7 Simple Tips to Keep Your Parked Car Cool in Summer

Under the right circumstances (or wrong circumstances, as the case may be), even the highest-end cars aren’t immune to the misery of a stiflingly hot interior.

When it’s a scorcher outside, entering a vehicle that’s been parked directly in the sun for hours is never a pleasant experience.

Who wants to be greeted by a sweltering car interior that’s filled with a bunch of mini hazards? We’re talking about things like scalding seatbelt buckles, sizzling leather seats, and a dashboard, steering wheel, and gear shift that are uncomfortably hot to touch.

Keep reading to find out why a vehicle’s cabin gets so hot and what you can do to keep your parked car cool this summer.

keep your parked car cool car interior

Blame your hot car on “the greenhouse effect”

So why does the interior of a vehicle that’s parked in the sun feel so much warmer than it feels outdoors on a hot, sunny day?

You can blame it on “the greenhouse effect”.

You’ve probably heard of the the greenhouse effect in relation to how the Earth’s atmosphere traps heat, which enables our planet to sustain life.

The greenhouse effect is also why a car or truck feels like an oven on a hot day. The sun’s heat enters a vehicle through the windows and gets trapped inside, increasing the temperature.

The temperature increase is highest in the first 15-30 minutes after a car is left parked in the sun. The objects in a car’s interior such as seats, carpeting, and the dashboard also absorb some of that heat.

A Stanford University study found that on a sunny day with temperatures ranging from 72°F to 96°F (22°C to 35°C), the temperature was an average of 40°F higher (8°C) inside the cars they tested than it was outdoors.

7 ways to keep your parked car cool

Hot cars aren’t merely uncomfortable, they’re also unsafe.

It’s an unfortunately reality that negligent parents occasionally leave their kids alone in a hot car, with sometimes fatal results. Pets being left in hot vehicles is another issue we hear about all too often.

HeatKills.org is an organization dedicated to raising awareness about the dangers of leaving kids and pets in hot vehicles. Their graphic below illustrates how quickly a vehicle’s interior can heat up.

keep your parked car cool diagram

It’s not difficult to follow a few simple tips to keep your parked car cool (or at least cooler), even when it’s intensely hot outside.

1. Park smart when away from home

On a day when it’s unbearably hot and there’s nary a cloud in the sky, finding relief from the heat with some shade when parking will make your car much more comfortable to return to.

Ideally, you’d want to find a parking garage. If that’s not an option, parking beneath some trees on the edge of a parking lot or in the shade of a building can keep your car cooler and be worth the extra walking that’s required.

Keep in mind that parking in a more secluded area of a parking lot may not be advisable if the neighborhood isn’t the safest, especially if you’re returning to your vehicle after dark.

Also take into account where you’re parking, the time of day, and when you’ll be returning to your car. Just because you’re parking in shade at 11 a.m. doesn’t mean you’ll still be parked in shade at 3 p.m.

2. Park in your home garage

Giving a tip to use a home garage as a way to keep your parked car cool may make you think “Thanks, Captain Obvious”.

But are you always able to park in your garage? And have you noticed how many of your friends and neighbors park full-time in their driveways?

Your garage’s main purpose is for parking, but a lot of homeowners don’t (or can’t) use it for that function. Consider these statistics:

  • A home organization study done by Moen found that the garage was the most cluttered space in homes.
  • 20% of the 1,500 people who responded to a Garage Living poll said they were unable to park in their garage.
  • A third of homeowners with 2-car garages are only able to park one of their cars in it because of clutter. (U.S. Dept. of Energy study)

When you’re home, nothing beats garage parking as the best way to keep your parked car cool. Even if you come home and plan to go out in an hour or two, parking in the garage is smarter that staying parked in the sun in your driveway.

Aside from staying cooler, there are plenty of other big benefits to making space in your garage for parking.

The risk of vehicle theft or burglary is significantly reduced and your vehicles will be protected from the exterior elements that can shorten their life. Parking closer to your home’s entrance (via the interior garage access door) is also more convenient.

keep your parked car cool, blue car in garage

Simply parking in your home garage is an obvious solution for keeping your car cool, but something many homeowners are unable to do.

3. Use a windshield sun shade

Despite the fact that they do help keep a car’s temperature down by blocking the primary entry point for the sun, some drivers simply hate the look of those windshield sun shades. The hassle of using them is a turn-off for some people as well.

