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Hot Rods Considering living in an old service station....

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by BigO, Jul 10, 2018.

  1. sine-bar
    Joined: Oct 8, 2012
    Posts: 17

    from Iowa

    A friend of mine built a nice shop but the county wouldn't let him live in it, so he called the space night watchmans quarters and that was perfectly fine.
    F&J likes this.
  2. I remember that show, that was very inspiring to me, thanks.
    55 Ford Gasser likes this.
  3. Kan Kustom
    Joined: Jul 20, 2009
    Posts: 2,669

    Kan Kustom

    I bought an old gas station several years ago and the EPA had installed test wells all over the property and on surrounding neighbors properties. They came around every year for about five years and took samples from the wells. About four or five years ago they came by and said they were done with me and I was good to go.
    loudbang and BigO like this.
  4. So-cal Tex
    Joined: Aug 24, 2005
    Posts: 1,376

    So-cal Tex

    If I were a single guy without any kids ( which I am not) I would definitely do it and find a way to make it work. Don't let all the negative folks on her scare you about the environmental stuff that can largely depend where you live.
  5. BamaMav
    Joined: Jun 19, 2011
    Posts: 4,869

    from Berry, AL

    It used to be pretty common here in the south to have a country store/ gas station with living quarters attached. No zoning laws out in the country, still none in most counties. Some had a one or two bay shop, a lot were just gas and groceries. My Great Uncle and Aunt lived in their store until the early 70's, then built a house when she became handicapped. He didn't have a shop, but had an area where he had a tire machine and an old timey set of steel ramps to drive up on and grease a car or change oil. All I ever remember them doing was fixing flats. There living quarters was on one end of the building, it had a kitchen, a bath, a bedroom and a small living room, all the two of them needed. He sold the store in the mid 70's when he retired, it burned a few years later. I think the old grease rack ramp got turned into a trailer for a dirt track racer.

    One of the Wife's Uncles had a similar arrangement, he and his son lived in the rear of the store. That building only had a bathroom and a couple of small bedrooms and maybe a small kitchen area. It has a large two bay shop attached to one end that was a diesel shop for years. The Wife's Uncle rented the store for several years, and the guy who owned the property ran the diesel shop. After the Uncle got out of it, the store was rented by several different people, none of who could make a go of it. It finally closed with only the shop staying open until the owner's death. Now his son uses it some, but he's a druggie I hear, and it will probably never be open again as a shop.

    I've seen others set up the same way, living quarters in back or on top. Don't know of any of them still open for business anymore, the big companies built super stations closer or in the towns, cars started getting better fuel mileage, and you no longer needed a gas station every 4-5 miles. I can leave Tuscaloosa AL on US 43 going north at night, and there's only one station in about 60 miles that is open until midnight. If it weren't for card reading gas pumps, you'd be walking if you ran out of gas at night.
    loudbang and BigO like this.
  6. I grew up three doors down from this fire station. It would make for a great place to live and work on cars. 20180713_190752.jpg
    loudbang likes this.
  7. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 18,060

    from California

    landlords are required to give 24 hr notice. they never came around anyways.
  8. There not being negative, I asked for pros and cons and I'm getting good things to think about.:)
    Sporty45, Bandit Billy and loudbang like this.
  9. jimdillon
    Joined: Dec 6, 2005
    Posts: 3,094


    I would go for it in a heartbeat. In between my divorce from my first wife and marriage to my second I lived in a rental house and 2 other houses I owned. When I moved to California in the 80s (for 16 years) to open a shop to do restoration work, I had a motor home and lived outside my shop which was fine for me until I could afford “more appropriate quarters”. There were some spare rooms over my shop office and storerooms that were empty but needed work (other than acting as storage). I used them initially for storage.

    Long story short, my neighbor to my shop who built high end cabinets, was constantly asking me to weld this or paint that and before I knew it he told me he would pay me in cabinets etc. I figured I would live in the shop upstairs for a few months or whatever as all I had to do was paint and carpet it and he would outfit it. He built me a complete kitchen, an armoire and dresser, entertainment cabinet, coffee table, all beautiful stuff. I ended up living there for almost 5 years. It was great as I could work till I got tired and take a shower and hit the sack. When my dad came to visit he really liked the place (my dad was an attorney used to 5 star hotels). He stayed for a week and we had a great time (one month before he passed).

    You can make your living quarters just how you like it but having your shop right there has definite advantages. There were times I would get a second wind and I would go back to work for a few hours. Some of my custom paint work took long hours of masking etc and I could take a nap and go back to work and work till dawn if need be. Enjoyed the heck out of the place. I saved my money and eventually bought a home (with a barn to continue working on cars) but certainly had good memories of living over my shop.

    You may want to check with the local township or whatever to see if you could live there which may save you some heartbreak down the road. Other than that, why not.
  10. Satyr
    Joined: Nov 16, 2009
    Posts: 88


    Big0, I have traveled through NC a number of times, I have seen lots of old gas stations no longer in use. I take it living in Winston- Salem you have seen the restored 1920's shell station. I have had the same idea for years now and with retirement only about 5 years down the road I will be following this thread to see how it goes for you. Best of luck with it!

