wallpaper on them.  On the main floor there is the kitchen (with a door to the porch), and a dining room, living room, and a den.  The second floor has 5 rooms and a bathroom (which I could probably turn one room into another bathroom), and an unfinished attic which could possibly be turned into 2 or 3 rooms ... I like the idea of putting a balcony in the rooms so it doesn't feel atticy. 

It would be me, my partner and 3 kids living there.  What would make more sense to you, having guests on the 2nd floor, or the 3rd (attic).  I've been looking at some photos of attics once they have been renovated, and they are so nice. 

 

 

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Just like many folks who have trouble with guest complaints about climbing stairs with luggage to the second floor, you might get them in droves if they have to schlep stuff up another flight of stairs.    Might be better if that's where the owners' quarters would be (even if your own knees might not like it).

Check the local building/business codes carefully about attic rooms as advised - many locations do require an outside stairway egress, and when you get to attic rooms it may bump you into having to put in sprinkler systems for the entire building.  And, here a buyer of an existing B&B discovered that they had to put in sprinklers when the ownership changed, where they had not been required before. 

Get everything in writing about local building codes and licensing costs for B&Bs!

Good luck!

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Breakfast Diva's picture
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Have you done any research yet with the county/city to see what their regulations are for a b&b? Is it even possible in that location? Hopefully you have already researched this before you make that long trip.

How close are other houses? Many times neighbors fight having a b&b next door or in their neighborhood because they have a lot of misconceptions of what it will do to their neighborhood and property values.

Egress and fire codes are a big deal on upper floors. Regulations can be very strick and expensive to fix. Like the others said, get someone to inspect it before you put an offer in.

Private baths are a MUST. This house would have to be very cheap for it to make financial sense to build so many bathrooms. If it's on septic, you may not be able to.

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It is exciting at this stage, lots of dreams etc.  But as others have said you need to be very knowlegable about what the fire codes will/won't allow.  Once you have toured the place in detail, if you are still interested take a visit to the fire marshal's office get the codes in writing and also discuss a possible walk through with one (now) to have them point out details that they would require. 

Here, they required a 2nd regress if we rented the 3rd floor space.  For us (we are on the 3rd floor), all we needed were drop stairs, one for each side of the house.  We set one up and looked at each other - the house WOULD need to be on fire before I would attempt that.... scary!!!

Also agree with others, individual private baths are a must if you really want to rent your rooms. 

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copperhead wrote:

It is exciting at this stage, lots of dreams etc.  But as others have said you need to be very knowlegable about what the fire codes will/won't allow.  Once you have toured the place in detail, if you are still interested take a visit to the fire marshal's office get the codes in writing and also discuss a possible walk through with one (now) to have them point out details that they would require. 

Here, they required a 2nd regress if we rented the 3rd floor space.  For us (we are on the 3rd floor), all we needed were drop stairs, one for each side of the house.  We set one up and looked at each other - the house WOULD need to be on fire before I would attempt that.... scary!!!

Also agree with others, individual private baths are a must if you really want to rent your rooms. 

I just spoke to someone about the fire codes for the area I was interested in.  He told me that for the 3rd floor I could have no more than 3 rooms, and either a sprinkler system, or stairs that go down to the ground.  I was thinking from the start a small balcony with stairs going down to the ground.  I would feel much safer knowing that nobody would be stuck up there in case of an emergency. 

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Get it in writing. Get everything in writing. That person leaves and the next one has an entirely different interpretation of the regs.

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Madeleine wrote:

Get it in writing. Get everything in writing. That person leaves and the next one has an entirely different interpretation of the regs.

Good idea.  All these rules and regulations, can and can nots,  and where the info came from ... I should have in a separate binder for quick reference.

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 Check the fire codes, too.  Our state requires sprinklers for third floor guest rooms.  

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muirford wrote:

 Check the fire codes, too.  Our state requires sprinklers for third floor guest rooms.  

Just for that floor?  That would be a good idea whether it was regulation or not.

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Olga wrote:

muirford wrote:

 Check the fire codes, too.  Our state requires sprinklers for third floor guest rooms.  

