View Full Version : Purchased Buildings...

11-15-2011, 07:22 AM
So who all of you reading this have actually purchased your loc? If you don't mind me asking, how much? Or well, what is an average price?

My reason for asking is this. My building I was looking at is an old Riggs lumber building. We finally made contact yesterday and here's the thing.

1. They had never thought of renting before, so they're thinking of some numbers and going to get back to me.

2. $600k!!! down from $750 because the very back of it has a leak and it's estimated at $150k from paper to tile to be completed.

3. It's 55,000 square foot with huge sheds out back that housed the lumber that could be made into buildings very easily.

4. It's lot is the full width, like 120 foot or something but stretches 2 BLOCKS! It's HUGE all around, land and building.

I was wondering does this sound like a good deal? Or waaay too much?

It's all commercial property zoned and everything. No sprinkler system but the building was grandfathered in, so HOPEFULLY I don't NEED sprinklers the first year. Everyone in town knows wehre the building is, but not so much for the surrounding towns, but again, it shouldn't be hard to find. It's only 1 turn off a major road.

Around here, I can get a pole building built for about $25k that'll be big enough. I can't help but to think that I can afford to purchase a lot and build on it after a year or so. What do you guys think? Try to rent and go from there? I know purchasing for our first year is a stretch and not considered smart, but I've done 2 business that way before (partnered in) and it worked fine. But we never bought a building for over $120k . I KNOW this can work for us. Every major haunt that has a good setup has LINES OUT THE WAZOO. The only ones around here that dont' have lines like crazy are the small boyscout fund raiser haunts. Although cool and very fun, they just didn't market out or anything. Haunts "work" around here. But you have to drive 1.5 hours just to get to a REALLY NICE one, and I think it's worth putting one in near home here.

I just needed some advice / opinions. I mean, it may be to the point that you HAVE to have a huge place like that to make a large, nice haunt, but I don't know. I'd be purchasing for the future. Not for the now. That way I don't have to rent for years and THEN get a big place and move and all that jazz, I think it'd be smarter to think big and prepare for growth from the beginning.

Idears? I'd appreciate any info.



Allen H
11-15-2011, 08:15 AM
Its sounds reasonable, but dont plan on not adding sprinklers, you are changing the use of the building, it was grandfathered in for the business that was there- not for the building. I would offer them 500,000 and go from there. I dont think its a bad deal, talk to a realtor and try to think of the building as a separate investment from the haunt. Is the building alone a good investment- you are not buying the buildings potential- you are buying a real estate investment. What is the parking situation?

11-15-2011, 08:25 AM
Going from lumber mill to haunt the fire Marshall is gonna think alot different. You're going from few people working to a "public assembly" with hundreds possibly confined in a tight space. Ask you marshall to take a look first before you buy a building he hands down rejects.

11-15-2011, 08:34 AM
Those are good points. I appreciate the feedback. I was planning on talking to the FM this weekend if I can catch him again. I'm hoping it's the same guy I airbrushed the hood of his truck. He was cool and we got a long, I think he'd bend over backwards to help me get in it, although I wouldn't want any corners cut, just maybe helping get what I needed to pass.

I figured the building wasn't grandfathered in, but in this town, was hoping for a linear first year. Hoping they'd give me a year to establish business to help get things done right the first time we do them. I don't want corners cut, I just want to do it ONCE, not half fast with redoing it later.

I already have a supplier of F. Extinguishers. I use to race R/C cars with the guy and can get a good deal on a lot of them. My plan is to have one per room and a few scattered outside of the rim of the haunt. I've decided if I go indoors, I won't use the existing walls for the haunt, I'll build the haunt outer walls to keep a perimeter of safety around it for FE's, Visual inspections as it's in use etc and for when that emergency does hit, they'll have lighting and will be able to open all the doors and turn on lights to show exits.

