7 Things the Builder forgot to put in Your Garage...

By
Real Estate Agent with Century 21 Results Realty

Even the best new construction garages I've found are lacking... but one day a builder will come along and turn out a proper garage.  In the mean time... until builders start coinsulting me about these things... here is a list of things that you should be ready to correct. 

  • Electrical outlets - Three is not enough.  For some reason, many builders seem to want to put one outlet on each wall.  That isn't enough for ANYONE that is going to do anything in the garage.  For a two car garage, seven 110V outlets would be better (two on each side wall and three on the back wall).  Add one more for a three bay garage, and three more for a four bay garage (all on the back wall).  If you really want to amp it up, add one more above each bay for a cord reel and drop-light. 
  • 240V outlets - The number is three... two would be ok, but three would be better.  Welder, air compressor, plasma cutter, wood-working equipment.  Actually, for a wood-worker, three would be a minimum. 
  • Cabinetry - Nice garage cabinetry would set one builder apart from EVERYONE else.  The cost would be a couple thousand dollars, tops... but it would make a significant impact on the presentation of the property.  Even if it were just displayed in the models and offered as an option, it would help the builder stand out. 
  • Lighting - How many times do I have to say that a 60 watt bulb (or a 18W CFL, which is WAY inadequate) over each bay is NOT lighting?  It doesn't take that much to change that over to a few 4' shop lights.  Again, it would really set a property apart. 
  • A sink - Either have a mud room just inside from the garage (tile floor, please) or a laundry style sink in the garage.  It is indispensible for a clean-up before entering the house.  Not only will the car guy appreciate it, but the wife of the car guy will appreciate it.  The plant enthusiast will appreciate it, too.  in fact, anyone that cleans up after someone that gets really dirty will appreciate them being able to knock off a layer before the touch anything inside. 

Now, if we are dreaming... 

  • HVAC - The garage needs a dedicated system.  We don't want to send welding smells or gas or anything else into the house.  We also want to be able to easily turn it off or have a different temperature from the house. 
  • Compressed Air Lines - One of the absolutely essential tools for a car person is an air compressor.  And the air gets used all over the shop.  Dragging hoses everywhere is annoying... but having a nearby air oultet is wonderful.  We add them...  It would be nice to have the plumber put copper air lines in the wall before the sheetrock goes up... 

As the garage gets bigger, some of these get more important, others get less important.  And of course, the demographics can have a lot ot do with it.  Detached garages need more equipment than attached garages. 

If you are a builder around Gwinnett County... call me.  We'll talk.  If you are a buyer around Gwinnett County, GA, and you are a car person, call me... I know what you are looking for.

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Topic:
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Realtors®
Car Buffs
Almost Anything Goes
Cars and more Cars
Celebrating Free Enterprise
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Rainmaker
222,058
Jirius Isaac
Isaac Real Estate &TriStar Mortgage - Kenmore, WA
Real Estate & loans in Kenmore, WA

Now you are just dreaming.  But it would be nice.

Apr 05, 2010 05:37 AM #18
Rainmaker
1,004,738
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

Lane:  No... the Audi was just fine.  I wanted to be reasonable... rather than not.  I didn't want to overdo it.  By the way... over the weekend... one great thing about Easter time... and being "older" and forgetful.  Ya get to hide your own Easter eggs.  Have a great week.

Apr 05, 2010 05:37 AM #19
Rainmaker
222,058
Jirius Isaac
Isaac Real Estate &TriStar Mortgage - Kenmore, WA
Real Estate & loans in Kenmore, WA

Now you are just dreaming.  But it would be nice.

Apr 05, 2010 05:37 AM #20
Rainmaker
222,058
Jirius Isaac
Isaac Real Estate &TriStar Mortgage - Kenmore, WA
Real Estate & loans in Kenmore, WA

Now you are just dreaming.  But it would be nice.