Just for that floor?  That would be a good idea whether it was regulation or not.

Actually I think it's the whole place, but I'm not sure.  But every place is different, so you need to check out the specific requirements you would have, and GET  THEM IN WRITING.

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 You obviously haven't checked the price of adding in a sprinkler system ??? Sad

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catlady wrote:

 You obviously haven't checked the price of adding in a sprinkler system ??? Sad

No, I'm not that far along ... I doubt it's free, but still a good idea Eye-wink

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Sprinklers for us 250K and an elevator would be required for the third floor if we wanted to use it (we don't).

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white pine wrote:

Sprinklers for us 250K and an elevator would be required for the third floor if we wanted to use it (we don't).

Wow, I didn't imagine it would be that much.

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Also consider this: Guests on third floor MAY require an outside staircase to ground. Ages of kids are a huge factor (age of innkeeper also if climbing all those stairs).

Re shared bath: from one who has one - PRIVATE ONLY!!

One thing I do is offer the queen room of the shared as a private bath rate and do not rent the full-size room. Last night a room I had no calls for AND could not rent anyway due to ceiling problem was vacant while I got an extra $15 for the queen room. By doing that, I get a reservation I may have lost otherwise. Family traveling together or good friends do not mind sharing, but private is what even some family members want.

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gillumhouse wrote:

Also consider this: Guests on third floor MAY require an outside staircase to ground. Ages of kids are a huge factor (age of innkeeper also if climbing all those stairs).

Re shared bath: from one who has one - PRIVATE ONLY!!

One thing I do is offer the queen room of the shared as a private bath rate and do not rent the full-size room. Last night a room I had no calls for AND could not rent anyway due to ceiling problem was vacant while I got an extra $15 for the queen room. By doing that, I get a reservation I may have lost otherwise. Family traveling together or good friends do not mind sharing, but private is what even some family members want.

If the attic is suitable, I may go that route, and put in private baths, and a small balcony with a staircase going to the ground right from the get go.  And make it for the guests.  So now I'm excited to go visit this possible house.  I hope I'm not disappointed ... (it's a 15 hour drive away)

I saw a picture of a really nice attic with nice windows, lots of sunlight, nice light coloured walls, and built in beds, and bookshelves.  So many things you can do.  I don't want to think of the price tho.

I like what you do for your shared room, making it private by not renting out the other room.

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What style of house is it? Some, like Cape Cod style, have very steeply pitched roofs which give very little headroom except in the center of the room. No one will like that.

CL is right that no matter who you put where, you MUST have adequate insulation between you and the guests.

We have one room that shares the floor/ceiling with our bedroom and it can be awful as we can hear the guests talking, snoring, using the bathroom, etc. (Which, likewise, means they can hear us. Without tearing down the ceiling or ripping up the floor, we can't insulate that area so if we have guests in that room we sometimes sleep on the couch in our living room to avoid the noise the guests make.)

What you also have to consider is if you are on the 3rd floor and your kitchen is on the 1st floor, how are you going to cook your dinner and sit down to eat with the guests wandering thru?

If you could redo the whole attic for yourselves into an apt with a kitchen and leave the 2 downstairs floors for the guests, that might work out. Have an exterior exit for yourselves as well so the kids can come and go without running up and down the stairs inside. (No matter how wonderful your kids are, they're kids and you don't want to make them miserable by always telling them to be quiet.)

How many sq ft will it end up being?

You MUST consider the bathroom situation. I know a lot of people on here have shared baths but those of us who have rooms with detached baths (ie- the bath is not shared but it is across the hall from the room) have the worst time renting that ONE room because guests don't even want to go out into the hall, much less share.

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Madeleine wrote:

What style of house is it? Some, like Cape Cod style, have very steeply pitched roofs which give very little headroom except in the center of the room. No one will like that.

CL is right that no matter who you put where, you MUST have adequate insulation between you and the guests.

We have one room that shares the floor/ceiling with our bedroom and it can be awful as we can hear the guests talking, snoring, using the bathroom, etc. (Which, likewise, means they can hear us. Without tearing down the ceiling or ripping up the floor, we can't insulate that area so if we have guests in that room we sometimes sleep on the couch in our living room to avoid the noise the guests make.)

