Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Garage

One of the most over looked, under appreciated and over used areas under our roofs is the garage and it’s no wonder. Garages are either too cold in the winter or too hot in the summer. They are dark and cluttered with all manor of junk. Garages have spiders on the walls, cobwebs on the ceilings, oil and transmission fluid on the floor, sharp instruments and half-filled liquid containers of various substances crowded around large vehicles, boats, and other motorized machinery. A garage can also be a temporary home to many critters. While showing this usually unsightly home appendage I have been surprised by snarling dogs, scampering mice, and once stepped on a rather large slithering pet reptile.

Most garages are the largest room under roof but never get the respect that its size should warrant. Listing agents, when describing a home, will write a novel about the kitchen and its features but never mention anything about the garage. When was the last time you saw interior pictures or a virtual tours of a garage on-line?

Many sellers, prior to putting their home on the market, will pack up boxes and otherwise declutter their homes to appear more spacious. So… where do all the boxes and decluttering end up? Right, the garage, along with everything else that doesn’t deserve a more preferred placement.

When previewing homes with clients, my last stop is reluctantly showing the garage. If at all possible I try to avoid opening a stranger’s interior garage door for fear that something will jump or craw out of the darkness. I have developed the “point and switch” technique for effective avoidance. This is how it works: When I have clients engaged in more interesting features of the home, I only point at the garage door hoping that will satisfy my buyer’s exploratory curiosity. Smiling and pointing, “Oh here is the garage door.” Then pointing in the opposite direction. “Now are those kitchen cabinets cherry or maple?” If that avoidance technique doesn’t work and my clients still want to preview the garage I imagine myself as Harrison Ford, entering the Temple of Doom in Raiders of the Lost Ark, gently cracking open the garage door, peeking inside to discover what treasure awaits.

Finding the correct light switch is the first garage hazard. Keeping my clients at a safe distance, I will slowly open the garage door just enough to prevent whatever is in there from getting out and reach my arm through the opening in an attempt to locate the light switch. Then feeling blindly over and under hanging clothing, brooms, behind water-heaters and washing machines I might be fortunate enough to find the correct switch. Not all switches are for the garage lights. In addition to switching on lights, I have inadvertency energized stereo equipment, exterior lights, hot tub jets, and once a whole-house generator.

Homebuyers can be divided into two groups, those who think that the garage is important and those who think it is only a place to park something with wheels. Most women don’t spend a lot of time looking at the features in a garage. It’s a guy thing. But when I am working with a client who appreciates a nice garage and we find one completely finished with 220 outlets, a workbench, cabinets, shop lights, a window, a sub electrical panel, storage racks and maybe a shop sink, wow! I know I have made a sale.

Many sellers, when preparing their home for sale, will forget about the garage. Their landscaping may be meticulous, the home appears to be decorated by Martha Stewart, the aroma of fresh flowers fills the air and while the buyers are drooling, I open the garage door only to discover a liter-box, smelling trash cans and oil stains on the floor.

Most of us make a career out of collecting things. That’s okay until one day we decide to sell our home and think that we might want potential buyers focusing on it, rather than our collectables. We box up all our precious treasures and stack them in the garage along with all the garage collectables. Here’s a better solution. Rent a storage facility. Don’t move all the stuff to a neighbor or another family member, rent space in a mini-storage.

Most garages are in such cluttered condition that when we find a really nice one it makes an impression. “Oh you remember dear, the one with such a nice garage.” Some sellers will spend thousands of remodeling dollars and never think of spending a few bucks to paint and clean the garage. This spring is a good time to show some respect for that unappreciated portion of your house and please leave a light on.


Post a Comment

<< Home