Most sun shades you see in parked cars flatten out with an accordion-style design and admittedly look rather unattractive. Their foil-like, reflective covering doesn’t exactly help them call less attention to themselves, either.

It’s completely understandable that you might not want your luxury vehicle’s sharp looks being spoiled by a cheaper-looking sun shade (or something like this laughably tacky Golden Girls sun shade).

There are more expensive, but much nicer-looking windshield sun shades out there that can help to keep your parked car cool. Some companies even offer hundreds of custom models that allow for a perfect fit and vehicle color match.

Higher quality sun windshield shade models also tout better heat-absorbing materials. This makes them more effective at reducing the entrance of thermal and ultraviolet rays into a car’s cabin.

4. Cover up your vehicle interior

If a windshield sun shade is a total non-starter for you as a car cooling option, covering up the parts of your vehicle’s interior that get the hottest is another way to go.

There are plenty of models of car dashboard covers to choose from. Like the windshield sun shades, shop around for a higher quality product that provides a good fit and effectively complements your car’s interior décor.

Your steering wheel and leather seats (especially darker colored seats) are the other interior parts you’ll want to cover up to prevent them from baking in the sun. If you’re wearing shorts or a dress, your bare legs will thank you.

If you have dark leather seats, it might even be worth using lighter colored fabric seat covers during the hottest months of the year.

For a less elegant method of covering your parked car’s interior parts, even using a blanket or two will help (make sure to use a lighter colored blanket).

5. Tint your car windows

In most cases, window tints are effective at helping to keep a parked car cool.

Better quality tints are designed to allow for a good amount of light to pass through the tinted window, while blocking out the sun’s thermal rays. The latter is sometimes referred to as the “high heat rejection rate” of the tint.

Good window tints also cut down on the sun’s harmful UV rays.

Now here’s where car window tints can get very tricky – there are widely varying laws in the U.S. and Canada for how they can be used.

Some states and provinces don’t allow any tint to be on a windshield, such as Illinois and Alberta. Other have a requirement that tints allow a minimum of 70% of the sun’s light through the windows.

It gets even more complicated if you’re driving outside of your state or province. What’s legal with your window tint where you live may very well get you a ticket when you’re away travelling.

The American Automobile Association has a handy resource here that provides a state-by-state and province-by-province breakdown of vehicle tinting regulations.

6. Crack the windows…or not

A lot of drivers still swear by the old practice of leaving a car’s side windows or sunroof open a crack to keep their vehicle’s interior temperature down.

This does let the built-up heat escape and helps to facilitate some airflow through the car’s cabin, but only a fairly modest amount.

You have to ask yourself, however – is the meager reward of a car interior that’s just a few degrees cooler worth the risk of leaving your car more vulnerable to theft or vandalism?

If you leave your car windows or sunroof open even just an inch, a skillful car thief could potentially get inside the vehicle. ABC News reports that for one thief “a car with a window cracked opened was an unlocked car”.

If you’re willing to risk cracking your windows, once again be conscious of your surrounding area. Park in visible areas close to other vehicles, ideally where there’s a decent amount of vehicle and foot traffic. Parking in view of a surveillance camera also doesn’t hurt.

And let’s not forget the other hazard of leaving your windows slightly open – the risk of a sudden rainstorm making a mess of your car’s interior.

7. Try a solar-powered ventilation fan

The last of our car cooling tips is to try a solar-powered ventilation fan, which you may not be familiar with.

The fan attaches to the outside top of one of your rolled-up window and has an outward facing solar panel that powers it. The fan blows out the hot air from inside the car, while pulling in the relatively cooler air outside the car.

Using two fans set up on the two side front or rear windows should increase the cross-ventilation airflow and decrease the temperature even more.

Higher-powered, more effective models can be purchased that have a larger solar panel that sits on your dashboard and powers the fans.

The quality and reliability of this product seems to vary widely. Some online reviews dismiss cheaper models as too gimmicky and not very effective. Consumers who left reviews for other fan models praise them as ingenious and highly effective.

When all else fails…

Using one of these car cooling methods or, even better, a combination of them will keep a parked car cooler.

But if they’re still not cooling to your satisfaction, there are a couple of other ways to get the heat out of a parked car faster.

If you don’t mind getting some strange looks from passersby, one simple method involves fanning your car door to push out the heat.

Just fully roll down the passenger side window and fan the driver side door about 6-8 times. It might sound primitive, but it’s simple physics and it works!

