If you paused to really consider your garage’s value to your house, you might just be shocked at how valuable a garage space really is.
When your garage is filled with clutter, however, you’re really squandering an opportunity to maximize the garage value of your home.
For homes with a higher price tag (such as in Vancouver and Toronto, two of North America’s hottest housing markets), the negative financial impact of garage clutter becomes even more pronounced.
While many of the following figures are taken from the Canadian real estate market, the basic theory of this post can apply in any housing market.
Simply put, you’re just not maximizing your home’s value if your garage isn’t being properly utilized.
High housing prices emphasize the importance of garage value
In June, the average price of a house in Canada was $504,458. That number gets skewed slightly because of the record-breaking prices of homes in recent times in both the Toronto and Vancouver markets.
Those markets have begun to cool off in recent months, partially due to measures (like a foreign buyers tax) brought in by the Ontario and B.C. governments to stabilize the markets.
Even still, the current average price of a home in Toronto is $746,218 (including houses and condos). When you look specifically at Toronto’s average detached house price, that number jumps all the way up to $1.39 million.
In Vancouver, the numbers are even more inflated. The average home price (including houses and condos) currently stands at just over a million dollars. The price of a detached house in Vancouver? That’ll cost you an average of $1.61 million.
It shouldn’t matter if your house costs well over a million dollars or is more modestly priced. Getting the most garage value (and overall value, frankly) out of every square foot of your sizeable investment should be something homeowners take time to consider.
What’s included in a home’s square footage calculation?
Determining a house’s square footage can vary based on location. In Ontario, real estate listings only factor in a house’s above ground living space when determining its square footage.
Take, for example, a two-storey detached home with the following dimensions:
- the first floor is 1,300 sq ft
- the second floor is 1,100 sq ft
- the basement is 900 sq ft
- the two-car garage is 600 sq ft
The house would be listed as having 2,400 sq ft, a finished/unfinished basement, and a two-car/double garage.
Note that the minimum recommended size for a two-car garage is 20′ x 20′ (400 sq ft). Somewhere in the 24′ x 24′ range (around 600 sq ft) would be more ideal and allow for easier vehicle access and additions like garage cabinetry.
Determining your home’s garage value
Using the above figures, the actual total square footage of the house would be 3,900 sq ft when all measurements are factored in.
The 600 sq ft garage would therefore account for 15% of the overall square footage of the home. That’s clearly a pretty substantial portion of your home’s total size.
That percentage also falls in line with a recent study that estimated an “oversized garage” (which we’ll take to mean a two-car garage or larger) had a 14% effect on a home’s selling price.
Start doing the math by using current average real estate prices and the actual worth of your garage, relative to your house, becomes eye-opening:
- 15% of $504,458 (the average Canadian house price) = $75,668
- 15% of $1.39 million (the average Toronto detached home price) = $208,500
- 15% of $1.61 million (Vancouver’s average detached home price) = $241,500
How much more important does your garage value seem when you see its potential worth singled out? Even for a relatively inexpensive home valued at, say, $350,000, that 15% portion works out to just over $50,000. Also remember that the space your garage occupies accounts for part of your property taxes.
How garage clutter and disorganization impacts your garage value
UCLA researchers did an in-depth study of 32 Los Angeles-area families and found that 75% of them didn’t use their garages for parking, mostly due to clutter.
Another study from the U.S. Department of Energy found that 25% of homeowners with a two-car garage didn’t park in them at all. 32% only parked one car. The biggest reason? Clutter in the garage.
Those are just two samplings, but chances are you or more than a few people you know don’t use your garage to park your vehicles due to clutter.
Most clutter is made up of unnecessary junk. So why let it take up valuable space (quite literally) in your garage, especially in high value housing markets?
Think of the ways you could be getting more garage value out of your home by clearing out that clutter:
- parking in the garage protects your investment in your vehicles (the average price of a new vehicle in Canada is $38,000 and $35,000 in the U.S.)
- by using the garage as a workshop
- making better use of your garage’s storage space and keeping it organized with storage systems like slatwall panels so it’s easier to find tools and other items
Garage value impacts curb appeal and home resale value
Your biggest motivation for clearing out garage clutter should be to make your space more functional and valuable.
Making improvements to the interior of your garage also improves your home’s aesthetics. Exterior upgrades (such as the high return on investment with a new garage door) also boosts your home’s curb appeal.
When it comes time to sell your home, a finished, clutter-free garage that has an appealing exterior look will be an asset. The first opinion of your home, as seen by a potential buyer, is heavily influenced by the look of your garage.
Maximize your garage value with the right improvements
Your house represents a substantial investment and you deserve to be getting the most out of what you’ve paid for. Start maximizing the garage value of your home by using this space for more than just storing clutter.
We’ve transformed thousands of garage spaces to help our clients get more value out of their garages and we can help you, too. To get the process started, all you have to do is schedule your free design consultation.