by Jeffrey Zurschmeide
Mark Scholz is a realtor specializing in finding “garages with attached homes” for automotive enthusiasts. He runs Portland Homes for Cars (www.portlandhomesforcars.com). He offered a few insights into the business end of automotive workshops. Interview conducted by Jeff Zurschmeide, author of How to Design, Build & Equip Your Automotive Workshop on a Budget.
Q: As a realtor specializing in finding homes for automotive enthusiasts, what do you look for in a garage or workshop?
A: It’s not always cars that people need space for. Big garages and workshops are popular because people can always use inside space. I have never found someone who thinks their garage is too big. I am always working with clients who want to find a home with a garage already set up for working on cars. I always ask my clients what they want to do in their working space. Once I know what they plan to do, I can look for a home with a garage or shop that is already set up for that kind of work.
Q: Does a well-outfitted garage or workshop add much to the cost or the resale value of a house?
A: We value garage and shop space at half the value of the house space per square foot. That means that if the house is valued at $100 per square foot, then the garage or workshop space is generally priced at about $50 per square foot. Shop space value basically rides on the value of the house.
Q: But if the shop space is finished, plumbed, with good wiring and lighting, and generally set up for working, doesn’t that increase the price of the house overall?
A: It doesn’t increase the sale price as much as it increases the curb appeal of a house. If you find the right buyer for a “car property,” he might make a higher offer for a house with a really attractive garage or workspace, but you’re just as likely to have a buyer who isn’t interested in cars at all. That person may view the improvements as a negative when considering the home.
Q: Tell me one thing that people don’t always think about, but which is important?
A: You want good access to the garage. If you’re working with cars, you really want to find a home with a good, flat driveway, so that you won’t have a problem if your project car isn’t running. You can’t push a car up a really steep driveway, and they can scrape if the angle is too severe. If it’s at all possible, you also want a nice, wide driveway to park and maneuver cars. RV parking pads alongside the house are also great if you need to store a trailer or an extra car.