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Sheldon

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Greetings everyone!
I have spent the last day or so browsing the forum and really enjoy the candid comments and even advice to us Aspiring Innkeepers. Thank you all and to the forum host!
My wife and I have talked about a B&B for years and were planning on doing this after our boys have moved out and gone to college (10 more years for the youngest). We live in a GREAT location for a B&B but the house is 90+ years old and has NO character and an even worse floor plan. Not to mention it is too small for us. We want to tear it down and build a new one.
What we would like to do is build a large home and then start part time with the B&B in 2 rooms. I have seen a few B&B's with families still at home but have never talked to any of them about how things are going. Once the kids are gone, we can remodel to add bathrooms to the 2 larger rooms and have 4 rooms available.
That said, I am asking for input on would you do this part time with boys still at home or would you wait until the nest is empty?
Part of the motivation to start off with the B&B now is our property is zoned commercial. If we build a residence only, we have to live with residential setbacks and so on. If we build commercial (B&B qualifies with a simple conditional use permit) we have no set backs and can build in the same footprint of the existing house (currently too close to the front property line, but in line with the rest of the block. Pun not intended...). The current house is 16' from the sidewalk and the residential setback is 25'. In my opinion, it would look out of place for the neighborhood not to mention the loss of much enjoyed backyard space.
I also ordered the Idiots guide as my first book and added the rest from the other topic to my Amazon wish list...
Sheldon
 

wendydk

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Welcome Sheldon! There are at least a few members of this forum with kids at home, and I'm sure they will have good advice!
 

Penelope

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Welcome, Sheldon! I, too, am an aspiring. There is so much information on this forum, it'll make your head swim.
I have two children that we homeschool, and we are semi-actively B&B hunting.
I know there are quite a few owners here who do have kids and they'll chime in with the pros and cons...but keep in mind, you have to do what's right for YOU.
Best of luck
 

JBloggs

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Welcome Sheldon! You have come to the right place.
Why are you considering a B&B? Is it a financial decision? If so, how would demolishing and rebuilding fit into that plan? Younger kids at home, not yet retirement age I am guessing?
My 2 cents worth on this line "Once the kids are gone, we can remodel to add bathrooms to the 2 larger rooms and have 4 rooms available" are - DO IT WHEN YOU REBUILD THE HOME. This is not something you can "just add" it is time consuming (noise, dust,dirt and expense) to add it later on. This is something that should be added onto the blueprint of the new structure from the beginning.
Also, you mentioned 10 years, does this mean a tween? If so, build the home for a definite separate space for yourselves vs guest areas. Remembering that B&B's and guests require more than just a room to sleep in, they require common areas as well.
Setbacks and all that? Not seeing your property, why is this a big deal? Why would a B&B have to be close to the road or sidewalk?
Be careful using the term "simple" conditional use permit, it is never simple. A B&B in my experience is never built as a commercial building, it is always a HOME FIRST, and in fact with only two rooms operating it would be a HOME STAY not a traditional B&B.
Just some food for thought to get you started here...
All the best!
 

EmptyNest

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Welcome!
Personally I could never run a B & B and raise a family..but that is MY CHOICE. There are others here who do so and do an excellent job at it. I am sure they will chime in soon. Don't do anything until you read, read, read. And, my advice would be to take an aspiring innkeeper class so you can really get the low down. If you have the income/ financing to tear down and rebuild....you are very fortunate. Don't count on a bank throwing money at your dream. RIght now is not a good time. But...that is discussed in other threads here as well. So keep reading all the old posts. You will get alot of information.
Oh...I don't know where you are located, but what will be the draw for someone to even come to stay with you if you do this???? Yes, there are some here who are the only one in their town and they will go on about "making it" and that is fine, but the rose colored glasses have to come off for this to really work. Ask yourself the really tough questions.
 

Sheldon

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WOW! So many responses so quickly!
Joe, The plumbing will be in place but the concern is we want to get a home remodel loan and not a business loan. If I have too many bathrooms, this will raise red flags (We think). The lot size is only 7000 sq ft (70x100) and dictates what I can build. With kids at home, I cannot have dedicated OQ and still fit on this lot. I have to share bedrooms on the same floor. Once the kids are gone, we will have the whole second floor for guest rooms and my wife and I can have separate OQ. As we play with floor plans with the architect, this will probably change. We do have a construction budget we will need to stay with.
For the same reasons many are "incognito" here I am reluctant to say too much at this time... but we are in NW Washington State and 3 blocks from a popular tourist ferry landing. Local outdoor activities abound! We would be the closest B&B to the ferry landing. Walking distance to restaurants and shopping and a popular trail head. 3 miles from a large national park entrance. We are 1 block off a main hwy but lots of foot traffic in the neighborhood. 2 motels are close by as well.
Our time frame is about 1.5 to 2 years from now. This will probably be changed for us... ;)
B&B's are struggling some locally, but from the questions I have been asking, it seems to be owner related (cutting ad budget, poor web page...). A couple have still thrived very well with little downturn at all. These owners are very active locally and have good if not great web sites.
 

Country Girl

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Hi Sheldon. Welcome.

