What about the garage? | nnbw.com

What about the garage?

Sean and Aimee McDonald

Home sellers traditionally dedicate a substantial amount of time and attention to readying their homes for the market; however, some mistakenly omit the garage. Often overlooked for many prospective home buyers, a garage may influence their decision to purchase a home. Yet, as a consequence of seller's home preparations, the garage may inadvertently become a refuge for clutter. Sellers shouldn't forget, home buyers will not only expect the purposeful use of space afforded inside the home, but they'll also expect the same of the garage. First impressions are important; for these reasons, a garage's appearance must be included in a seller's preparatory efforts.

Just as sellers may have thoroughly addressed the interior spaces of their home, they'll also need to focus on enhancing the cleanliness and functionality of their garage. The process of decluttering and cleaning is crucial in transforming a garage's appearance, but also presents an opportunity to address items long since forgotten.

The purpose of cleaning and decluttering is to showcase open space; this process also provides an opportunity to purge items no longer being used. While cleaning, accommodations must be made for the removal of trash, the dusting of cobwebs, the sweeping of floors, the scrubbing of oil-stained surfaces, the washing of windows, and the removal of smudges from walls and doors. Sellers must also address the appearance of water heaters, furnaces, and other pieces of equipment found within the garage.

After decluttering, the impending disposition of unwanted items, provides sellers with an opportunity to host a garage sale. The reasons are two-fold, as garage sales allow for the removal of clutter but also provide an opportunity to acquire funds serving to offset staging costs. Hosting a successful garage sale requires planning. In advance, home-sellers turned garage-sellers, must clean and price their items. To amass interest, sellers should promote the event neighborhood-wide and on social media. Sellers should set up early, host the event over a two-day period, and openly negotiate and discount prices. It's important to remember, the purpose of holding the sale is to dispose of extraneous items; when an offer is made, it should be considered. At the conclusion of the sale, remaining items should be donated.

Once a garage has been decluttered, sellers can then focus on packing what remains and concentrate on organizational efforts. Many find it advantageous to rent temporary storage; however, those items that remain must still be addressed. Ready-made storage systems, bins, pegboards, overhead racking and heavy-duty hooks, each serve to enhance a garage's purpose and aesthetics. And, utilizing stackable bins possessing consistent shapes, colors and sizes, can create a consistent theme.

As a word of caution, sellers must carefully attend to all flammable items, chemicals and tools commonly found in the garage. Prospective home buyers will be touring the property and each of these items must be clearly labeled and confined to an area which is inaccessible to children.

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Unlike other staging efforts performed throughout the home, staging a garage doesn't have to be financially cumbersome or time consuming proposition. Minimal investment and a few hours of work can yield substantial returns.

That being said, sellers who still aspire to intensify a garage's wow factor should apply a neutral coat of paint to the walls, ceilings, shelving and cabinetry. The act of painting the interior spaces will facilitate a sense of uniformity. In addition, flooring which has been painted using an epoxy based paint or covered using industrial-grade materials can also dramatically enhance a garage's presentation.

There are numerous other finishing touches that will augment a garage's attractiveness; generally speaking, design elements should be purposeful and simple. However, improvements serving to enhance safety are always recommended. Sellers can simultaneously address aesthetics and safety by enhancing lighting, replacing aged door openers and adding relevant window coverings. As garage doors command a significant presence, sellers may also want to consider replacing doors that are worn or outmoded. Newly installed garage doors not only improve safety, but also contribute to a home's broadened curb appeal.

In older homes, it's not uncommon to find a washer and dryer sharing space within the garage. In connection, homeowners seeking to stage their garage should seek to redefine the respective space around these appliances as a laundry area. Through the integration of complementary storage, the area will quickly become identifiable as independent space.

Many homeowners incorrectly assume if they close the door, prospective home buyers won't notice the condition of their garage. However, potential buyers must be provided an opportunity to envision how they'd purpose the use of each space if they're to make an emotional connection; the garage is no exception.

A garage is a highly sought-after feature and sellers can expect prospective home buyers will closely examine the space, not only for the purposes of parking their vehicles, but also to ensure ample workspace and storage is afforded. Unfortunately, an overfilled garage may subconsciously communicate a lack of space, and for some homeowners, the garage unintentionally becomes a resting place for clutter. The more clutter there is, the more challenging it becomes to showcase the space. To that end, sellers mustn't forget the importance of attending to the garage when listing. When properly prepared and staged, this often overlooked area can profoundly strengthen a homeowner's ability to sell.

Sean and Aimee McDonald, Realtors with RE/MAX North Lake Tahoe, can be reached at 775-250-8335 or mcdonaldrealestateteam@gmail.com.

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