Real estate: The pros of having a garage
We recently shot an episode of Income Property at a house just outside Toronto. The homeowner had a parking pad, but no garage. When we brought our real estate agent through to assess the new value of the property, he strongly suggested that the homeowner add a garage. Because of the suburban location, it was considered a given that there should be one and, in fact, if he ever wanted to sell his house, there would be a large segment of prospective homebuyers who wouldn’t even look at his property without it. The good news for anyone who doesn’t have a garage is that it’s a relatively inexpensive renovation. Our homeowner, for example? He spent $10,000 to build a basic garage and when appraised, his property value had jumped by more than $30,000. How’s that for a return on investment?
A garage is a money-making addition, regardless of whether you live in the ’burbs or not. In fact, a garage in the city might bring even bigger profits. In urban locations where parking comes at a premium, having a covered spot is huge for resale and the extra storage carries a high price tag as well. If you own a rental property, a garage that provides parking and storage can allow you to demand some big rent. Some city dwellers who don’t drive may think a garage is unnecessary, but don’t get rid of it. Even if you don’t use it, someone will pay good money to. I know plenty of homeowners who rent out their garages to neighbours in need of parking.
The price tag
You can put up a basic, functional garage for $10,000 or less. It won’t be anything fancy, but it’ll do the job if all you’re looking for is a place to park your car and house your lawn mower. There are, of course, lots of extras you can add to your garage that can bump that $10,000 price tag up to two or three times that amount really quickly. Automatic garage door openers are a nice plus, and if you think you’ll be using the space as a workshop in the winter, heating it might be necessary. If you want your garage to be a man cave, you could be looking at the cost of a flat screen, a bar – it’s easy to get carried away! If you plan on living in your home for a long time, I’d say go for it. But if it’s just the return on investment you’re looking for, keep it simple. Finally, if you have the space and budget to do it, there’s always the option of putting an income suite above a detached garage, should it meet municipal building codes. This is a much larger undertaking than a basic reno, but has huge potential for rental income and added property value.