Garage or No Garage: That is the Question
Much like the kitchen, garages have evolved into one of the most important pieces of real estate in the U.S. household. Changing lifestyles and family dynamics have sparked the evolution of both rooms, which suffered some serious stereotyping throughout the 20th century. Kitchens were hot, secluded space ruled by housewives, and garages were hot, secluded space ruled by dear-old dad. Today, the kitchen is the heartbeat of the home and a focal point of the floorplan. Garages are on the same track. The modern-day garage has custom cabinets and painted floors. It has a refrigerator and an air conditioner. It has a flat-screen television and a sound system. It’s become the place to lounge, recreate, practice a hobby and watch a ball game.
While the National Association of Realtors reports 82 percent of homes have garages, that leaves many without. It leads to an important question for homesellers and homebuyers: How crucial is it to have a garage? Many homebuyers rank a garage as a must-have on their list of amenities. That makes not having one a deal-breaker. Real-estate experts say the owner should consider adding a garage to their home for sale -- if there’s room. When adding a garage to an existing home, there are several things to keep in mind. First, an electric door with an opener is the way to go. Secondly, the garage should not face the street, if possible, to maintain the visual integrity of the home. Thirdly, nothing smaller than a two-car garage should be considered (again, if possible.) Two-car garages generally are 20 feet wide by 25 feet deep, enabling lawn equipment, bicycles, beach gear, etc., to be stored on each side. A tip from architects is to plumb and wire the garage in anticipation of its trend toward an inhabitable, climate-controlled living space.
Finally, homesellers should consider making the garage a natural extension of their home by using the same materials, paint color and exterior features as the main structure. While the capital outlay might be steep, the addition will play for itself more than two times over as soon as the home is sold, industry experts say.