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Thinking of Buying a B&B and Starting My Life Over

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Godnla

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In my mind, I think I know it all. Good thing I'm smart enough to know that I actually know very little. At 50, I am a newborn child now that I'm considering buying a B&B in Washington State. I am a retired Special Education teacher, my fiance is a nurse and we're on the verge of jumping right in and making a go of it. We're both pretty good cooks, we're friendly and patient, I like cleaning, I'm a good handyman and jack of all trades, and we both have time and desire. I'm sure those are just the jumping off points.
You've all probably got nightmare scenarios that we haven't envisioned yet. Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

Alibi Ike

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What you're gonna need that you haven't mentioned is that nest egg to buy something or renovate what you already own. All of the rest of it sounds like you've at least thought thru what might be needed!
Good luck!
 

Breakfast Diva

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You say you are considering buying a b&b. Have you done any research? Taken an aspiring innkeeper seminar? Read all the books? Hands on training? Got a wad of cash? Got health care?
We need a little more information before we can be of any help.
 

Cbz

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You say you are considering buying a b&b. Have you done any research? Taken an aspiring innkeeper seminar? Read all the books? Hands on training? Got a wad of cash? Got health care?
We need a little more information before we can be of any help..
Breakfast Diva said:
Have you done any research? Taken an aspiring innkeeper seminar? Read all the books? Hands on training?
Are all of those things mandatory in your country to start off with a B&B?
Neither did we have any experience when we started off nor did we go into anything of that sort.
 

gillumhouse

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You say you are considering buying a b&b. Have you done any research? Taken an aspiring innkeeper seminar? Read all the books? Hands on training? Got a wad of cash? Got health care?
We need a little more information before we can be of any help..
Breakfast Diva said:
Have you done any research? Taken an aspiring innkeeper seminar? Read all the books? Hands on training?
Are all of those things mandatory in your country to start off with a B&B?
Neither did we have any experience when we started off nor did we go into anything of that sort.
.
Viper,
Those things are not mandatory here, but they save a lot of people from failure if they do these things. It takes a lot of dollars to buy an existing B & B and if the revenue generated (I know it is a surprise, but some sellers make things look better than they are) is not what is expected, it is disaster. If they do not know who to market to or how to market to the people who would come there, again - failure.
An aspiring innkeeper seminar tells them the basics - check zoning BEFORE spending ANY money, then check building codes BEFORE spending any money and get the answers to both IN WRITING. It will tell about websites, online reservations, marketing, etc. If nothing else, an aspiring class will tell them the questions they need to get answers to. The research is to tell them if a B & B (or another one) will survive in that location.
 

gillumhouse

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Welcome, Godnia. Read ALL the old threads. You will get a wealth of information from that. Ask questions and be prepared for straight, unvarnished opinion answers.
 

Generic

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You say you are considering buying a b&b. Have you done any research? Taken an aspiring innkeeper seminar? Read all the books? Hands on training? Got a wad of cash? Got health care?
We need a little more information before we can be of any help..
Breakfast Diva said:
Have you done any research? Taken an aspiring innkeeper seminar? Read all the books? Hands on training?
Are all of those things mandatory in your country to start off with a B&B?
Neither did we have any experience when we started off nor did we go into anything of that sort.
.
Viper many things are different in other countries. For example, in Quebec (a province of Canada) we need government registration forms, fees and an inspection while others may have nothing. We need a city permit. We need to take a food safety course. In the US they need to worry about the ability to get and pay for adequate healthcare, while here in Canada it's a completely unknown concern. Every country has different rules. It's just easier to know them before you jump in, than later when you have to bang your head against a wall repeatedly trying to figure out how to fix the problems.
 

Joey Camb

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Have you done any book keeping stuff? that would be useful to.
 

