As a Realtor, I hear all kinds of requests and wish lists for folks looking to buy a home. Some are way out (only certain house numbers will do), while some are more mundane, such as needing a flat lot for a kids’ play set. One of the requirements I hear fairly often is for covered parking. Being a “car person” myself, that’s one I can really identify with, though sometimes it entails being creative.
The need or desire for a garage or carport is sometimes dictated by weather. Here, we don’t have to dig cars out from under piles of snow, or (very often) scrape ice off the windows. On the other hand, our hot summers here in Atlanta mean many folks want a garage to keep their cars from baking in the sun. It can also be a matter of security, in an area where you may be worried about leaving a car sitting outside at night.
Then again, sometimes it’s just a matter of being “car proud,” where you want to keep your car shiny, spotless, and out of all of the elements. That’s the category I most fit in, and I’ve had many clients over the years who feel the same way. I’ve also had many clients who collect cars, and want covered parking for multiple cars. One client would buy practically any house if it had covered parking for 3 or 4 cars!
Fortunately, the Internet enables very specific criteria for home searching, including what type, if any, parking a home offers. While this is extremely helpful, sometimes it’s necessary to dig a little deeper to find the perfect situation, which is one of the ways having a good buyer’s agent comes into play. Sometimes I’m unable to find a home that meets all the buyer’s criteria, so I get creative.
Maybe there’s a home with no covered parking, but has a perfect setup for adding a garage, or maybe the previous garage or carport was converted into living space in a previous renovation, but can be easily changed back. One of my first homes was listed as having no garage, but I decided to go see it anyway. Turns out, the previous owners had left the garage door as it originally was, but turned the space into a storage room. I was much more interested in a garage than extra storage, so I converted it back at very little cost.
This brings me to a point that should be of interest to both buyers and current homeowners. Obviously, we want our homes to fit our particular needs and lifestyles. It’s one of the great arguments for owning your own home as opposed to renting. However, I do think it’s important to keep an eye on resale if you plan on making changes to your home’s parking situation – or any other significant aspect of the home.
For instance, it could be detrimental to the value of your home to take away covered parking if there’s no way to either replace it elsewhere, or easily convert it back. Especially in a higher-end renovation, most buyers are going to expect some kind of covered parking. The same holds true on the reverse: If you take up your entire backyard putting in a 5-car garage, chances are that will make your house more difficult to sell.
Such choices should also take into account the bigger picture. If your home is in a neighborhood where none of the homes have covered parking, not having a garage won’t hurt your resale, but having one can be the deciding factor for a buyer to pick your home over the others. On the other hand, if all or most of the homes in your neighborhood do have covered parking, removing it will more than likely negatively affect the marketability and resale value of your home.
Using the expertise of a neighborhood Realtor can help you make these tough decisions, both on the buying and selling ends – or even just when deciding what changes you are considering for your home. (To build in the garage or not to build in the garage?) As for me, looking out the window at the pouring rain, I’m happy knowing my automobile “babies” are staying dry and warm inside the garage!