Garage Envy

Alan J. DiStasio  |  September 12, 2022

Real Estate Guidance

Garage Envy

Early in my real estate career, I had the opportunity to list and sell a lovely one-level house owned by a couple looking to downsize. It was evident that the owners had done a fantastic job maintaining their home.

At the same time, I was also working with a buyer that was only interested in buying land on which to build. In the buyer's mind, they would never find a home in better shape than a newly built house. After much searching, the buyer realized that he might never find the right piece of land. He also realized that building would cost more than he had initially budgeted.

Knowing that the house I had listed was in excellent shape (and within his budget), I encouraged the buyer to have a look. Fortunately, he did. During the showing, the buyer remarked about the excellent condition of the garage. He said if the seller took care of the rest of the house as well as he took care of his garage, then there should be nothing to worry about regarding the home's overall condition. He claimed he had never seen such a nice garage. The buyer made an offer, and the building inspection ultimately proved the buyer's assumption was well founded. Bonus: the buyer didn't have to wait months and months for the house to be built before moving in.

The first takeaway: Condition is everything when selling a home, particularly when it comes to secondary spaces such as a garage or basement. A well-maintained house will always sell for more (and quicker) than one that isn't, even when all other variables are equal.

The second takeaway is that buyers should keep an open mind regarding their needs and desires when searching for a home. Buyers will miss opportunities that may ultimately suit their needs by being inflexible.

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