Garages are an expensive part of a house. Consider whether a garage is necessary before moving house or building one.
Some people assume a garage is necessary based on tradition and resale value. But they forget to take into account the alternatives to a garage and this can be a costly mistake.
Let’s take a closer look: are garages necessary?
Summary: Consider your particular circumstances in whether a garage is necessary. Garages are mostly used for storage rather than for vehicles. Also consider if your house lacks storage and if the only alternative would be a garage. If you have a basement or a shed, a garage probably isn’t necessary. Buying a house without a garage may give you the opportunity to build a garage and make a profit in the resale value.
Why are garages useful?
Many families find garages useful; according to the 2017 American Housing survey, in 2017 66% of homes had a garage of some sort. Here I’ll go into the reasons garages are actually useful, and some may surprise you:
According to Statista, 55% of households in the US have 3 or more people living there. And that means a lot of ‘stuff’ that needs storing.
People are moving away from keeping vehicles in the garage to using the area for general storage. This is due to vehicles increasing in size and garages in new homes becoming smaller.
Keeping cars and motorcycles safe
Garages are mostly used for general storage but there are particular reasons to store your vehicle inside the garage.
Do cars and motorcycles need to be garaged?
They don’t need to be garaged, but definitely benefit from it in certain circumstances.
Plastic, rubber and painted parts all degrade under exposure to UV light. For a day to day runner this probably isn’t an issue.
If your car or motorcycle is very rarely used (for example a classic car or weekend/Summer motorcycle) or is expensive, it’s beneficial to store them in the garage. This protects your vehicle from both theft and the outside elements.
As a workshop
By doing this, homeowners are able to do home improvement projects, work on cars and create woodworking stations.
Extra space to affix solar panels
Solar panels are becoming more popular. Some homes already use them, and 46% of US homeowners have given serious thought to adding solar panels to their home.
Garages normally provide a flat roof with easy access; perfect for solar panel installation.
What are the downsides of not having a garage?
The main downside to not having a garage is a lack of storage space.
You should view this in context: how much storage does the house have without a garage? If your home has a basement or shed then you are unlikely to need the storage facilities of a garage, too.
There are three other reasons where homeowners may find the lack of a garage particularly painful:
Adverse weather conditions
If you live in an area that is particularly cold and snow is common, the lack of a garage can be a downside.
When temperatures decline, frost and condensation will form on the windscreen of your car. It’s inconvenient to defrost a car before setting off. A garage will prevent this. Although remember: a garage is not climate controlled, so you’re still likely to be setting off in freezing temperatures.
Also if your area is particularly hot, the UV rays from the Sun will damage your car quicker.
No street parking available
Consider what street parking is like and whether you’re likely to struggle parking. If so, a garage provides a guaranteed spot.
View this in context: if your house has a driveway then this serves the same purpose.
According to Pocketsense, a house with a garage would be worth $48,000 more compared to those without.
On average, your house is worth $48k less than equivalent houses in the same area WITH a garage.
Should I buy a house without a garage?
When making a house purchase, think about yourself and not the resale value of the house. It’s impossible to predict what may happen in the next few years and if or when you may be selling the house.
Ask yourself ‘can I afford this?’ and have a backup plan if not.
If you are investment minded and looking to make money on the house, you could intentionally look for houses lacking a garage.
Is it cheaper to buy a house without a garage?
On average, homes without garages are roughly $48k cheaper in the US.
The vast majority of houses in the US have garages. Consider this when buying a home, particularly if there’s a shortage of street parking. In these circumstances, houses without garages will be far cheaper.
How does a garage affect the resale value of my house?
It costs on average $27k to build a garage, but you’ll see roughly an 81% return on investment.
By building a garage, you could increase the resale value of the house by $48k, netting yourself a $21k profit.
Are garages a good investment? Most of the time, yes.
What adds more value to a house, a garage or extra room?
Consider your house and circumstances before committing to a garage conversion. There are various reasons why a garage conversion can be harmful to the house: a poor quality conversion, a lack of parking and a lack of storage throughout the house. If a conversion is done to a high standard and there are no other moving parts, a converted garage is likely to add value to the house. Especially since the demand for garages is decreasing.
Note: In order to convert a garage, specific steps must be followed, and it’s not cheap. Most garage conversions cost between $6k and $23k. And in order to be successfully converted, the garage must be considered a ‘habitable space’.
Floor Plan – A floor plan that isn’t open plan may reduce the value of a home by up to 25%. Converting a garage to a poor standard might add little to no value.
Parking – If you are living in an area with limited parking, or where parking is at a premium such as New York, converting a garage may decrease the house value.
Storage – If your house lacks a basement and shed, converting a garage may put off potential buyers due to lack of storage. The main reason people use a garage is for storage.
How to live without a garage?
You may need a garage for parking a car if there’s a lack of street parking or if your car is used rarely or expensive. In this circumstance, your only options are to either build a garage or rent one.
Since garages are mostly used for storage or projects, homeowners should also consider alternative outbuildings.
The average cost to build a shed is only $2500. A shed will fulfil most families needs (minus parking) compared to a garage.
How important is having a garage? Garages are only necessary where the house lacks alternative storage space or where you have a particular need to park cars there.
Even if the house doesn’t have a garage, there are viable alternatives and a good opportunity to add value to a house by building a garage.