Bradenton Haunted Trail
11-15-2011, 09:09 AM
The FM will make you have a back up system in place in case the power goes out for emergency lighting. If you get away with no sprinklers you need to be able to exit the building within 200'. Any value of the property has to be done in comparables to your area, 600k for 50,000 sq ft building on that much land hear would be in the millions range so you have to compare apples to apples.

Twisted Woods

11-15-2011, 12:58 PM

Just came back from lunch. We went and looked at that building. It's HUGE! It's 150' wide and gawd knows how long. It's MASSIVE! Even if we cut off the back part of where the bad leaks are, it's still big enough for 2 haunts, living quarters, inside DRY lines and work areas for the off season.

We did get him to admit that they'd sell it for any reasonable offer. Made it sound like if we offered $350k for it they'd take it. Problem is, getting a business loan to do it!

FM said that they'd probably let us go season 2012 with what's there, but would probably have to recommend at least the sprinkler system by 2013 and the backup power setup. He said NO ONE around here doing haunts even talked to them and when he looked at the places, they wouldn't pass!

So I guess we'll have to talk to banks and see. Ther'es a smaller building on the main road in town that's $290K and it's 6k sq foot with 15 parking slots! I'm assuming it's about right for the lot and building.

11-15-2011, 03:55 PM
15 parking spaces? That probably won't be enough. Your haunt may bring in hundreds of patrons, and believe me, you want a good parking situation.

Jim Warfield
11-15-2011, 07:54 PM
And the work required to maintain it never ever ends!
It was an unseasonably warm. pleasant day here today, did I get to do what I wanted to do? NO! ON The Roof to fix it.(tar)
The fun never ends!
THE biggest advantage to owning is being able to remain in the same location year after year, which can save a ton of money on re-advertising your new location all the time.
My house is in the "World's Poorest Location" according to common haunt/business thinking.But in a great many ways it is THE best location.. the sort of a thing many patrons realize when they drive into this town, the old buildings and houses begin to work on their minds....so many are awe struck as they pull up infront.. they never expected to find such an investment of time, labor, effort in such a hidden location in the middle of "Nowhere"!
The we let the fun begin!
It's The Ravens Grin Inn, at the end of a dead-end street, behind the store fronts in a small town, across from the graveyard, at the edge of a cliff, all by itself, surrounded by three parking lots, a small river and trees and wildlife....lonely, right in town.

11-16-2011, 07:28 AM
15 parking spaces? That probably won't be enough. Your haunt may bring in hundreds of patrons, and believe me, you want a good parking situation.

no no no... I was just saying "comparatively" Lord no, I know better than that haha. Like I've said, I'VE BEEN TO HAUNTS all my life lol, I KNOW i need parking :P

Man, Jim, your place sounds so frkin cool. I'm talking my family into coming out as soon as it's warm up there. It'll be a "business affiliated trip" lol.

Yeah, I WANT to own, but I'm not sure if I can afford a $50,000 a year payment on that Riggs building. I'm just gonna see if / what kind of loan we can get and start from there. I've already got props and 2 full rooms together from our Halloween party, I don't need a WHOLE lot for my first year. I WANT to work on this all year though. I mean, if I'm hurting, I don't HAVE to go in and I'd be the boss, I don't think I can bring my self to fire myself, ya know. :P But I do understand it's a lot of hard work. Hard work I can handle, I just need to be able to do it when my body is able. At my current PC Retail job, I build computers that can be 60lbs. I have to lift these all the time and when my back gives out, I can't just take a break! So I have to do this, I NEED to do this, and most of all, I WANT THIS! Its the only thing left I have a solid passion for.

Thanks for the input guys, but yeah, as I said. The guy I spoke with say my yearly payments would be about $45-$50,000 on that building. Off to my next warehouse I was looking at.