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jul 15, 2018
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  11. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 26,644

    Jalopy Joker

    future "Home Sweet Home" SAM_7018.JPG
  12. Thanks, and if I could live in that "Shell" station I would then be a "shell" of a man. :D
    loudbang likes this.
  13. I like it. That would be a great place.
    loudbang likes this.
  14. Shamus
    Joined: Jul 20, 2005
    Posts: 1,203

    from NC

    Do it!
    loudbang and BigO like this.
  15. xhotrodder
    Joined: Jul 2, 2009
    Posts: 1,610


    Several years ago I was leaving the Goodguys Indy coming out of the Exhibitors parking and drove past a very small service station building that someone was living in. Cool little building too.
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  16. I hope to be that guy one day. :D
    loudbang likes this.
  17. Bandit Billy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2014
    Posts: 7,660

    Bandit Billy

    Okay, I have done a little more thinking on this since my original post. FNMA and FHA both require in their guidelines that a property be issued an Occupancy Permit at some point prior to applying for renovation lending (either FNMA's Homestyle or FHA's 203K). So if you went about this the right way, you may be able to mortgage it.

    It was 15 or so years ago that I lent rehab money on a grange hall that was on the National Historic Register. The previous owner of the grange hall had installed a crude but functional kitchen, bath and bedroom and had obtained an Occupancy Permit. I did the rehab purchase loan to buy the hall for $100,000 and do $50,000 in rehab work to make it livable and conform to my borrowers desires. The grange hall was commercial zoned but the local municipality issued a letter stating that the hall could be rebuilt as a residence if 100% destroyed by fire, making it acceptable and conforming to FNMA's rules.

    Using that as a basis (at least for the point of discussion) if you were to purchase a station, assuming it passed environmental tests, and did the required work by your municipality to obtain a Occ Permit, I could refinance the property with one of the loans mentioned above and fund the entire rehab in a low cost fixed rate home mortgage.

    The trick is the paying cash for it part. Unless you are well heeled, there are hard money sources in the country (individual investors with deep pockets that lend money for short periods of time) that you could obtain purchase money funds and get that Occ Permit. A rehab refinance would pay off that hard money loan and cover the rehab expense.

    Some threads run past my technical ability and knowledge to assist, this one plays to it if you need to finance your dreams.
    loudbang likes this.
  18. Thanks for the information, now I know more about what to consider and what questions to ask , now if I can just find the property, of course I'm looking local first then venture out, there has to be one somsomewhere close. Thanks again you've been a big help.:)
    loudbang and Bandit Billy like this.
  19. riv63
    Joined: Feb 2, 2008
    Posts: 87

    from Texas

    We looked at a cool little station in Breckenridge, TX on the main drag. It was cheap and cute. Taxes were 3 times residential rates as it was zoned commercial. You couldn't change it back to residential without changing the entire block. That wasn't going to work. We also looked at some older buildings with a 2nd floor. Not as cool as an old gas station, but lots of cheap space.
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2018
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  20. BigO, loudbang and williebill like this.
  21. deathrowdave
    Joined: May 27, 2014
    Posts: 2,601

    from NKy

    I love that smell , that gasoline smell ! That smell makes me think of....... Victory !!

    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    BigO and loudbang like this.
  22. japchris
    Joined: Apr 21, 2001
    Posts: 335

    from England

    Great if you can save a building that would otherwise be bulldozed for development.
    There was a derelict art deco garage here in UK that was converted into apartments rather than knock it down. -
    Art_Deco_Derelict_Manor.png 1135.jpg
    Some photos of it in a derelict state here -

    Attached Files:

    R A Wrench, BigO, williebill and 3 others like this.
  23. Grab one while you can.
    The very old nearly vintage style ones around here are getting leveled left and right.
    Rapidly disappearing from the landscape.

    Sent from my iPad using H.A.M.B.
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  24. Hot Rods Ta Hell
    Joined: Apr 20, 2008
    Posts: 4,260

    Hot Rods Ta Hell

    future "Home Sweet Home".

    Wow, tell us more. Did you buy it?
    loudbang likes this.
  25. pandes
    Joined: Jul 10, 2018
    Posts: 2


    don't buy,rent only...[​IMG]
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  26. TrailerTrashToo
    Joined: Jun 20, 2018
    Posts: 952


    I question the "rent only" - Puts you at the mercy of your landlord. Down here in Cochise County AZ, the bottom end of the real estate market (old gas stations are at the bottom end) has changed. A couple of our slumlords are having their properties seized for unpaid taxes. The tenants have paid their rent all this time and suddenly get eviction notices. Last year, it was our local speed shop. Yesterday, one of the local fence contractors lost a storage lot. I was there loading free cinder block onto my son-in-laws trailer. The person living in the old house at this lot is not sure where he can find another place to live.
    loudbang likes this.
  27. johnnymac1
    Joined: Sep 16, 2012
    Posts: 144


    If I were in your shoes, I'd do it,
    BigO likes this.
  28. There is a gas station/residence in Washington state for sale in the classifieds. Needs some fixing up but looks pretty cool.

    BigO likes this.

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