Start parking in your garage once again

Follow these simple tips and you’ll be able to keep your parked car cooler and more comfortable to drive.

We can help you to transform your garage into a much more attractive area of your home that makes better use of your space for storage. That means you can use it for keeping your vehicles cooler and safer.

Schedule a free in-home design consultation with Garage Living to start getting a lot more out of your garage space.

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Harbor Blue: Garage Living’s Newest Design Color

Garage Living is pleased to announce the launch of Harbor Blue, our newest color that adds a unique look to any garage makeover.

Harbor Blue was created by Garage Living and is exclusive to the company. It’s available when choosing a color for your garage’s cabinetry, floor coating, and slatwall panels.

Why blue is a great color for your garage

Good things come in blue. Blueberries, violets, and cheese. A solid investment is considered blue-chip and of all nature-inspired colors, blue is the truest. That’s just a few of the reasons why blue is the best color.

But for your garage? Absolutely! Blue is the essence of inspiration and beauty. It can conjure up images that calm and relax us, or stir our spirit, creating renewed energy.

Blue is where a cloudless sky meets the gently moving water on a warm, summer day. Transfixed watching sunlight dapple on the waves, changing the hue so subtly with every ripple, you can’t help but feel balanced and connected to nature.

The color, Harbor Blue brings to mind blue sky and water evoking a connection to nature.

The inspiration for Harbor Blue

The inspiration for Harbor Blue came from a weekend getaway surrounded by water, docks, and spectacular skies. Blue fit perfectly with the décor requirements of a year-round vacation home that’s meant to be a destination for relaxing. That the condo is located within a lakeside resort, the color choice, Harbor Blue makes even more sense.

The blue accents and trim on the lakeside resort condo’s exterior helped inspire Harbor Blue, the newest color available at Garage Living.

Harbor Blue is a perfect blend of all those blues, from cool slate to deep indigo and it’s the newest color exclusively available for your:

Your garage is an extension of your lifestyle

Our lifestyle is a reflection of who we are from the inside out. Our lifestyle doesn’t stop when we leave the house, (just as the color doesn’t have to stop at the garage door). Likely, we are constantly going through our garage to our vehicle to get to a destination not paying attention to this transitional space.

It’s actually the entryway in and out of our home. Why wouldn’t we want it to be as welcoming and stylish as any other part of our home, one that truly reflects our lifestyle?

Bring style to your garage through color

That’s what led Garage Living to create luxury garage interiors with style, color, custom detail and function in mind. Think of the interior of your home; it requires furnishings, flooring, lighting, and accessories. Just as we appreciate the luxury of a custom designed home, our garages are worthy of the same treatment.

Harbor Blue acts as an accent with gleaming stainless steel custom-cabinetry. This one-of-a-kind entertaining space is more than just a garage.

Incorporating Harbor Blue and décor to elevate your garage

Today, the styles we’re incorporating to our interior design is extending to our transition spaces, like garages. The color schemes that apply indoors can be interpreted and carried through beyond the entry.

Kitchen cabinets are starting to embrace a range of colors. We’re seeing rich, deep blue tones paired with warm brass or cool metal handles and the result is fresh and beautiful. Why not consider that same for the cabinetry in your garage?

Cabinet doors and drawers in Harbor Blue make an attractive and practical addition to the transition between home and the outdoors.

Drawers, locker doors, and stainless-steel countertops and backsplash are complemented by the wide, stainless drawer pulls.

Countertop options for the kitchen and bath range from wood, to solid surface materials and stainless steel. These options are also available to elevate your garage and the look of your entire home.

A qualified designer can assess, design and optimize the space to suit your needs. Choose from modular or customized cabinet options. Storage for sports, hobbies, vehicles and more are designed for your specific lifestyle. It’s like furnishing your home.

Floortex™ floor coating protects your floor

A concrete garage floor is susceptible to a lot of wear and tear. Like flooring in your home, there is an attractive and practical option to protect it for the long term. Garage Living uses Floortex™ – an impermeable, high-performance floor coating that is superior to common epoxy floors.

Not only is it hard-wearing and easy to clean, aesthetically the flooring is available in a variety of color blends. Harbor Blue features a mix of blue tints and tones, resulting in a beautiful and functional surface for vehicles, people and more.