11-17-2011, 04:05 PM
I don't know how much revenue & profit your haunt brings in per year, but by purchasing commercial real estate, you should also consider the implicit rental rate may be a better deal than to buy. Calculate in depreciation and opportunity costs of having your capital locked up in real estate instead of making interest in the bank, stocks, ect.

edit: if this is your first year, I would lease for a few years to see how things go. Also, depending on the shape this building is in, be careful to make sure it has all the safety regulations needed. It could cost a fortune to install a water sprinkler system, fire alarm system, smoke detector system, E-Lights, fire strobe lights, Knox Box Key...yadda yadda...the list goes on

11-17-2011, 11:40 PM
I'm in a similair boat you are too. Even though this is your passion it would be wise to look at this assuming all the negatives ARE going to happen. What if you can't make 50k a year, what if no one comes or not as many as you want. Why? This way you're prepared for the worst and can enjoy the best. I too wanna buy but going to big to fast can set you up for failure unfortunately. Being as this a special building and doubtful in this economy it's a hot property the owner us losing money in property taxes and upkeep costs. Why not offer to lease for taxes plus a little extra? This way you aren't stretched super thin and need few people to break even. You can away grow but you really don't wanna downside. Down the road u can buy it and if issues arise it's easier to walk away. Plan for the worst but hope for the best.

Jim Warfield
11-18-2011, 12:08 AM
Nice guy, hard worker, did physical labor that most half-way sane people would never even think of doing.. he had no money.
His Dad owned a barren piece of land next to a busy road at the edge of a college town with maybe 20,000 pop. just 10 miles from another town of maybe 10,000.
The land was a flat field that had a drive way up into it.
He wanted to go "Haunting".
I suggested he borrow his Dad's vacant piece of land, dig graves, make headstones, make a big sign: "Haunted Grave Yard." for the highway and go for it.
Could it possibly be any cheaper or easier to do (this was 22 years ago.)
"Good idea, Jim."
He never even tried.
Oh, well?

11-18-2011, 07:30 AM
You're absolutely right. Now I'm not expecting to make $50k. I have no CLUE as to what I could make at this around here. Now, Like I said before, the rumors are that most around here are 7-9k on average in attendance, but the rumors also state that, that is A CONSTANT! Except for the ones that don't advertise. When I'm done, I want there to be less than 30% of people that doesn't know about it lol. Possible? Maybe.

Now, with that said, I'm not gonna try for anything on that building except for maybe a lease. But I think after talking with his family they don't want to rent it to a Haunted Attraction. But, I may be able to sweet talk the main owner into it. If they go for it, great! I'll build for 3 months and make it the best I can and advert the crap out of it. Then take it from there.

My wife is getting on the horn with real estate agents that may be able to help.

Which I just thought of something...

Here's a ? for you guys. What about a building that's OUTSIDE CITY LIMITS? What then? Would that make redtape a little easier? Keep in mind, I will do everything I can this first year to make it safe. I will NOT run a Haunt if I'm not 100% comfortable with the safety. The only thing is, sprinklers are getting me worried, but then again, I'm in a small town area, not sure how mean they'll be on that.

11-18-2011, 01:33 PM
What state are you planning to operate in? For California, a simple guideline for fire is there is a fire sprinkler every 10 ft by 10ft, a smoke detector every 900sq ft, a fire strobe roughly every 2000sq ft (make sure they aren't put on the walls, but on the ceilings in this building or you could get screwed when you build your haunted house structure), a fire alarm system built in to the entire system, when the fire alarm goes off all sounds and lights need to shut off automatically and an E-Light system turn on (maybe an E light every 400sqft). Also, for a permanent haunted house, many fire marshals enforce all the regulations. Many haunted houses can avoid some of these regulations because they are temporary permit structures.

All I'm saying is that there might be a lot more money needed to invest into this commercial building to make it suitable for a haunt. The haunted houses that get 7K-9K customers seasonly are rarely family businesses; this is corporate stuff, or haunts who have been in the business for 10-20 years already.

Just some thoughts to consider,

Edit: Building outside city limits shouldn't make a difference with regulations. Every piece of land is regulated by one planning department or another. Unfortunately there are rarely loopholes around these things.