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Hidden Costs of Buying a Used Shed

Updated: Mar 18

If you’ve been shopping for an outdoor storage building but don’t think you can afford a new one, maybe you can. A lot of shoppers don’t take into account the hidden costs of buying a used shed. Even if you find a preowned shed in great shape, there are a few things to consider.

Five Questions to Ask Before Buying a Used Shed

Will it need repairs?

If you wouldn’t know the difference between a water stain and a knothole, bring someone along who knows their stuff when inspecting a used shed for sale. Any necessary repairs will add to the overall cost. Inspect the roof for damaged or missing shingles. Look on the ceiling for watermarks indicative of leakage. Also, check the walls for stains, particularly under the windows. Does the shed feel damp or is there evidence of mold or mildew? Are the seals around windows and doors tight? And, carefully examine the base of the building inside and out. Stay away from a wooden shed that shows signs of rot or animal damage or a metal shed that shows signs of corrosion. You want a building the previous owner took care of by performing routine maintenance as needed.

Are you comparing apples with apples?

Not all outdoor sheds are created equal. Ulrich Lifestyle uses pressure treated lumber for the entire floor of their buildings, not just the perimeter. Few other manufacturers do. If you’re looking at a used building without pressure treated floor joists, something you cannot see until you pick it up, you can’t compare the cost of that building with a new one which does. Plus, you may decide to buy it anyway and not find rotting floor joists until the movers come to haul it away.

The same goes for other features. Take into account the overall building construction when you shop around. Especially when considering used.

Can it be moved and how much will it cost?

After deciding that buying a used shed is worth the price, you don’t want to damage it in the move. Before shaking hands on the deal, consult with a qualified building mover. Jerald Horner, owner of Jerald’s Hauling, LLC advises homeowners to have a professional look at the building, or at least photos, to determine if it can withstand a move.

“In a lot of cases,” Horner said, “the building isn’t structurally sound enough to be moved and becomes a liability.”

If the building is small enough you think you can move it yourself, Horner says to keep several things in mind:

Anything over 96 inches may require an over-sized load permit. Check with your local authorities before attempting to move a building.

If using a rollback trailer, make sure it can do the job you want. Folks frequently call on Horner for jobs gone awry. The trailer that moved the building couldn’t position it where the person wanted. Also, according to Horner, most rollback rigs are two-wheel drive and tend to get stuck in soft soil.

Dismantling the building to make moving easier is time-consuming. Unless you have plenty of time on your hands and enjoy the work, Horner said hiring a professional mover will save you money.

What could it cost to hire a professional to move your bargain building?

“That depends,” said Horner, “on the size, the mileage, and the amount of time required to properly set it on delivery.” His prices start at $250 for an 8-foot building.

Why is the person selling this shed?

Just as you would when buying a used car, ask the homeowner why they’re selling their shed. You want them to say they bought it a year ago and decided to upsize. You don’t want it to appear that they want the thing torn down and hauled away but don’t want to pay someone to do it. Be discerning. The older the building is, the less likely it will sustain a move, or be the bargain you’re looking for.

How much life is left in the building?

Well maintained, Ulrich Lifestyle buildings will last 25 years or more. When inspecting a preowned shed, estimate the number of years it has left. When you consider the overall cost of buying a used shed, divided by the length of life of the building, purchasing a new outdoor storage building often becomes the better deal.

Still not sure?

Let an Ulrich Lifestyle design consultant help you. Our staff looks at all the variables in making the best decision for you. Call the location nearest you.

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