Buying outdoor storage buildings is a large investment and can put a sizeable dent your checkbook. Because of this, it’s important to think about why exactly you need and want an outdoor storage building. Taking the time before you go through with your purchase can save you headache—and wallet ache.

The first thing to think about is what you have to store. If it’s something small you might consider deck storage. However, most people need more storage than a deck storage has to offer. Storage buildings can come in a wide variety of styles and figuring out exactly what you’re trying to store will help you pick the most effective style. If you plan on storing something like a riding lawnmower, you’ll have to narrow down your search to a building that has a larger door and a ramp that your mower can utilize. It’s also important to consider whether or not you’ll be using your building to store things other than tools. Many modern buildings come with lofts where you can store your holiday decorations.

Next, you’ll need to decide what size you want your outdoor storage to be. Outdoor storage buildings range in all sizes, and their size heavily influences their price. In general, the more square footage a building has, the larger the price tag. To figure out what square footage you’ll need, there are two things you want to think about: what you already own and what you plan to own. Too many times, people will buy outdoor storage barely big enough for what they have and not think about their tool selection expanding in the future. By figuring out what you own, you’ll be able to get a good idea of the minimum space required to store all your things. Then, you’ll want to look at buildings slightly larger than what you need at the current moment to give you room to grow.

Another factor that affects the price of buildings is their quality. You can purchase prefab buildings for relatively cheap. However, they may be poorer quality than if you built your own. Try to research different brands in your price range if you’re considering a prefab building. It’ll help you know what to expect and common problems people have had with a particular model or brand.

On the topic of quality, there are three main materials buildings are typically made of. From least expensive to most, building can be made of plastic, wood or metal. Plastic sided sheds are actually pretty durable compared to wood sheds, but some people may want a better aesthetic. Wood sheds are subject to wood rot, but they can be quite attractive. Finally, metal is the most expensive, but also the most durable and can offer long-term protection for your tools without the worry of degradation over time.

The final, and most important, step in purchasing an outdoor storage building is considering HOA rules and zoning regulations. If you live in a neighborhood, there may be an ordinance that restricts the use of outdoor storage buildings. Before you make your big purchase, make sure to contact your HOA to ask if a storage building is okay to have. Some HOAs will also have stipulations to the size and placement location, so make sure to ask about those too. The last thing you want to do is to spend a bunch of money to have the HOA knocking at your door telling you to remove your building.

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