Task lighting

You wouldn’t want to read and write in your home office without proper lighting, so add undermount LED task lighting over a work surface in the garage. It adds functional and practical light (and really brings out the blue!).

Undermount LED lighting.

Walls and accessories — décor for your garage

With the addition of slatwall panels, custom cabinetry and hardware, the garage’s curated color palette nicely reflects the beautiful, serene, and comfortable surroundings of home.

Now that you’re seeing the garage for what it really is — an opportunity to elevate your style, there’s no limit to what you can do. One great way to stylishly show off your organizational skills is with slatwall panels.

Ladders and bicycles utilizing slatwall storage to free up floor space.

Slatwall panels are an excellent option for taking advantage of your vertical space. Garage Living has over 40 accessories to choose from. Whether you need a simple hook to hang framed art or baskets of balls, slatwall panels are designed with style and function.

A welcoming home begins with your garage

Color shouldn’t stop at the garage door, make your whole home an inviting, starting at the point of entry. Adding beautiful color to your garage like Harbor Blue is just one more way to elevate your garage.

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Don’t Get Fooled by These 7 Common Winter Driving Myths

winter driving myths, car driving towards snow plow

GS-VIE [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

There are numerous winter driving myths out there.

Too many vehicle owners believe them, even drivers who have been navigating the slippery winter roads for decades.

Actually, that fact likely plays a big role in why these misconceptions and mistaken beliefs about winter driving are so common.

Drivers get set in their ways and an outdated way of thinking, stubbornness, and simple misinformation combine to make these winter driving myths become reality in some drivers’ minds.

7 common winter driving myths debunked

The truth is, being mislead by one or more of these myths about winter driving can end up costing you money and make you and the roads less safe.

If you’ve been under the impression that any of the following winter driving myths were true, we’re here to tell you otherwise (in most cases…a couple of them fall into more of a “gray” area, as opposed to having a definitive “wrong/right” answer).

Keep reading to get the straight facts about these seven common winter driving myths and misconceptions.

1. Engines need a few minutes to warm up in the cold

This has to be the most prevalent winter driving myth. A shocking number of drivers still think their vehicle’s engine requires a few minutes of warm-up time when it’s cold outside.

In fact, most modern vehicles are fine to drive approximately 15-30 seconds after the engine has started. Diesel engines may require a little extra time.

Over the past couple of decades, automakers have moved to more efficient fuel injection systems in vehicles. That means a vehicle’s oil and some other automotive fluids circulate much faster upon startup compared to the carburetor engines of the past.

If you’re using a synthetic engine oil, there’s even less need for a lengthy engine warm-up. In comparison to traditional motor oils, synthetic oils are less prone to thickening up in frigid temperatures.

It is a fact that a vehicle’s fuel efficiency is slightly lower in extreme cold temperatures, partially because engines take longer to reach their optimal operating temperature. Just about all auto and science experts, however, agree that letting vehicles idle is totally unnecessary and only wastes fuel. Many parts of the U.S. and Canada have anti-idling laws to curtail excessive emissions.

A more fuel-efficient and eco-conscious mindset by car consumers has, of course, made electric vehicles increasingly popular. And automakers have implemented newer start-stop engine technology (even in non-electric and non-hybrid cars) that shuts off engines when a vehicle has stopped.

Naturally, drivers do let their vehicles warm up for longer periods in the winter for comfort-related reasons or to defrost windows. Sitting inside a frigid car or truck is admittedly never enjoyable, but here are a few ways to help your vehicle warm up a little quicker:

  • park in your garage to keep your vehicle’s engine and cabin a bit warmer (and definitely avoid excessive idling in the garage)
  • use an engine block heater instead of a remote starter
  • make use of seat and steering wheel warmers (note that using these features will slightly lower fuel efficiency)

2. Adding weight to a car trunk guarantees you better traction

Another of the longstanding winter driving myths is that adding excess weight to the trunk of a car will automatically improve your road traction.

In theory, it seems to make sense. Just weigh down the back of a car or truck to improve a vehicle’s rear traction and limit any possible fishtailing or loss of control in deeper snow, on ice, or on wet roads.

Heavy sand bags (commonly around 40-75 pounds) seem to be the weight of choice for anyone doing this. I’ve also known people who weighed down their car trunks in the winter with cement bags and cinder blocks.

The fact is, this one is actually only a half-myth because there are benefits to adding weight to a vehicle’s rear, but only in very specific cases.

