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Ask Adam: What’s the Value of a Garage?

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This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Adam Gallegos of Arlington-based real estate firm Arbour Realty, voted one of Arlington Magazine’s Best Realtors of 2013 & 2014. Please submit your questions via email.

Q. We’re considering building a new house on our existing lot in Arlington. We are trying to decide whether or not to include a garage in our plans. We live about half a mile from a Metro stop, and our current home lacks a garage (though we do have off-street parking). We have never really worried about the lack of a garage for ourselves, but we don’t want to hurt the resale value of the home. Because our lot is small, building a garage will come at the cost of some of the interior space of the home. We are trying to determine whether or not the garage is worth sacrificing living space, or whether a larger living area without a garage will have better resale value.

A. When it comes to buying newer homes, a garage is often on the “must-have” list for Arlington home buyers. There are people like yourselves who could live without one, but the pool of potential buyers is going to be much smaller if you forgo a garage with your home.

I don’t think it matters terribly if the garage is attached or detached. Some people prefer one or the other, but most don’t care. You’ll find that homes with a detached garage gain an incentive “bonus” when calculating maximum lot coverage in Arlington County.

If you do go with a detached garage, I recommend looking into creating usable space above the garage. I’ve seen people use this space as a home office, workshop, clubhouse, hobby room or even just for storage. It creates a lot of possibilities that are certain to add value to your home.

I looked at the statistics for Arlington fee simple homes that were built in 2013:

  • 7 homes did not have a garage
  • 13 homes had a 1-car garage
  • 62 homes had a 2-car garage

This means that 91 percent of homes built in Arlington last year had a garage.

You may also want to assess what segment of the market you want to attract with your home when it is time to sell. It’s my casual observation that homebuyers looking to spend around $1.3 million and up, tend to expect a 2-car garage.

Your home is located near the Metro and includes off-street parking so you may benefit from some market leniency, but I think the safe bet is to include a garage in your plans.

The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

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