Q: I intend to build a new garage/workshop somewhere on my property. I own two lots in a rural cul-de-sac, one where my existing home is, and an adjacent empty lot. Each lot is about 1.5 acres.

Should I build the garage next to my existing 2-car garage, or put it on the empty lot, or possibly straddle the two lots with the new building? Whom should I talk to locally about these options, and what do I need to consider as far as resale value?

A: You’re smart to try and think through the long-term implications of your new outbuilding now, before you’ve even talked to an architect. What you do could dramatically affect your ability to market your property in the future.

The person to talk to is the local zoning official in your local building department. The zoning and building department folks can advise you of any rules and regulations that you’d have to follow in building your structure. They can also tell you if you need a zoning variance of any kind.

It may be that if you build a separate building, it will cause you some problems down the road, especially if you try to separate the two lots and sell one.

On the other hand, if you attach the building to your property, or even straddle it between the two lots (with half of the building on each lot), you may overstep some of the zoning regulations for your neighborhood.

You may also want to consult with an architect as to how to best integrate the new building into the overall layout of your property and your current home. Lastly, you may want to talk to some real estate brokers in your area and see what, if any, impact the new building will have on the value of your home and on the vacant lots.

Oct. 28, 2006.