What you also have to consider is if you are on the 3rd floor and your kitchen is on the 1st floor, how are you going to cook your dinner and sit down to eat with the guests wandering thru?

If you could redo the whole attic for yourselves into an apt with a kitchen and leave the 2 downstairs floors for the guests, that might work out. Have an exterior exit for yourselves as well so the kids can come and go without running up and down the stairs inside. (No matter how wonderful your kids are, they're kids and you don't want to make them miserable by always telling them to be quiet.)

How many sq ft will it end up being?

You MUST consider the bathroom situation. I know a lot of people on here have shared baths but those of us who have rooms with detached baths (ie- the bath is not shared but it is across the hall from the room) have the worst time renting that ONE room because guests don't even want to go out into the hall, much less share.

That is a lot to consider when deciding on who gets what rooms etc.  Thank you. 

What I like about this house, is that the 1st floor has an eat in kitchen with private access to the porch, and a private half bath.  Doors are between the dining room and kitchen which is nice.  There is another porch access to the house that the guests could use, and the stairs to go upstairs are there, and straight thru is the dining room and the living room off to the side.   I hope I explained that well.  So the down stairs works well ... just have to figure out the rest.

I haven't personally seen the attic yet, but once we do, we would probably know right away what is do-able.

Thanks for your help Smiling

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the only problem with 3rd floor (as someone with a 4 story building) is so many people think they are disabled and will ask where the lift is? is there any way to say have one side of the building for you? rather than a floor?

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camberleyhotelharrogate@yahoo.co.uk wrote:

the only problem with 3rd floor (as someone with a 4 story building) is so many people think they are disabled and will ask where the lift is? is there any way to say have one side of the building for you? rather than a floor?

I was thinking of that too, but that option doesn't seem do-able.  They would get a floor and access to the dining room, living room and porch (the living room has a door to the porch as well).    So the kitchen and den would be private as well as our family floor. 

I wonder tho, I have no idea if this is actually do-able, but if I were to give the attic a balcony, and then stairs access to the ground as a separate entrance?

 

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 Personally I wouldn't want any guest over my space. So I would think the 3rd floor would make better owner quarters. But then if you have 3 kids running around up there, you might get complaints from guests. Just be sure to sound proof/insulate and use padding and wall to wall carpet...to deaden any noise.

Remember what we said...a private bathroom for every guest room is a MUST!

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catlady wrote:

 Personally I wouldn't want any guest over my space. So I would think the 3rd floor would make better owner quarters. But then if you have 3 kids running around up there, you might get complaints from guests. Just be sure to sound proof/insulate and use padding and wall to wall carpet...to deaden any noise.

Remember what we said...a private bathroom for every guest room is a MUST!

I was thinking about the private bathrooms, and I was leaning towards the attic for guests, so during the building process, it can be properly designed.  And adding a patio door with balcony would add extra light.  Soundproofing the floor would make sense. 

Do guests mind the attic?  That would be my concern.

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Olga wrote:

Do guests mind the attic?  That would be my concern.

If the guests feel like they have to duck all the time, they won't like it. However, one of our guests' favorite rooms is the attic room. They all say it feels really cosy and welcoming.

You can add dormer windows for more light. Or skylights.

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 I guess it depends on the attic space / height. I have stayed in some very nice B & B attic rooms. Very large and did not feel like an attic. If you can't make it appealing enough for a guest...don' t do it.  And, access is a major problem. If that is going to be your only guest area, it better be easy to get into. Not a very small stairwell. This will really limit your guest appeal.

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catlady wrote:

 I guess it depends on the attic space / height. I have stayed in some very nice B & B attic rooms. Very large and did not feel like an attic. If you can't make it appealing enough for a guest...don' t do it.  And, access is a major problem. If that is going to be your only guest area, it better be easy to get into. Not a very small stairwell. This will really limit your guest appeal.

Thanks, I think that will help decide on who gets the attic, us, or the guests.  I think if there is enough light etc., I would enjoy a room up in the attic. Altho, I say that now, when I'm older, I may say differently.

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