For front-wheel drive vehicles, significant added trunk weight only makes a car lose traction because you’re messing with its weight distribution. A lot of experts also don’t believe most all-wheel drive vehicles should have rear weight added as a way to improve traction.

So when is adding rear weight mostly okay? Only if your vehicle is rear-wheel drive. Having that extra weight close to the drive wheels is the key to making this whole idea work, so that should improve your traction.

There are other variables involved with this, including knowing how much weight to add to a rear-wheel-drive vehicle to even get the most benefit from it.

Of course, another important factor to consider is that all of that extra weight your vehicle is carrying will obviously affect its fuel consumption (not to mention the cargo space it takes up).

We say leave the sand bags in your garage or shed and stick with winter tires if you’re looking for better snow traction.

3. Winter tires are overrated and a waste of money

Since the 1930s when they first arrived, winter tires and their worthiness have been a divisive issue.

Lots of drivers think they’re not worth the money and swear by their all-season tires as a year-round tire solution. In truth, much of the blame has to go to tire manufacturers for using the “all-season” name, which is somewhat misleading.

Yes, you can technically use all-season tires on a vehicle year-round, but they’re certainly not your best tire option if you live anywhere that gets snow and sub-zero temperatures.

High-performance summer tires would also be better for your vehicle during the spring and summer, but again, those all-season tires do get the job done. A cynic might say that to a certain degree, all-season tires are a rather “jack of all trades, master of none” tire option.

The whole debate gets even more convoluted when all-weather tires are brought into the discussion. Not to be confused with all-season tires, higher quality all-weather tires deliver superior true year-round performance compared to all-season tires. Just be prepared to pay more for them and know that they have a shorter tread life.

Make no mistake about it, however – no other tire keeps your vehicle safer on slippery winter roads than a good set of winter tires. That holds true even if you have a vehicle with traction control or own an all-wheel/4-wheel drive vehicle.

The rubber compound and treads winter tires have is engineered to provide improved grip that helps you stop, steer, and accelerate better not just in snow, but in cold weather even when the roads are dry.

Testing has shown that compared to vehicles without winter tires, good winter tires can improve a vehicle’s ability to stop faster in winter conditions by up to 30-40%.

Do note that the extra grip winter tires provide means you will see a slight decline in your vehicle’s fuel economy. You also need to make sure you don’t leave them on your vehicle too long when the weather warms up in the spring, which can cause the treads to wear down faster.

winter driving myths, snow tire

4. Snow and ice only needs to be cleared off a vehicle’s windows

We’ve all seen those infuriating winter drivers who barely even bother to clear much of the piled-up snow from their car or truck before hitting the road.

It goes without saying that when a vehicle is covered in snow, only turning on your front windshield wipers in order to see where you’re driving (while ignoring your side windows and mirrors and rear windshield) is the height of irresponsibility.

A frustrating number of drivers also neglect to not just clear snow and ice from their windows, but the roof, hood, sides, and trunks of their vehicles.

Every year where you live, there’s assuredly at least one news story of a bad accident (or fatality) that was caused by flying ice or snow from another vehicle. You’ve no doubt experienced one or more scary moments with flying ice or snow while on the roads during the winter.

Take the time to brush and scrape off as much snow and ice from your vehicle’s exterior as possible for your own safety and out of consideration for your fellow drivers.

Depending on the laws in your area, you can be fined for driving with excess snow on your vehicle or be held liable for a collision caused by falling snow or ice from your vehicle. A Winnipeg man was fined over $200 for driving with an unsecured load because he had so much snow on his van’s roof.

If clearing the snow off your vehicles is getting tiresome, that’s a great reason to make space for parking inside your garage!

5. Deflating tires in winter improves vehicle traction

File this one under the category of common winter driving myths where common sense is clearly in short supply.

The rationale behind deflating your tires to get better traction in the winter is that lowering the psi in the tires will allow them to cover more of the road.

It’s fairly common knowledge that tire pressures need to be kept at a specific level, so we’re unsure why anybody would think that messing around with that would be a good idea. And especially when icy roads are involved.

This is something a lot of drivers believe, apparently. If you go to type in “will deflating tires help in snow” in Google, all you have to type in is “will defl” before the query is autocompleted.

Here’s why driving with underinflated tires is a bad idea:

  • your vehicle’s handling will be compromised
  • the tires will wear faster
  • it increases the chance of a tire blowout

Cold weather actually makes your tires lose air quicker than in warmer weather. Keep close tabs on them throughout the winter to ensure they’re inflated to the recommended psi.

