Buyers and SellersVerraTerra

Should I buy a house without a garage if I plan to sell it in the future?

So, you want to invest in a home, live there for a time, and eventually, sell it. This means considering more features than just finding the home of YOUR dreams. For this type of purchase, you need to consider what amenities future buyers are most likely to appreciate, so you can get the best return on your real estate investment. 

In this post, we are using a garage and homes in the Seattle area as an example. Does not having a garage devalue your house? Let’s explore some facts.

Garage or no garage?

cherry tree in a neighborhood

In the Seattle area, a home with a garage is going to increase the appeal for most potential buyers. Will a garage increase the future value of the home? 

That will generally depend on the neighborhood.  

An in-house analysis of garage vs. no garage homes did show a distinct increase in value for having a garage. That being said, not every buyer will consider a home without a garage as a deal-breaker. On the other hand, it’s not likely a buyer will object to a house that has a garage and meets their needs. Having a garage will nearly always help you sell more quickly and likely at a higher value than a home without one.

The bottom line, buying a home with a garage won’t hurt your investment plans (unless it’s a mess and falling down!) and will likely help you sell with a higher future value.

Another perspective is to consider the norm for the general area. If you’re looking at a house in Queen Anne or Ballard, a garage is going to increase your value and appeal since a significant percentage of homes in those neighborhoods there don’t have one. Parking in downtown Seattle is scarce already.  

If you’re looking in areas where most houses have garages and yours doesn’t, it’s going to negatively impact your home value and appeal. Your home would be the odd one out. 

What do the numbers say?

Here are some real estate stats for the Seattle area comparing home sales with garages/covered parking to home sales without. 

For single-family homes in Lake Forest Park:

  • 2019 – 179 total sales – 10 had no covered parking or 5.6%
  • 2018 – 216 total sales – 15 had no covered parking or 6.9%
  • 2017 – 201 total sales – 16 had no covered parking or 8.0% 

Conclusion? In Lake Forest Park, not having a garage is the exception. If you are considering a real estate investment here, you’d be better off choosing a house with a garage.

For the Ballard / Greenlake general area:

  • 2019 – 2128 total sales – 683 had no covered parking or 32.1%
  • 2018 – 1824 total sales – 497 had no covered parking or 27.2%  
  • 2017 – 2121 total sales – 612 had no covered parking or 28.9%  

The data shows that in these neighborhoods, it’s more common to have a garage, but one-third of all the sales had no covered parking so…it wouldn’t be AS unusual.

We looked at predominantly suburban area Bothell/Woodinville to see if the data in Lake Forest Park was an anomaly. 

Here’s what the LFP data showed:

  • 2019 – 269 total sales – 19 had no covered parking or 7.1%
  • 2018 – 215 total sales – 11 had no covered parking or 5.1%  
  • 2017 – 220 total sales – 9 had no covered parking or 4.1%

This suburban area has a much greater percentage of home with garages. This makes sense, as most homeowners here are typically commuters and there tends to be more space to allow for a garage.

Summary

Buying a home with the intent to sell, means you need to consider more than what you and your family are looking for. To ensure you can sell quickly and for maximum return on your real estate investment, you should research which features and amenities are considered normal for the neighborhood. In this example, we determined that for most Seattle area homes, having a garage is most desirable. 

No matter where you are investing, consider what is most common for that area. Garages, air-conditioning, number of bathrooms and bedrooms, lot size, swimming pools, square footage are a few examples of things you should consider before your real estate investment.

Ask your real estate agent to help you make an informed choice about a particular home. VerraTerra is a full service, flat fee real estate broker serving the greater Seattle area.

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