How To Plan Your Dream Garage

Guest Blog By: Karl Kennedy

Many people don’t consider their garage high on their priority list when considering their home’s resale value, but with the proper planning, legal observation and cost considerations, you can have an ideal addition to your house that improves the quality of life for you — and your car. 

Before you get started on your dream garage, consider these details: 

Will you need a building permit? 

Most likely, you will. All you need to do is visit your local government’s building department to find out exactly what is required of you before you begin construction, and what building codes you will need to obey. There may be codes and local laws that could forbid you from achieving your garage goals. 

If you are going to need electric power and plumbing, you’ll definitely need to check with your building codes first. If you are using the garage for a workshop or auto repair, you most likely may need power outlets and a sink by law. Proper ventilation too. While you’re at it, you may want to install a bathroom, which includes a washup sink and a shower stall. 

Will you need a contractor? 

Most people do not have the skills to construct a dream garage. If you are one of these people, you will need to find a high-quality, reliable contractor. They are definitely out there, but they are often hard to find. Ask your friends, family, or your local real estate expert for strong recommendations, or go to sites like Yelp, Home Advisor and Angie’s List to find the best contractors in your area. 

Attached or detached? 

A detached garage can be cool, and can also keep fumes, storage and mess away from your main house. However, constructing an attached garage can get expensive, especially when considering the roofing and related budget concerns. 

Not too big and not too small. 

You want to think like Goldilocks — your garage size should be “just right.” You want your garage to be in proportion to your house and your exterior. An oversized garage may look awkward or overwhelming.  However, a garage that’s too small may not accommodate your vehicle, tools, or storage. 

Should you consider climate control? 

Most people just take it for granted that a garage is going to be cold in the winter and hot and humid in the summer. Consider the size of your space and then investigate a space heater or window-unit air conditioner that may increase your comfort during extreme temperatures. As a result, reduced humidity in the summer may help preserve your tools and storage, and a heating unit may help you work longer and more comfortably during the winter. 

Should you just go with a simple carport? 

On The Brady Bunch, the family had a carport and they did just fine. They were able to use it for parked cars, storage and dance practice. A carport, while not enclosed by four walls, may provide quality protection from the weather and a variety of storage options. 

Bottom line: 

Building a dream garage can add great resale value to your house, and create ideal space for work, storage and your car’s protection. Before you begin your process, check with your local building department to make sure you are following the local laws and codes, and plan your new space according to the practical, cost-effective considerations. 

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