6. Regularly washing a car during the winter isn’t worth it

winter driving myths dirty carThe supposed logic behind this forehead-slapping myth is that it’s pointless to regularly wash a dirty vehicle during the winter because it’ll only get filthy again right away. It’s believed by a surprising number of drivers who apparently still aren’t aware that salt and metal don’t get along with each other.

Road salt is one of the worst things for a vehicle’s body. The Washington Post reports that liquid salt brine, which is sprayed on winter roads in some areas, is even more damaging (they also advise you to “never drive behind a plow truck spreading salt and brine”). Caked-on sand that’s been used on roads can also do damage over time, as does all of that extra winter moisture sitting on your vehicle.

It’s generally recommended that vehicles get washed every couple of weeks when the weather is nice. If anything, you should definitely be increasing the frequency of your car washes during the winter.

A wash every week or week-and-a-half might be ideal when the roads are particularly messy. In addition to helping prevent rust, a regular winter wash just makes your vehicle look nicer. It also minimizes the likelihood of getting those ugly white salt stains on your clothing when you brush up against a dirty vehicle.

Along with regular washes, you can protect your vehicle’s exterior by giving it a wax twice a year. An occasional rust prevention and undercoating treatment for your vehicles could also be worth the expense if you live somewhere that gets a lot of snow.

7. You can mix winter tires with all-season tires

What’s with all the tire-related winter driving myths? Well, here’s another one we can dispel.

Mixing winter tires and all-season tires isn’t recommended (especially if a vehicle is all-wheel drive).

It’s not advisable to even mix tires that are the same type (where all four are all-season tires or all four are winter tires), much less mix tires that are constructed quite differently from each other, as all-season and winter tires are.

Having four tires of the same size, tread depth and design, load rating, construction material, and inflation pressure is critical to ensure a vehicle maintains its highest level of stability and control.

When you start mixing a pair of all-season tires with a pair of winter tires, things can get unpredictable when it comes to how a vehicle might handle.

Read any online auto forum on this topic and you’ll find some drivers who say that they’ve never had any issues from mixing tires on their vehicles. Thanks, but we’ll defer to the majority of tire experts and professionals who advise against this practice.

Stay safe on the roads this winter

Doing basically the opposite of what most of these common winter driving myths tell you to do will help to make the roads safer for you and other drivers this winter. And you can potentially cut down on your vehicle emissions and fuel costs as well.

Here’s one last myth related to winter and vehicles we can debunk: that getting a garage makeover during the winter isn’t possible.

The truth is that Garage Living can do garage makeovers year-round. In fact, there are even some advantages to getting a late fall or winter garage makeover.

There’s no better time to have an organized garage for parking vehicles in than when the weather is at its worst.

Schedule a free in-home design consultation with us to begin making your garage a beautiful, highly functional space you’ll appreciate coming home to after a stressful drive on the winter roads.

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7 of the Most Essential Home Features Buyers Look For

essential home features house exterior

Many homeowners like to keep up to date on the latest housing trends, even if they’re not planning to buy or sell a home anytime soon.

Aside from just general curiosity, staying informed about what’s hot and what’s not when it comes to our homes and the features they include can be beneficial.

Perhaps you’ll get some ideas and inspiration for updating a room or two in your home. Sometimes getting a wider perspective on what’s currently popular with other homeowners and homebuyers can give you a fresh perspective on whether areas of your own home are up to snuff.

And if you’re planning to make some home improvements, educating yourself about which renovation projects will provide the best return on investment is also smart.

Which essential home features do buyers prioritize?

We decided to take a look at some recent notable studies that found out which home features homebuyers prioritized most.

A couple of studies were done by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). They’re one of the United States’ largest trade associations, representing over 800 local and state organizations affiliated with the housing industry.

We also used the illuminating 2018 Homebuyer Preference Study from the Canadian Home Builders Association (CHBA). It surveyed over 3,000 buyers of newly constructed homes about the features that mattered most to them when making their buying decisions. 

Let’s break down (in no particular order) seven of the most essential home features for anyone looking to buy a house nowadays.

Laundry room

It might surprise you to learn that laundry rooms topped a few essential home features lists for buyers. And the appeal of laundry rooms spreads across generations.