Apr 05, 2010 05:38 AM #21
Rainmaker
1,004,738
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

@ Gary in # 17:  Buyers will typically be asked to pay at least half up front for options the builder does not normally put in a home.  They think it is prudent to do that, and I think so too... because if the options requested are not things the builder normally puts in the home, and the buyer does not go through with the purchase... then the builder is more or less stuck with installed items that the next buyer will probably not think are worth the cost... so the builder ends up eating it.

Apr 05, 2010 05:40 AM #22
Rainer
167,011
Tamara Perlman
Referral Network Inc. - Truckee, CA

Lane, Oooooh!  I like your garage ideas.  Hmmm, next construction project, I'm going to incorporate several of those!  In my last build, we did the overhead lighting, lots of electrical outlets (but no 220/240)  The layout (because of considerations for downsloping lot and creek setbacks) did not accomodate a laundry/utility room from garage to house, but that is definitely on my list for next project.  We did rolling utility racks and a 20' workbench instead of built-in cabs, but I'm pretty sure next time, we'll incorporate cabinets too.

If you have any other brilliant garage ideas, let the rest of us know!

Apr 05, 2010 07:14 AM #23
Rainer
167,011
Tamara Perlman
Referral Network Inc. - Truckee, CA

Also would love your take on epoxy for the floors.  Or do you have some other solution?

Apr 05, 2010 07:15 AM #24
Ambassador
890,930
Lane Bailey
Century 21 Results Realty - Suwanee, GA
Realtor & Car Guy

Gary - They will do much if asked, but the cost for a one-off is WAY more... especially if they aren't done before all the sheetrock is up. 

Karen - Audi Quatro Sport S2... EVO...  Then we'd be talking. 

Tamara - I have a little more here.  Epoxied floors are great, but they aren't without their own issues.  I'd love to epoxy mine, but I think I have a little moisture coming up through the slab.  I also do some welding... and it won't stand up to the slag.  If I was doing new construction, I'd probably go with an acid wash.  As it is, I think I might go for a polish when I get the Jeep out of there... in 5 or 6 years.

Apr 05, 2010 07:30 AM #25
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Lee & Pamela St. Peter
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices YSU Realty: (919) 645-2522 - Raleigh, NC
Making Connections to Success in Real Estate

Lane, remember a designated plug for that freezer too!!! I know that's probably more of a girl thing...  Lee had our garage floors epoxied 5 years ago when we bought and we love it!  He actually just did a superb clean out in his "cave" on Saturday and washed the floors - they SHINE!  Then he didn't want me to put the car in...  ????

Apr 05, 2010 07:59 AM #26
Rainer
167,011
Tamara Perlman
Referral Network Inc. - Truckee, CA

Thanks Lane--I think the issues you mention with epoxy wouldn't be an issue in my garage, except in the winter when my daughter has studded snow tires...  maybe I'll wait 'til she heads off to college... or gets a 4x4!

And thanks for the link.

Apr 05, 2010 08:00 AM #27
Rainer
30,489
Angela Penkin
RE/MAX Plus - Rochester, NY

Thanks Lane

Too funny - we have a 3 bay garage, built in 1985. My husband has added almost everything you mentioned! When he insulated the ceiling he built a scaffold apparatus that he could lay a sheet of drywall on, lift it up - hold it against the ceiling joists so he could screw them in. We don't have the sink - but we have one right in the laundry room. The other thing we did is design our home so the basement stairs are exactly opposite the door from the garage into the house - and made the stairs wider too. He is a welder fabricator and we have a complete wood shop too. His air compressor is the size of a hot water tank - but he drags the hose around - or fills a small tank that he can carry around.

Apr 05, 2010 08:18 AM #28
Anonymous
Sue Follansbee, Exit Twin Advantage Realty

Love the dream garage!  As the mother of a total car guy I would LOVE to have had a sink in the garage for washing up before greasy handprints make it into the house. And so true about lighting, the light that comes with the garage door opener somehow doesn't quite cut it. Epoxy floors are wonderful, did not know about the acid wash option?  What is that?

