We all need a space to get away. Some Moms would love to retreat into a spa tub and kids love to play in a dedicated playroom. But for Dads, sometimes, the only place they can retreat to is the garage or if they are lucky, a man cave. However, when it comes time to sell, do these spaces help sell or detract from the home? We tend to think a garage is meant to hold all the stuff you don’t have room for. However, when it comes to selling a home, this space still needs to look good. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
A garage tends to be a dumping ground to store things like bikes, lawn equipment, tools, outdoor gear etc plus the car. However, when you are getting ready to sell, a garage is still part of the property. It should not be used to store excess stuff you removed from the rest of the house. Any tools should be neatly hung up. Any boxes should be stored on a shelf and not on the floor. If you have cabinets, use them to store smaller garage items.
A garage is normally viewed by some buyers as a must have item. And while most people use it to park their vehicle, you should not turn a blind eye to the look of your garage. If buyers notice that you packed the garage with boxes, furniture and toys, they will immediately think about all the stuff they have and wonder if their items will fit in your house. Don’t tempt them. If you have excess items, put them in an off-site storage unit until the house sells. You probably won’t need most of the stuff anyway for the next few months until you move. A garage will help sell the property but only if it is neatly organized, swept and clutter free.
Some homeowners may turn their garage into a man cave with a TV, couch, and other items. They may even go so far as to put on an epoxy coat on the garage floor to give it some shine or add tiles. You can certainly do that when you are living there, but don’t feel you have to do that to help sell the house. Most garage floors will have some sort of stains on it. As long as it doesn’t have active wet oil stains from your vehicle, sweeping the floor is all you need to do. However, if you happen to have a million dollar home and the garage is the showroom for your 10 Maserati’s like Jay Leno then, yes, I would expect the garage floor to be epoxied and spotless. For the rest of us, just make sure the garage floor is swept clean when selling your home.
If you have turned your garage into a man cave, I would highly recommend turning it back into a garage (if it can be easily done). Remove the furniture, ping pong table and TV to show that yes, you can fit a vehicle in the space as intended. If you walled off a section of the old garage, then it may not be beneficial to do this. However, if you walled off part of the garage without getting a permit for the work, you may find you have to tear it down anyway because it is not to code. When buyers hear that something is not to code, they may turn and run the other way.
Again, since we are talking about a garage, you may find fluorescent lights above a tool bench area. That is perfectly fine. I would not go out of my way to add any recessed lights. However, make sure all the lights work and the light bulbs are replaced. Nothing annoys a buyer more when they can’t turn on the lights. Buyers will think, if you can’t make a simple light work, what else has the homeowner not maintained?
Garage doors are one more item to keep in mind when selling a home. If they are old and tend to bind a bit when you close them, you might want to consider replacing them. Curb appeal is the first thing buyers see when they pull up to a home. If the garage doors need paint or are falling apart, replacing them will yield a high return on investment.
While you may think of it as just a garage, be aware of what you put in it. Make sure it looks presentable. Keep clutter in check, make sure the floors are clean, replace any burnt out light bulbs and make sure those garage doors are consistent with your curb appeal.