My three children were 7, 9, and 11 when I started the B&B 13 years ago. I started small, only 1 room for the first few months and then 2 rooms for a year and then the 3rd room after that. I will tell you the pros and cons from my viewpoint.
The pros: I get to live in an amazing home with a beautiful setting. I work from home so I was always there when my children needed me. I was able to attend all their sporting and social events. They met and interacted (when they wanted to) with amazing guests from all over the world. They all worked at the B&B (and 2 still do on occasion) either cooking, cleaning, or maintenance, which gave them a real appreciation for how hard this job can be. We have a separate family room just for them so they had their own space far from the guests where they didn't have to worry about noise. It was, and still it, a great place for them to bring their friends, with lots of room!And all three of my children are now amazing cooks and real "foodies".
The cons: When you work where you live it's sometimes difficult for children to understand why they can't have your undivided attention. During really busy periods they would sometimes feel resentful of the time I devoted to the guests; The house has to be clean, always, which meant no leaving shoes and backpacks in the middle of the kitchen floor; weekends were not as relaxing as it was for those who work Mon-Fri, 9-5.
I would not have changed a thing. Today, with two of them in college and one is law school, my husband and I are grateful for the time we were able to spend with them when they were younger. The B&B was the perfect job for me then and it still is now.
I would definitely agree with those who have recommended that you make all your renovations at the same time. Don't try to add bathrooms or move rooms later. "Let it hurt you once" is a good motto when starting a renovation project. You don't want to start over years from now.
Best wishes!
 

JBloggs

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Sheldon, how are the other B&B's in that area doing? I ask as there was an innkeeper on the forum a while back who had their place on the market forever - before housing crash (historic Queen Anne). Many closed up in the small "wooden boat" town that may be close to where you are. If not the same "town" then you know which one I am speaking about. :)
You said commercial, but then said remodel loan?
Sorry without knowing more details it is hard to just say one thing without others. You understand. Gotta have a plan...that is what is great about what you are thinking about now.
 

hawley

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Welcome.
If you have space later for the bathrooms, add them now for each of the kids bedrooms. Might want to make simple and jazz up later. But many homes now have bathrooms for each bedroom.
 

EmptyNest

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Welcome.
If you have space later for the bathrooms, add them now for each of the kids bedrooms. Might want to make simple and jazz up later. But many homes now have bathrooms for each bedroom..
I agree ... you can NEVER have too many bathrooms.

 

seashanty

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good luck! i did not have children in the home running a b&b so can't comment on that. but i've see it done and know that it's done. there was a little place i used to go to in new hampshire that had separate living quarters, almost like a small house, and the family was there. then the guest living room and dining area, kitchen and all the rest were beside it but attached. it all seemed very cozy and nicely set up.
if you possibly can, especially with children, you need LIVING space that is just for family.
 

Innkeep

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I ran into a catch 22 situation. I had to get zoning first before remodelling my house. The remodelling then became a commercial project because I had gotten the zoning variance. Because I needed to build on an addition I had problems with how to have the main house conform to commercial codes. So, by getting the conditional use permit first, you might find that you have to adhere to commercial building codes. I suppose this varies from one state to another, but that is something you'll have to find out about, especially because you will be building in the original footprint, so some of the powers that be will know that it's more than just a residence.
 

gillumhouse

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Welcome, Sheldon. Sorry to be late coming in - been a way a couple days. When you build - build with a bathroom for EVERY bedroom plus at least a powder room near the entrance. Do it when building because somehow the money will NEVER be there later. I have a 1912 house and wish I had done the extra bathroom a lot earlier than I did (have a DH who could not see the need). When we bought the house was when we had the money to do it. I still have 2 that share a bath.
I am one who is the only B & B in town, but not for want of trying to get someone to open one. I would WELCOME another one or two.
To do it with kids at home demands that ALL members of the household are on the same page and OK with it - if they are older. If they are young enough, this is all they know - doesn't everyone live this way??
 

Sheldon

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Lots more good advice! Thanks.
Inkeep, I am aware that this may happen and have friends in the construction business in this small town. I am still very early in the planning stage and have yet to start the business plan part (I am waiting for the books I ordered to arrive for this).
Joe, you are very close to my location. "Wooden Boat" town is not too far away...
The advice about building the rooms with bathrooms now is good advice. And the adamant opinions on lockable OQ has me rethinking the floor-plan too. In these early stages of research, I may have to actually plan more aggressively in our business plan.
My original intent was to be a "Hobby only" B&B. But I am seeing that this may not be the best way to go. I have the entrepreneur blood in me as I have owned a couple businesses in the past. I prefer to work at home and my wife likes a day job (and she has the benefits with her job and right now I am in retail management for a large national chain).
There is so much information here that I will be reading for weeks if not months catching up. Not to mention the books.
 

EmptyNest

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Lots more good advice! Thanks.
Inkeep, I am aware that this may happen and have friends in the construction business in this small town. I am still very early in the planning stage and have yet to start the business plan part (I am waiting for the books I ordered to arrive for this).
Joe, you are very close to my location. "Wooden Boat" town is not too far away...
The advice about building the rooms with bathrooms now is good advice. And the adamant opinions on lockable OQ has me rethinking the floor-plan too. In these early stages of research, I may have to actually plan more aggressively in our business plan.
My original intent was to be a "Hobby only" B&B. But I am seeing that this may not be the best way to go. I have the entrepreneur blood in me as I have owned a couple businesses in the past. I prefer to work at home and my wife likes a day job (and she has the benefits with her job and right now I am in retail management for a large national chain).
There is so much information here that I will be reading for weeks if not months catching up. Not to mention the books..
OH yeah another important thing we have discussed here recently. Having a spouse with an outside job that will provide benfits.
 

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