The modern necessity: A great big garage

Right at the top of the requirements in

Barry Rivlin's purchase of a home two years

ago was a three-car garage.

Although he is single and did not

require a big house, he wanted that

garage space for his two cars, his motorcycle,

and other storage. He also told

his Realtor that he thought a larger

garage would be a benefit when the

time comes to sell the home. He's not

alone. A three-car garage increasingly is

a minimum requirement for many


Rivlin owned homes in the area

before and always had garage space

either a three-car garage or a two-car

garage with plenty of extra space. Rivlin

found his house and says he's satisfied

with the space he has with the three-car

garage. He isn't wishing he had more

space because he says, "The more you

have, the more you fill it up."

For Tracy Tomlinson Carroll, a threecar

garage was one of the most important

criteria while shopping for a home

to purchase with her parents, Jim and

Betty Toth, in 1993. When she recently

married Brian Carroll, garage space

remained just as important. Her parents

moved to another home, but she and her

husband collect classic automobiles and

need the space to store the valuable cars.

The home they purchased in 1993 is on

a corner lot and has around 2,600 square

feet of living space. Other homes of the

same size in the neighborhood have twocar

garages and that, in her view, is just not

sufficient for her lifestyle. The home has a

single door to one garage, and a double

door to the others.

"We've looked at houses as we want some-

house that has 3,000 to 3300 square feet

or more probably should have at least a


Carolyn Hird, an agent with Dickson

Realty, says that it's far more common these

days for buyers to look for a home with a

three-car garage.

"People have more cars and toys, and they

need more storage and they also consider the

resale value," Hird says.

She says she currently has two clients

looking for homes with the advantage of

a three-car-garage. One buyer is shopping

in the $400,000 to $500,000 range.

The family of five husband, wife and

three children is active in sports, has

bikes and skis and is more concerned

about storage for these toys than space

for a third car.

The other client has three automobiles,

but wants the third garage for use for a

hobby that involves metal welding and

sculpting. Hird says the client has indicated

that one car might be left outdoors.

The price range for this client is in the

$500,000 to $600,000 bracket.

Older homes with more garage space,

Hird says, are scarce but this depends on location.

In some outlying areas where there is

more property, she finds more garage or storage

space, or room to add on particularly

where there is or has been horse property.

She says she has not seen a huge demand

for more than three-car-garage space, but

recently had a customer who wanted four

garages, and they found a home with a twocar

garage, and a separate two-car garage.

Hird says she can see in the future

maybe 10 years out where people will

want more garage space because not only

do the baby boomers have more cars and

toys, but more and more homes feature inlaw

quarters in which there are more cars

to take car of.

Michael Adams, vice-president sales and

marketing for Silver Star Development, says

that there are two upcoming developments

for the company. One features homes from

1,600 to 2,100 square feet and another with

homes from 2,300 to 2,900 square-feet. The

smaller homes will have the two-car garages,

and the larger will have three-car garages.

Adams says that another type of

garage they will feature has a tandem

design. From the front it looks like a twocar

garage, but one side is deep enough to

hold a second car, or provide the extra

storage that people are looking for.

"This really fits nicely on some footprints

of a home. This works well if you

have a narrow lot," he says.

The company is currently marketing

Chantalaine in Arrowcreek, homes that

range in size from 3,000 to 5,360 square

feet, and all feature three-car garages

some with a single door, and others with

a double door. These homes are designed

so that no garage doors face the street.

Adams says that the decision regarding

garage space in production homes

depends upon the market the builder is

going after. Empty nesters may not want

a three-car garage whereas young families

have more requirements.

"People want that extra garage space

for their toys. People have skis and offroad

vehicles, jet skis, golf clubs,"

Adams says. When it comes to custom

homes, the demand for extra garage

space is all over the place. Dennis Banks

of Dennis Banks Construction says that

his firm recently finished a home with a

16-car garage about 4,500 square

feet. The house itself was 7,000 square

feet. The owner had cars, motorcycles,

and other equipment.

Another custom project by Banks

was a 4,000-square-foot gym/garage

large enough for a full-sized basketball

court and batting cages.

"Almost all homeowners these days

have their toys, and there is never

enough storage so we virtually see no

two-car-garages anymore in the custom

market. Anything over 2,000 square feet

will have a three-car garage. If a person

has a lot of toys, he or she is going to

need a larger track home or a custom

home," Banks says.

Providing garage doors for custom

homes is the business of Dave Rogers,

owner of The Door Man in Reno. Rogers

says that he recently provided four singlegarage

doors for a custom home of around

5,000 square feet. This home is in the

Juniper Hills area, with a carriage house

design and these were custom doors.

Another recent project for Rogers is a

home with garages for three cars actually

a two-car garage with single doors on

a cottage, and the main house with a single

garage door. The cottage was for

guests and is over the two garages.

With cars and toys and in-laws and

other factors such as hobbies and grown

children returning home, it's apparent

that the three-car garage is here to stay.

The questions are these: Will the

demand for even more space gain in

popularity, and how will builders and

designers handle the challenge of meeting

the needs and desires of the all-

important buyer?


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