EmptyNest

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Read read read and have lots of money. No one is going to finance a B & B purchase right now unless you have some really big bucks as a down payment. IF you already have a house that will work, check your zoning before you to anything and as others have said...take an aspiring innkeeper workshop before you do anything. IT will open your eyes quickly. In the US you must go in with eyes wide open. Check with the state B & B association, they usually offer classes.
Good luck
 

Breakfast Diva

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You say you are considering buying a b&b. Have you done any research? Taken an aspiring innkeeper seminar? Read all the books? Hands on training? Got a wad of cash? Got health care?
We need a little more information before we can be of any help..
Breakfast Diva said:
Have you done any research? Taken an aspiring innkeeper seminar? Read all the books? Hands on training?
Are all of those things mandatory in your country to start off with a B&B?
Neither did we have any experience when we started off nor did we go into anything of that sort.
.
A well run 4 room (small) b&b in Washington state will probably be close to $1,000,000. Of course you can buy one that is not producing much revenue, but then what will you live on while you're trying to increase revenue if you don't have a lot of money stashed away.
Research and attending aspiring innkeeper seminars will also put reality into most folks. I've seen it over and over where people have used their retirement money to purchase a b&b, they get into the nitty gritty and it's not what they thought it was going to be. They realize they don't have the personality to live this lifestyle day after day. Usually, when that happens, they have already let the occupancy slip and can't sell for what they bought it for.
Do your research. If it's the right move for you, you'll know it. If not, you'll know it too, but you'll have most of your money left!
 

Alibi Ike

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You say you are considering buying a b&b. Have you done any research? Taken an aspiring innkeeper seminar? Read all the books? Hands on training? Got a wad of cash? Got health care?
We need a little more information before we can be of any help..
Breakfast Diva said:
Have you done any research? Taken an aspiring innkeeper seminar? Read all the books? Hands on training?
Are all of those things mandatory in your country to start off with a B&B?
Neither did we have any experience when we started off nor did we go into anything of that sort.
.
A well run 4 room (small) b&b in Washington state will probably be close to $1,000,000. Of course you can buy one that is not producing much revenue, but then what will you live on while you're trying to increase revenue if you don't have a lot of money stashed away.
Research and attending aspiring innkeeper seminars will also put reality into most folks. I've seen it over and over where people have used their retirement money to purchase a b&b, they get into the nitty gritty and it's not what they thought it was going to be. They realize they don't have the personality to live this lifestyle day after day. Usually, when that happens, they have already let the occupancy slip and can't sell for what they bought it for.
Do your research. If it's the right move for you, you'll know it. If not, you'll know it too, but you'll have most of your money left!
.
Breakfast Diva said:
A well run 4 room (small) b&b in Washington state will probably be close to $1,000,000.
OUCH!
 

Don Draper

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You say you are considering buying a b&b. Have you done any research? Taken an aspiring innkeeper seminar? Read all the books? Hands on training? Got a wad of cash? Got health care?
We need a little more information before we can be of any help..
Breakfast Diva said:
Have you done any research? Taken an aspiring innkeeper seminar? Read all the books? Hands on training?
Are all of those things mandatory in your country to start off with a B&B?
Neither did we have any experience when we started off nor did we go into anything of that sort.
.
A well run 4 room (small) b&b in Washington state will probably be close to $1,000,000. Of course you can buy one that is not producing much revenue, but then what will you live on while you're trying to increase revenue if you don't have a lot of money stashed away.
Research and attending aspiring innkeeper seminars will also put reality into most folks. I've seen it over and over where people have used their retirement money to purchase a b&b, they get into the nitty gritty and it's not what they thought it was going to be. They realize they don't have the personality to live this lifestyle day after day. Usually, when that happens, they have already let the occupancy slip and can't sell for what they bought it for.
Do your research. If it's the right move for you, you'll know it. If not, you'll know it too, but you'll have most of your money left!
.
Great points! I always want to tell people too that if you find you don't like it, there's no quick or easy way out...so be sure you like it before you leap!
 