The NAHB’s 2016 Housing Preferences of the Boomer Generation study found that Millennials, Generation X, and seniors named a dedicated laundry room as their most-wanted home feature. Baby boomers rated it their second-most important feature, behind home energy efficiency.

The following year, another NAHB study that looked at homebuyer trends also found that laundry rooms were a top priority among those surveyed.

Laundry rooms on a home’s main or upper floor were also coveted, as were laundry rooms that also incorporated a mudroom.

Garage storage

It wasn’t a surprise to learn that “ample storage space” ranked highly on any list of essential home features.

Homeowners and homebuyers can never get enough of it and the latter specifically wanted more of it in their garages, according to multiple NAHB studies.

Hundreds of realtors were polled for a Braun Research survey and they said the garage ranked higher as a desirable storage space for homebuyers than the basement or attic.

Homebuyers apparently recognize the value in maximizing a garage’s storage space in order to minimize clutter in the rest of their living space.

Simply having enough space in the garage for storage, parking vehicles, and extracurricular activities was also important to homebuyers. Two-car garages were named as another of the essential home features for buyers.

essential home features, man reaching into garage cabinets

Hardwood floors

Houses with wood flooring were viewed more favorably by those looking to buy a home. This is a trend that seemingly never goes out of fashion.

Most homebuyers are willing to pay more for wood floors because of its contemporary look, durability, and how easy it is to keep wood floors clean.

Authentic hardwood flooring was especially preferred over engineered wood flooring. Having hardwood on a home’s main floor was also specifically mentioned as an attractive feature to homebuyers.

Interestingly, younger buyers seem to favor wood flooring more than seniors, who prefer the coziness of carpeted floors.

Excellent energy efficiency

essential home features energy star logoA home with excellent energy efficiency is valued more than ever by homebuyers. Any home on the market with these energy efficient features stands out:

  • energy efficient smart appliances and fixtures
  • low flow toilets
  • energy efficient windows and doors
  • high efficiency HVAC systems

Solar-powered energy isn’t yet seen as an essential home feature for most buyers.

And while preservation of the planet was a consideration for those attracted to more eco-friendly homes, cutting down on their utility costs was a bigger motivating factor for buyers looking for energy efficient homes.

Open concept kitchen

Modern, open concept kitchen designs are seen as a selling strength for anyone who has their home on the market.

Buyers with growing families are particularly enamored by open concept kitchens because of their ability to function as a versatile space and a home’s social hub.

Kitchen islands that can provide extra storage space, an additional food preparation area, and an inclusive eating area are singled out as an open concept kitchen’s most desirable feature.

Stainless steel appliances, double kitchen sinks, a walk-in pantry, and granite, marble, or quartz countertops were also listed as features that homebuyers would love their kitchen to include.

Walk-in closet

A walk-in closet (also known as a “dressing room”) ranked #5 for first-time homebuyers and #3 for second-time (or more) buyers on the NAHB’s most recent essential home features report.

Canadians apparently love spacious closets even more, because walk-in closets topped the CHBA’s list of essential features for homebuyers.

That Braun Research survey finds that just about all (97%) of the 500 realtors that were polled believe homebuyers view the closet as the most desirable storage space in a house.

Based on this data, once can assume that a home without a larger wardrobe storage space featuring stylish décor is a home that many buyers will simply take a pass on.

essential home features walk-in closet

Master bathroom

Anything bathroom-related usually makes any essential home features list and we found master bathrooms to be highly prized by homebuyers.

A master bathroom may also be referred to as an “ensuite master bathroom” or simply “ensuite”. Whichever name you choose, it’s essentially defined as a bathroom that includes a bathtub, shower, and sink that’s accessible from the home’s largest bedroom.

Master bathrooms that feature a separate shower enclosure and freestanding tubs and vanities (preferably with two sinks) appear to be in vogue nowadays.

Make better use of your garage for home storage

This list of essential home features gives you a good idea of what today’s buyers value most when looking for a house.

Are you getting the most out of your garage as a home storage space? Could it use a few modern touches and better storage systems that can make it look nicer and be a lot more functional?

Garage Living specializes in helping homeowners maximize their garage’s storage capabilities and design potential.

Schedule a free in-home design consultation with us to learn more about transforming your garage into a beautiful space any homebuyer would be impressed by.

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7 Amazing 2019 Luxury Vehicles We’d Love to Park in Our Garage

There’s no shortage of incredible 2019 luxury vehicles currently available or arriving soon.

