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Who wouldn’t want a showcase garage?

Sun., March 9, 2008

When preparing to sell your home, don’t forget that the garage can be an important deal-maker or deal-breaker for the families considering whether to buy your home vs. another choice. Garage appeal is an important remodeling trend that follows upscale new home design trends.

Today’s garage not only stores the family’s cars, but also when neatly organized, can become a multi-purpose room, expanding the living space for all family members. According to REALTOR® Magazine, “a showcase garage can help you sell your listing faster and for a higher price.”

Dinah Eng of REALTOR® Magazine writes, “As the price of real estate has risen, the room that’s often the most neglected and underutilized in the house also has grown in value. Savvy real estate professionals and sellers are now staging the garage along with the rest of the house, and getting higher returns for the effort.”

Garage features in demand today include epoxy-coated floors, specialized wall organizers for various sports equipment items, pantry-style cabinets, an organized workbench, track lighting, increased electrical capacity and finished walls with upgraded insulation.

Three-car garages are becoming the norm in upscale neighborhoods. Jay Behm, a designer of custom homes and garages in Williamsburg, Va., says, “Garages have gotten larger as vehicles have become bigger in recent years.” Buyers now want garages with 9-foot-wide doors and 9-foot ceilings inside to accommodate racks placed atop sport utility vehicles.

Behm says “more and more garages are being wired for heating and air conditioning to make the room accessible year-round.” Garages today can double as the family entertainment center with exercise equipment, surround-sound stereo, bar sinks, a convenient extra beverage refrigerator, track lighting, built-in wall seating and even big screen televisions.

The guru of garages is Bill West, who is also a 30-year veteran REALTOR® and partner in The Group, Inc. Real Estate in Fort Collins, Colo. West wrote the book “Your Garagenous Zone: The Complete Garage Organizer Guide” in 1999. His second book, “Your Garagenous Zone: Innovative Ideas for the Garage,” was published in 2004. His books were the pioneers in this new category of garage remodeling and organizing. West consults with new home builders to establish a “show garage” in association with model homes. He advises home owners about how to achieve and create a functional garage. West also consults with garage remodeling and organizing companies.

For photos, stories and product reviews including ceiling storage, floor coatings and coverings, garage cabinets, wall organizing systems and garage accessories, visit Bill West’s Web site at

The site also profiles famous business owners who began in their garage, including Walt Disney, Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard, Apple computer’s Steve Jobs, Karsten Solheim, inventor of Ping™ 1A golf putter, an early garage recording studio by MoTown great Berry Gordy, and the famed Buddy Holly, who formed one of the earliest “garage bands” in the 1950s.

Do you wonder how many Spokane home owners pack their garages with stuff and let their $20,000-plus vehicles sit overnight in driveways and at the curb? Remember our overabundant snowfall last month in Spokane? A major setback to snow plows clearing neighborhood streets was that family cars were parked in the street, rather than stored in the garage. If your garage has somehow become a full-time storage unit while your car stays unprotected overnight, you are definitely not alone.

One safety tip as you clear out the garage clutter: beware and steer clear of the pesky, and potentially harmful, local spider population you may encounter.

Sellers, your REALTOR® can offer you many great tips to de-clutter your home and garage, as well as share features that are popular with today’s home buyers. Buyers, you are welcome to discuss the home (and garage!) of your dreams with any of the 2,000 professionals that are members of the Spokane Association of REALTORS®. Your REALTOR® is a valuable resource for all of your home buying and selling needs.


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