Cbz

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You say you are considering buying a b&b. Have you done any research? Taken an aspiring innkeeper seminar? Read all the books? Hands on training? Got a wad of cash? Got health care?
We need a little more information before we can be of any help..
Breakfast Diva said:
Have you done any research? Taken an aspiring innkeeper seminar? Read all the books? Hands on training?
Are all of those things mandatory in your country to start off with a B&B?
Neither did we have any experience when we started off nor did we go into anything of that sort.
.
A well run 4 room (small) b&b in Washington state will probably be close to $1,000,000. Of course you can buy one that is not producing much revenue, but then what will you live on while you're trying to increase revenue if you don't have a lot of money stashed away.
Research and attending aspiring innkeeper seminars will also put reality into most folks. I've seen it over and over where people have used their retirement money to purchase a b&b, they get into the nitty gritty and it's not what they thought it was going to be. They realize they don't have the personality to live this lifestyle day after day. Usually, when that happens, they have already let the occupancy slip and can't sell for what they bought it for.
Do your research. If it's the right move for you, you'll know it. If not, you'll know it too, but you'll have most of your money left!
.
$ 1,000,000 ?!?!

Good to know you have B&B seminars and training there. We got nothing here of that sort here.

Thx Eric and Gilum!
 

Generic

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You say you are considering buying a b&b. Have you done any research? Taken an aspiring innkeeper seminar? Read all the books? Hands on training? Got a wad of cash? Got health care?
We need a little more information before we can be of any help..
Breakfast Diva said:
Have you done any research? Taken an aspiring innkeeper seminar? Read all the books? Hands on training?
Are all of those things mandatory in your country to start off with a B&B?
Neither did we have any experience when we started off nor did we go into anything of that sort.
.
A well run 4 room (small) b&b in Washington state will probably be close to $1,000,000. Of course you can buy one that is not producing much revenue, but then what will you live on while you're trying to increase revenue if you don't have a lot of money stashed away.
Research and attending aspiring innkeeper seminars will also put reality into most folks. I've seen it over and over where people have used their retirement money to purchase a b&b, they get into the nitty gritty and it's not what they thought it was going to be. They realize they don't have the personality to live this lifestyle day after day. Usually, when that happens, they have already let the occupancy slip and can't sell for what they bought it for.
Do your research. If it's the right move for you, you'll know it. If not, you'll know it too, but you'll have most of your money left!
.
There is a five room B&B on our street that they are trying to sell. Wants a total of $1.5M, I assume it's a five room B&B, since that's the legal limit
. Frankly, I don't think she has a chance at selling it at that price. But I also don't want to pay her bills either... $18K to the city and $6K for heat and light.
Breakfast Diva said:
A well run 4 room (small) b&b in Washington state will probably be close to $1,000,000. Of course you can buy one that is not producing much revenue, but then what will you live on while you're trying to increase revenue if you don't have a lot of money stashed away.....
 

Joey Camb

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You say you are considering buying a b&b. Have you done any research? Taken an aspiring innkeeper seminar? Read all the books? Hands on training? Got a wad of cash? Got health care?
We need a little more information before we can be of any help..
Breakfast Diva said:
Have you done any research? Taken an aspiring innkeeper seminar? Read all the books? Hands on training?
Are all of those things mandatory in your country to start off with a B&B?
Neither did we have any experience when we started off nor did we go into anything of that sort.
.
A well run 4 room (small) b&b in Washington state will probably be close to $1,000,000. Of course you can buy one that is not producing much revenue, but then what will you live on while you're trying to increase revenue if you don't have a lot of money stashed away.
Research and attending aspiring innkeeper seminars will also put reality into most folks. I've seen it over and over where people have used their retirement money to purchase a b&b, they get into the nitty gritty and it's not what they thought it was going to be. They realize they don't have the personality to live this lifestyle day after day. Usually, when that happens, they have already let the occupancy slip and can't sell for what they bought it for.
Do your research. If it's the right move for you, you'll know it. If not, you'll know it too, but you'll have most of your money left!
.
$ 1,000,000 ?!?!