Let’s take a look at just a few of the newest and finest luxury vehicles that we’d love to have parked in our garage. Prices are in U.S. dollars with Canadian prices (CAD) in parentheses.

Lexus LC

Consumer Reports magazine rated the Lexus LC as one of the most reliable vehicles in their “Sports Cars Over $40,000” category. Lexus also ranked as the #1 auto brand in overall reliability based on the magazine’s testing.

The rear-wheel drive LC coupe, which Motor Trend magazine called “arguably the most desirable Lexus yet”, is available in both a 471 hp model and a 354 hp hybrid model.

Starting from: $92,000 ($102,000 CAD)

2019 luxury vehicles Lexus LC

Lamborghini Urus

25 years after Lamborghini produced the last of their short-lived LM002 SUV model, they re-enter the crowded SUV market with the impressive Urus.

“The world’s first super sport utility vehicle” may not look as imposing as Lamborghini’s Huracán or Aventador models, but it’s definitely no slouch in the power department. The Urus’ redesigned V8 bi-turbo engine has a maximum power output of 650 hp.

Starting from: $200,000 ($232,000 CAD)

2019 luxury vehicles Lamborghini Urus

Audi A8

Audi’s flagship A8 sedan gets significantly revamped for its fourth generation. In addition to a redesigned exterior, new driving features include an automatic braking system and the ability to remotely pull the A8 in and out of your garage.

The car’s interior certainly isn’t lacking when it comes to having the latest high-tech features, either. Naturally, the A8 includes the newest infotainment technology. Other new luxury features include rear massaging seats with heated massaging footrests and a center console and arm rests that are also heated.

Starting from: $86,000 ($97,000 CAD)

2019 luxury vehicles Audi A8

Porsche 2019 Cayenne Turbo

Autowise.com include Porsche’s redesigned Cayenne Turbo on its “10 Expensive SUVs Worth Their Price Tag” list.

The sporty SUV provides the ideal combination of ample cargo space, high-end infotainment features, and pure, raw power with its twin-turbo V8 engine that can produce up to 541 hp.

Starting from: $124,000 ($140,000 CAD)

2019 luxury vehicles Porsche Cayenne Turbo

Tesla Model S

Introduced six years ago, Tesla’s Model S is currently in its third generation. The second half of 2019 will bring a major overhaul to the interior of Tesla’s flagship electric car. U.S. News & World Report ranked the 2018 Model S as their #1 luxury large car.

It can take several months to actually get a Model S after ordering and it’s not difficult to see why. It has the longest electric range of any car on the road (up to 335 miles/539 kilometers) and the most powerful model boasts a 0-60 mph time of just 2.5 seconds.

Starting from: $76,000 ($95,000 CAD)

2019 luxury vehicles tesla model s

BMW 8 Series

The 8 Series returns after a 20 year absence and takes the reins as BMW’s flagship vehicle. For buyers considering comparable 2019 luxury vehicles like the Lexus LC 500, Audi R8, or Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe, the revived 8 Series gives them another attractive option.

The car launches in coupe form with a twin-turbo 523 hp engine. Some options include upgrading to a carbon fiber roof and the ability to upgrade the standard 16 speaker Harman Kardon sound system to a premium Bowers & Wilkins sound system. 2019 will see additional four-door and convertible 8 Series models released.

Starting from: $112,000 ($123,000 CAD)

2019 luxury vehicles BMW 8 Series

Bentley Continental GT

The sporty Continental GT gets a thorough redesign for its third generation model from the British automaker, which celebrates its 100th anniversary next year.

Significantly lighter with a new aluminum body and improved fuel economy, the Continental GT features a wealth of custom interior options. Bentley claims the vehicle can hit a top speed of 207 mph. 

Starting from: $220,000 ($285,000 CAD)

2019 luxury vehicles Bentley Continental GT

Park your luxury vehicle in the luxury garage it deserves

We’d love to park any of these incredible 2019 luxury vehicles in our garage.

A high-performance luxury vehicle deserves to be parked in a beautiful garage with equally high standards when it comes to looks and performance.

2019 luxury vehicles, black Lamborghini parked in garage

Garage Living specializes in luxury garage designs that provide a fitting home for parking the finest luxury vehicles available on the market today.

Schedule your free in-home design consultation with us to create the perfect space in which to store your luxury vehicles.

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