||The Real Estate Adviser
Pros and cons of detached
What are the pros and cons of a house with a detached garage? I
am inclined toward buying a house of this kind, so your advice will
help me to finalize the deal.
Let's start with the most obvious issue -- protection from the elements.
Certainly an attached garage is a nice luxury when it's pounding
rain or subzero, especially if you've just crawled out of a warm
bed. A detached garage also gets much colder or warmer than its
attached counterpart, because it's not shielded from the wind and
won't benefit from the heating or air conditioning that's probably
leeching into it from your living quarters.
But an attached garage also can be a household energy
drain, especially if there's minimal insulation between the home
and the garage, and if family members have a bad habit of leaving
interior and exterior doors open to the garage.
There are also security and safety considerations.
If you're harboring expensive cars or anything else of real value
in a detached garage, you'll probably need a separate security system
for it. (You might also want your home inspector to make sure the
electrical system in that garage is up to code before you buy. In
older detached garages, it often is not.)
People with physical limitations also find an attached
garage far more convenient and accessible.
As for the bottom line, a detached garage may be the
standard in an older neighborhood, but in a newer part of town it
could easily hurt a home's resale value, because the place may fall
short of buyer expectations.
From a cost perspective, detached garages are usually
easier to expand in the event you should purchase a mini-van to
go with those two SUVs. However, attached garages are easier to
convert to air-conditioned living space by extending the house's
existing venting systems (assuming code will allow).
There are also potential health issues. The American
Lung Association advocates detached garages to protect occupants
from breathing carbon monoxide, gas and oil fumes, stored pesticides,
etc. And as far as your mental health is concerned, where would
you prefer your kid's rock band practice -- in an attached or detached
In some homeowner insurance policies, a detached garage
may cost more to insure. In California, for example, some earthquake
policies don't cover detached garages or other buildings that aren't
part of the main structure. A stand-alone garage can also limit
your options for the rest of the property, because it may be occupying
a central spot where you'd rather have a swimming pool or veggie
garden. That's particularly true for detached garages located on
Aesthetically, however, some people don't like the
looks of a home that is dominated by a yawning two-car garage that
faces the street. (Once alleys started disappearing from new-home
site plans, this style became all too common.)
If you run a business from your home, a detached garage
converted for the exclusive use of an office or distribution facility
can be an easier sell to the IRS as your principal place of business.
As you can see, Sangram, it's a relative call,
-- Posted: June 19, 2004