Good to know you have B&B seminars and training there. We got nothing here of that sort here.

Thx Eric and Gilum!
.
In the Uk the only thing that is compulrary is food hygene which is a course you have to take on how to store and prepare food ie cook thoroughly and store at cold temperatures. thats the only thing. We obviously recommend that you do more than that ie B&B course, work expeience, the government provides free courses on all sorts through Business Link, read books and ask a million questions. Do research into the area, market zoning etc. For example I read a scenario where a couple bought a B&B in a town because they saw lots of out of town toursists there didn't realise they all came on organised coach tours and went home at night! Round here a 7 bed B&B sold for three hundred and thirty thousand pounds and it was a complete dump and she has completeley renovated and changed into 5 but must have cost best part of another hunudred thousand. http://www.alvera.talktalk.net/ this is for sale for £850,000 but in my opinion it is a good deal cos it is 12 rooms all ensuite one of the best locations in town, car parking, fully renovated, and good books you could just walk in and run it. The only thing that hacks me off is that it says on the particulars "easily run business" that makes my blood boil!.This is what you get for £400 thousand http://www.kingswayhotel.com/. or you can get this for http://www.simplyharrogate.com/acomblodge/index.htm for about 400 thousand. or if you want to really splash out this property is amazing and worth every penny - http://www.cavendishhotelharrogate.co.uk/ but think its on the market for 1.2 million. However round here nothing is selling cos banks just arnt lending the money.
 

Cbz

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You say you are considering buying a b&b. Have you done any research? Taken an aspiring innkeeper seminar? Read all the books? Hands on training? Got a wad of cash? Got health care?
We need a little more information before we can be of any help..
Breakfast Diva said:
Have you done any research? Taken an aspiring innkeeper seminar? Read all the books? Hands on training?
Are all of those things mandatory in your country to start off with a B&B?
Neither did we have any experience when we started off nor did we go into anything of that sort.
.
A well run 4 room (small) b&b in Washington state will probably be close to $1,000,000. Of course you can buy one that is not producing much revenue, but then what will you live on while you're trying to increase revenue if you don't have a lot of money stashed away.
Research and attending aspiring innkeeper seminars will also put reality into most folks. I've seen it over and over where people have used their retirement money to purchase a b&b, they get into the nitty gritty and it's not what they thought it was going to be. They realize they don't have the personality to live this lifestyle day after day. Usually, when that happens, they have already let the occupancy slip and can't sell for what they bought it for.
Do your research. If it's the right move for you, you'll know it. If not, you'll know it too, but you'll have most of your money left!
.
$ 1,000,000 ?!?!

Good to know you have B&B seminars and training there. We got nothing here of that sort here.

Thx Eric and Gilum!
.
In the Uk the only thing that is compulrary is food hygene which is a course you have to take on how to store and prepare food ie cook thoroughly and store at cold temperatures. thats the only thing. We obviously recommend that you do more than that ie B&B course, work expeience, the government provides free courses on all sorts through Business Link, read books and ask a million questions. Do research into the area, market zoning etc. For example I read a scenario where a couple bought a B&B in a town because they saw lots of out of town toursists there didn't realise they all came on organised coach tours and went home at night! Round here a 7 bed B&B sold for three hundred and thirty thousand pounds and it was a complete dump and she has completeley renovated and changed into 5 but must have cost best part of another hunudred thousand. http://www.alvera.talktalk.net/ this is for sale for £850,000 but in my opinion it is a good deal cos it is 12 rooms all ensuite one of the best locations in town, car parking, fully renovated, and good books you could just walk in and run it. The only thing that hacks me off is that it says on the particulars "easily run business" that makes my blood boil!.This is what you get for £400 thousand http://www.kingswayhotel.com/. or you can get this for http://www.simplyharrogate.com/acomblodge/index.htm for about 400 thousand. or if you want to really splash out this property is amazing and worth every penny - http://www.cavendishhotelharrogate.co.uk/ but think its on the market for 1.2 million. However round here nothing is selling cos banks just arnt lending the money.
.
Here it's quite opposite scenario.... people got money, banks willing to lend money but not much land/property available in the market!
 

