When looking for a home, most homebuyers view a garage as a necessity and an absolute must-have. For many, once they move into their residence, the garage is relegated to a haphazard storage space filled with just about everything except a car. There is nothing wrong with utilizing one’s garage for storage but giving your garage the same respect as the rest of your home enhances its overall value as well as your safety and your home’s security.
For most homeowners, their garage is a personal storage facility. Gardening supplies and lawn equipment, sporting and athletic gear, unused furnishings, books, paperwork, holiday decorations… the list goes on. If you ask a third of us, we don’t even know what we have hidden on the shelves and in boxes. But the one item that 25 percent say isn’t stored in their garage: a vehicle.
A garage may feel like an unfinished and relatively unimportant space. After all, we don’t live in it, unless of course, it has been converted to a family room, home office, or entertainment space. But your garage offers considerable value and security to your home – if homeowners understand its importance and follow specific guidelines.
Protection of belongings
All those tools, golf clubs, bicycles, and other items have value and thieves know these are stored in garages. Be sure that your exterior garage man-door has a lock and use it. To protect your personal items, it’s also important that your garage has proper insulation to minimize extremes of heat and cold and that the interior is guarded against inclement weather.
Lower utility bills
Especially if your garage is attached to your home, having proper insulation can play a factor in the temperature of the inside of your home. Non-insulated garages are subject to extremes of temperature, which, as mentioned above, can be detrimental to items stored in the space. The temperature of the garage, if overly warm or cold, seeps into the interior of your home, resulting in excessive use of heating and cooling. Proper insulation will lower your utility needs.
Plays a role in home safety and security
Attached garages are a favorite for home intruders because the door leading into the home is often left unlocked or doesn’t have a lock at all. This offers would-be thieves easy access into your home. In fact, many will break into a car left in the driveway and use the garage door opener to gain entry. Be sure to lock the exterior and interior man-doors and, if you typically don’t need the garage door opener, remove it from your car and put it in a safe place inside your home. Ensure there is proper illumination, such as a motion sensing ceiling light fixture.
Minimize fire risk
Many homeowners keep flammable liquids in their garage. As a result, the garage is a primary ignition location for many residential fires. The U.S. Fire Administration logged over 6,000 garage fires in 2019. These resulted in 30 deaths, 400 injuries, and $500,000 in property damage and loss. To minimize or eliminate the potential for fire, never store any flammable liquids, including paint and gasoline, inside your garage. Other hazardous materials should be stored in their original containers, out of direct sunlight and the reach of children and pets. Clean up oil or any spills from the floor or other surfaces. It is important that the door leading from inside your garage to the interior of your home is fire rated, self-closing and latching as this can keep fire from spreading quickly should one ignite in the garage. Installing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors is also an inexpensive preventative measure.
Keeps pests at bay
There is nothing a rodent loves more than a cluttered space to call home. Garages are often an open invitation to mice, rats, and insects to move in, oftentimes without the homeowner ever knowing until the issue gets out of hand. The cleaner and more organized your garage, the less welcoming the space will be for unwanted guests. And if critters do come in, you’ll quickly and easily be able to spot their presence and take action.
Increases resale value
Though many homeowners do use their garages for storage, and unkept storage at that, if you plan to sell your home, a cluttered, damp garage space that isn’t properly insulated from heat and cold is NOT a positive feature to potential buyers. According to Realtor.com, over 30% of homebuyers say the garage is one of the most important rooms in the house. Shelving units and plastic storage bins offer a simple and relatively inexpensive way to get organized and keep clutter at bay. Ceiling rack storage is ideal for infrequently used items, like holiday decorations and camping gear. Store bicycles vertically along the wall or hang from the ceiling. Hang tools from pegboards or invest in a workbench with drawers.
Garages offer valuable space for homeowners. By taking the time to organize, insulate, and secure them, not only will you get much more use from them, you will undoubtedly be able to locate items more easily, lower your utility costs, reduce the possibility of fire and break-ins while increasing the salability and worth of your Silicon Valley home.