When you’re making your wish list for your new home, you’re probably thinking about how many bedrooms you want, the size of the yard, and the neighborhood itself. But there’s another important feature that you should pay close attention to when house-hunting -- the garage. Most homebuyers would like to purchase a home with a garage, but little thought is put into it beyond that. Yet, the garage is one of the most-used areas of a home. When you’re touring homes, these are the questions you should ask when evaluating the garage.
Is it big enough for your cars?
You would think that all garages would be big enough to park your car inside. But older homes may not always have garages that will fit larger modern vehicles like SUVs or trucks. When you’re touring the home, you should ask for the dimensions of the garage so that you’ll know for sure whether or not your cars will fit. And if you have any specialty items you want to store in the garage, like a trailer or motorcycle, make sure there’s enough room for those, too.
Is there extra space?
Garages are the catch-all space for our extra household items. Most people not only use their garage to park their vehicles but also for storage. Is there room for things like sporting or lawn equipment? In addition, ask about any extra space the garage may have and whether it includes electricity and plumbing. Garages can be great places to create more living spaces such as an in-law suite, so check to see what you’ve got to work with.
Is there enough power?
Many people like to keep an extra freezer or a washer and dryer in the garage. But not all garages are wired to accommodate them. Ask your agent what the amp capabilities are and where all the outlets are located. This is crucial if you have an electric car that will need to be charged in the garage, as it requires a 220-volt plug.
What condition is the floor in?
Also, examine the garage floor when you take your tour. Ask what material it is made from and if there are any finishes. While it can be nice to have a garage floor with an epoxy finish, you want to make sure it wasn’t recently installed to cover up damage like cracks or crumbling concrete.
Is it heated?
It may not seem like a big deal if the garage isn’t heated. But if you live in a cold climate and plan to use the garage for laundry or as a workroom, heat will be essential. Find out if the garage is heated with professionally installed heaters for your garage as well as insulated.
Are the shelves included?
Finally, if the garage has any shelves, storage systems, or workbenches, ask if they are included in the sale. Having a move-in-ready garage is a great benefit, but don’t assume these things go with the house. Ask if they are permanent or attached to the walls, or if the current homeowner is planning to remove them when they move out.
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