seashanty

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welcome!

i don't know anything about prices in washington state, so can't comment on that.
if you have financing and/or the money, hurray! i totally recommend buying a turnkey b&b - one that is already operating as a b&b with licensing and permits. the biggest hurdle i hear about are folks buying amazing property with the IDEA of turning it into a b&b only to discover that the town/city/county/state/neighborhood zoning or whatever won't allow it. frustrating, heart-breaking and $expensive!
don't let anyone tell you 'you can do that here, no problem' without checking ... even after you check with all the departments you think you've contacted, a new one can jump up and say 'no, you can't do that'.
you should take an innkeeping seminar, preferably one where you jump in and act as innkeepers. one that goes over the bookkeeping aspects, the financials, marketing, and guest relations. how about a 'staycation?' so you know just what you are getting into.
i loved innkeeping. it was exhausting, frustrating and didn't pay me very well - although the place did well, the overhead was very high. it was also fun and allowed me to be creative in any way i wanted.
but every detail of the place is in your hands ... cleanliness of the whole building not just the guest rooms and dining area, furnishings, gardening, landscaping, the works. don't forget shopping, cooking, serving, cleanup, socializing (depends on the guest how much they want), reservations, scheduling, maintenance and marketing, marketing, marketing. the more help you have, the better, so a team of two is miles ahead of one alone. i did it all with the help of an adult son who took on the task of website building (yes you can pay someone to do that if you have the money), and was my handyman and night relief person ... without him, i couldn't have done it because by about 6 pm i was exhausted. plus i had no privacy and no way to get away. you must consider this very real aspect of living this way.
a toilet clogs or stops working? it has to be taken care of NOW. jammed doors, broken thermostats, lights out, clogged sinks, lockouts, window problems, too hot, too cold, water in the shower too cold, ants, flies, bees (or mice!), power outages, internet goes on the blink, tv reception fails, noisy guests or noisy neighbors, parking problems, broken ovens, stoves, microwaves, dishwashers, washers, dryers, flooded basements ... the list goes on and on. anything that can break, get stuck or stop working in a regular house ... multiply that by the number of guest rooms you have and also keep in mind that some (many? most?) guests are not as 'gentle' with your b&b stuff as they are at home.
i think you have to have a certain amount of stars in your eyes to start this kind of venture ... i did. to me, it was so worth it. i will do it again some day if i can ... but with help unless it's just a few rooms.
this forum was a life saver for me. there is great advice here ... there is also venting because you need that, too.
best of luck to you.
 

Breakfast Diva

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You say you are considering buying a b&b. Have you done any research? Taken an aspiring innkeeper seminar? Read all the books? Hands on training? Got a wad of cash? Got health care?
We need a little more information before we can be of any help..
Breakfast Diva said:
Have you done any research? Taken an aspiring innkeeper seminar? Read all the books? Hands on training?
Are all of those things mandatory in your country to start off with a B&B?
Neither did we have any experience when we started off nor did we go into anything of that sort.
.
A well run 4 room (small) b&b in Washington state will probably be close to $1,000,000. Of course you can buy one that is not producing much revenue, but then what will you live on while you're trying to increase revenue if you don't have a lot of money stashed away.
Research and attending aspiring innkeeper seminars will also put reality into most folks. I've seen it over and over where people have used their retirement money to purchase a b&b, they get into the nitty gritty and it's not what they thought it was going to be. They realize they don't have the personality to live this lifestyle day after day. Usually, when that happens, they have already let the occupancy slip and can't sell for what they bought it for.
Do your research. If it's the right move for you, you'll know it. If not, you'll know it too, but you'll have most of your money left!
.
Breakfast Diva said:
A well run 4 room (small) b&b in Washington state will probably be close to $1,000,000.
OUCH!
.
Alibi Ike said:
Breakfast Diva said:
A well run 4 room (small) b&b in Washington state will probably be close to $1,000,000.
OUCH!
It all depends on how much revenue you need to make your dream happen. There are lots of cheaper properties, but one of you will need to have the day job. The property values in WA state (especially near Seattle) did not get hit as hard as most of the country. Just to buy a house near Seattle will set you back a lot of $$. If the OP is looking in non-urban areas, the price will go down.
 

