Do Garages Add Value on Home Appraisals?

Garages can amount to more than just a place to park the car.

Garages can amount to more than just a place to park the car.

If you are trying to increase the value of your home and make it more attractive when it goes up for sale, a simple addition may be the answer. Home appraisals are professionally assessed reviews that help to gauge the market value of your home. A garage can be built on the land around your home without great expense or long-term commitments, and it can have a definite impact on your next property appraisal.

Square Footage

Additional square footage of any kind leads to an automatic rise in appraisal value. Building either an attached or detached garage puts the square footage of the addition within the overall property floor plan of your home. Since most appraisals value property by the square foot, a garage is a positive addition. If you plan to add a garage to the existing structure, use a design that matches the rest of the home so that it blends in well. Freestanding garages can be a little less uniform if so desired. Consider installing doors that swing open rather than a traditional overhead garage door so the garage can be used as a separate entrance easily, or even converted to another room in the future.

Area Standards

If you live in a neighborhood or development where most houses have a garage and yours does not, the lack of one can be negative on your home appraisal. The houses in the surrounding area are taken into account when a professional appraisal is performed, so anything that places your home beneath the rest as far as features go can result in a reduction in value. The same standard applies to a home that has a one-car garage when all those around it have two- or three-car garages. In comparison, the home with less to offer will suffer.

Garages in Disrepair

A garage that is in less than perfect condition may impact the price of a house negatively. If your house is is perfect condition and you have a freestanding garage that is lacking upkeep, you have two main choices: leave it standing or tear it down. If you tear it down, the eyesore is gone but there is no garage to list as a feature. If you leave it standing, the new owner may be able to avoid obtaining new permits to rebuild the garage as desired, depending on local ordinances. According to real estate professionals, a garage that is not up to par, whether attached or unattached, will most often reduce the value of the property and the price for which it sells.

Computerized Appraisals

The type of appraisal you have done will also determine the value of your home and your garage. Computerized automatic appraisals were developed to counter the practice of embellishment and to return to a more reality-based appraisal system after the housing boom of the late 1990s and early 2000s. If your home is being reviewed by a "robo-appraisal" system, many of the variables considered by a human appraiser will be overlooked and the value of your home may be altered accordingly. For example, the system will factor in the presence or the absence of a garage, but will not consider its condition, its placement, the materials from which it is built, or any cosmetic factors at all. In the end, your newly constructed garage may be valued at the same price as your neighbor's collapsing relic.

About the Author

Robert Morello has an extensive travel, marketing and business background. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Columbia University in 2002 and has worked in travel as a guide, corporate senior marketing and product manager and travel consultant/expert. Morello is a professional writer and adjunct professor of travel and tourism.

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