In recent years, great attention has been paid to how to remodel a garage to fit many homeowners’ storage needs – for cars but also for other items like seasonal clothing and holiday decorations.
Not every house comes with a garage, however, particularly smaller or older homes. With the continued slow housing market, many buyers and sellers debate the value – or lack thereof – in a garage.
Broker Amy Frankmore, with Kentwood Real Estate in Denver, says the garages need to be dealt with head on in a marketing plan. “Many buyers discount the listing price of a house without a garage, she says.
She and others recommend both sellers and buyers get estimates to build a 2- to 2.5-car garage. On average, the garage should be 150 square feet and have a concrete floor, fire-resistant sheathing, durable roof, window, automatic electric door and good drainage with a slope to the outside, says Robert S. Mann, a construction lawyer in Century City, Calif. Though labor costs vary, Mann puts the average cost at around $13,000, or $85 a square foot. In addition to knowing the potential cost, check that a garage – attached or detached – complies with local building codes. Preferably, it should be near the kitchen or mud room. “Otherwise, it will work against resale and be frustrating [for owners], since people rarely go in their front door but through the garage,” says Duo Dickinson, author of Staying Put: Remodel Your House to Get the Home You Want (Taunton Press, 2011).
Depending on an area’s real estate market and seller’s eagerness, the cost can become a negotiating tool. Homeowners Stacey and Curt Hilton didn’t get the purchase of their garage-less Raleigh, N.C., home reduced by the cost to build one, but were able to deduct $5,000.