Samster

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welcome!

i don't know anything about prices in washington state, so can't comment on that.
if you have financing and/or the money, hurray! i totally recommend buying a turnkey b&b - one that is already operating as a b&b with licensing and permits. the biggest hurdle i hear about are folks buying amazing property with the IDEA of turning it into a b&b only to discover that the town/city/county/state/neighborhood zoning or whatever won't allow it. frustrating, heart-breaking and $expensive!
don't let anyone tell you 'you can do that here, no problem' without checking ... even after you check with all the departments you think you've contacted, a new one can jump up and say 'no, you can't do that'.
you should take an innkeeping seminar, preferably one where you jump in and act as innkeepers. one that goes over the bookkeeping aspects, the financials, marketing, and guest relations. how about a 'staycation?' so you know just what you are getting into.
i loved innkeeping. it was exhausting, frustrating and didn't pay me very well - although the place did well, the overhead was very high. it was also fun and allowed me to be creative in any way i wanted.
but every detail of the place is in your hands ... cleanliness of the whole building not just the guest rooms and dining area, furnishings, gardening, landscaping, the works. don't forget shopping, cooking, serving, cleanup, socializing (depends on the guest how much they want), reservations, scheduling, maintenance and marketing, marketing, marketing. the more help you have, the better, so a team of two is miles ahead of one alone. i did it all with the help of an adult son who took on the task of website building (yes you can pay someone to do that if you have the money), and was my handyman and night relief person ... without him, i couldn't have done it because by about 6 pm i was exhausted. plus i had no privacy and no way to get away. you must consider this very real aspect of living this way.
a toilet clogs or stops working? it has to be taken care of NOW. jammed doors, broken thermostats, lights out, clogged sinks, lockouts, window problems, too hot, too cold, water in the shower too cold, ants, flies, bees (or mice!), power outages, internet goes on the blink, tv reception fails, noisy guests or noisy neighbors, parking problems, broken ovens, stoves, microwaves, dishwashers, washers, dryers, flooded basements ... the list goes on and on. anything that can break, get stuck or stop working in a regular house ... multiply that by the number of guest rooms you have and also keep in mind that some (many? most?) guests are not as 'gentle' with your b&b stuff as they are at home.
i think you have to have a certain amount of stars in your eyes to start this kind of venture ... i did. to me, it was so worth it. i will do it again some day if i can ... but with help unless it's just a few rooms.
this forum was a life saver for me. there is great advice here ... there is also venting because you need that, too.
best of luck to you..
Hear! Hear!, Seashanty... great rundown on all the things involved in this biz. It's not just making breakfast, making up a few rooms, and checking guests in.
I might also do it again someday, but only if I could wear the creative hat and have someone to do all the painstaking paperwork and deal with most of the business side. I thought I'd have help with that but it didn't turn out that way and when you're going great guns, you NEED help!
I say, do an intensive internship before you make the leap and then realize that it will be even more than that when you have your own biz!
 

seashanty

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i just checked b b online and bed and breakfast dot com for washington state properties for sale, saw some in the 450,000 to 550,000 range ...
 
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