Logically your ideas make total sense, which is why of course they will never be "standard". 

Apr 05, 2010 08:58 AM #29
Rainmaker
318,971
Tamara Inzunza
RE/MAX Executives - Alexandria, VA
Close-In Alexandria and Arlington Living

You wouldn't believe how many buyers think that a garage door opener with a remote is STANDARD, and how disappointed they are when I have to tell them that it's not included.  Now THAT'S a small thing to add that will go a long way!

Apr 05, 2010 03:15 PM #30
Rainer
371,652
Edward D. Nikles
Ed Nikles Custom Builder , Inc. / Nikles Realty , Inc. - Milford, PA

Lane , great ideas to offer as an option , if the customer is willing to pay for them & if I can get the added costs to still Appraise ! As a Builder & RE Broker/Appraiser , I would like to challenge the Realtors to guesstimate how much more they could sell the hypothetical home for with such features and how much quicker , at that higher price . If that number exceeded the cost to put in such items , as standard , then of course it makes economic sense to do it as long , as it would Appraise at that number . Unfortunately , it is rare feature that creates more value than it costs , especially in today's market . As a Custom Builder , I'll build anything the customer wants , as long as they're willing to pay for it .  As a Real Estate Broker , I can point out different features & benefits that may be important to them (but may be of little or no value to others ), & as an Appraiser , I appreciate well thought out options , but generally give them little value relative to the cost to install them . That's why I don't actively do Appraisals anymore , as I find it extremely frustrating knowing that the cost of building doesn't directly relate to the value given for Appraisal purposes . It would make a great roundtable discussion with Realtors , Builders & Appraisers to find the best combination of cost vs. value for a given price range . Keepin' it Green !

Apr 06, 2010 07:45 AM #31
Rainmaker
279,013
Don Eichler
Eichler Properties - Granbury, TX

Lane I like your list of items for the car guys garage.  I have a good friend that just completed his new garage the only thing that is not there yet are the piped air lines and what is good about this garage 50 x 60 feet is that he let me have a key and a spot to work on my own cars. It is better than owning one.

Apr 06, 2010 11:41 AM #32
Rainer
20,173
John Neibich
Home Savings of America - Prescott, AZ

In floor radiant heating? You can heat (and cool) the concrete floors thru the whole house, and garage, on one system. Try coming from an Iowan warm winter day, think 15 -20 degrees, and close the garage up, get ready to work under your project car, and have the floor be 72 degrees.

But once again, you need to have the radiant in floor system in first. Works better than retrofits.

Apr 07, 2010 10:26 AM #33
Rainmaker
242,038
Roger Johnson
Hickory Real Estate Group - Hickory, NC
Realtor - Hickory NC Real Estate

All are great points.  I especially think they need more outlets and better lighting.

Apr 08, 2010 01:55 AM #34
Ambassador
2,479,527
Steve Hoffacker
Steve Hoffacker LLC - West Palm Beach, FL
Certified Aging In Place Specialist-Instructor

Lane,

Great ideas. One addition - a floor drain. Don't see many garages with them. Usually just have to hose it down and sweep out the door. :)

Steve

Apr 10, 2010 02:17 AM #35
Rainmaker
273,570
Wayne B. Pruner
Oregon First - Tigard, OR
Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI

Your list is valid. My pet peeve is that the garage never gets painted, unless you pay extra. Twenty years later, the walls are yellow and the tape is falling off.

May 19, 2010 05:07 PM #36
Ambassador
890,930
Lane Bailey
Century 21 Results Realty - Suwanee, GA
Realtor & Car Guy

Thank you all. 

Steve - Here in the warmer climates, it isn't so bad... but up north, I knew a few people with drains so that they could wash their cars.  But, there is a worry about garage chemicals, too...

Jul 17, 2010 02:11 PM #37
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