Show your Garage Some Love

by : Keith Lutz

Ah, the lowly garage. A place where we typically stockpile our tools, seasonal items, and knick-knacks we can't bear to part with. Traditionally, a car rests inside, protected from the elements. Often though, our "stuff" begins to take up so much space that our vehicles get left out in the cold. "Who cares?" you may ask. If you're planning on selling your home, you're going to want to extend some much needed t.l.c. to that cold, cluttered room.

A garage is an extension of the house, and as such, can make a big impact on buyers. You know that before showing your home, certain steps need to be taken in order to present it in the best possible light. Common preparations like making small repairs, adding a fresh coat of paint, removing unnecessary decorations and photos, all help to make the space as welcoming and neutral as possible. Time after time sellers do all these things, only to cram furniture and boxes into their garages. For the buyer, this is something of a cheat. They cannot gauge the true dimensions of the garage and envision the possibilities that the room can offer.

Despite all their research and advice, buyers select homes that touch them on an emotional level. The house has to grab them and quickly conjure images of backyard barbeques, dinner parties, and quiet days spent with a good book. In order to do this, disorder and personal effects need to be kept in check. An eyesore of a garage will quickly sour the fantasy of a potential buyer. It also implies that the house simply does not have enough space to comfortably store things in an orderly way.

By cleaning out the garage and installing organizational elements such as shelves and cupboards, the garage can become a much more user-friendly space. Less items on the floor means more room to do vehicle repairs; less things stacked on top of each other means easier access to your things. And by having a locking garage, your belongings will have a safe and secure place to live.

A growing trend in garages is to build them with future renovations in mind. More and more people are converting their garages into home offices, media rooms, and granny suites. When marketing your garage to potential buyers, be sure to point out the features that make it a flexible space. Growing families will appreciate the extra square footage, and budget-conscious buyers will be enticed by the idea of converting the room into an additional source of revenue by renting it out.

When planning to build your garage, be sure to insulate it properly, keeping in mind its possible future uses. People may end up spending a great deal of time in there, so be sure to make it hospitable. Also, choose sturdy, waterproof materials. Having the potential for an accessory suite can be a big selling point with buyers, so be sure consider this before starting the building process..

Because they can add security, comfort, and flexibility, garages are in high demand. In this ever changing world where space is at a premium, a garage can make or break a sale. In fact, according to a 2007 study conducted by the National Association of REALTORS®, 56% of buyers said that they're willing to pay more for a house with a garage. Depending on your geographical area, a garage can be a downright necessity. In the Midwest for instance, winter weather conditions are harsh. Not having to waste time scraping snow and ice off their vehicles can make having a garage an invaluable addition. Even in more temperate locales such as beautiful Charlotte, North Carolina, garages are in high demand.

Whether you decide on a carport, a detached garage, or an attached one, a garage adds a great deal of value to your home. By keeping the area clean and clutter free, buyers will be able to look at the area and appreciate its full potential. And while you still live there, you can enjoy all the benefits an organized, well-built garage can offer. Storage, security, and space, a garage is a wise investment for your home. Now, go show your garage some love.