I’ve spent many, many hours of my life outside in sub-zero temperatures, scraping snow off my frozen car and trying to dig it out of plowed-in parking spaces. In college I actually kept a shovel in my trunk during winter, because no matter where I lived, I always had street parking. There was even the time it snowed something like 24 inches, and I literally could not unearth my car from the pile of ice and snow it sat under so I could get to work. (Yep, my work was still open. I live in Wisconsin. It has to snow at least 3 feet here in order to warrant an office closing.)
Homeowners take them for granted, and potential homebuyers regard them as afterthoughts when evaluating properties, but I think garages are underrated. They’re a lot more valuable and versatile than most people realize. Besides just providing you a place to park your car, there are lots of perks that come with owning a garage.
10 perks that come with the American Dream of having your own garage:
- You have a spot to store your bike
- If it snows where you live, you can keep beer cold without taking up fridge space
- If your garage is attached, you’ll stay dry when it’s raining
- No need to scrape off your car when it snows overnight!
- You can finally have your own (wo)man cave
- You can work on DIY furniture projects in a well-ventilated area
- If you’re in a band, you can host band practice
- If you’re an artist, you can turn it into studio space
- You get extra storage in the rafters
- You’ll have a backup option if it rains during an outdoor party in the summer
And you don’t even have to save up a ton of money in order to get your own garage (in addition to, you know, the house that comes with it). You could buy a home for as little as 3% down when you finance a conventional mortgage loan with private mortgage insurance (MI). For example, if you buy a home for $150,000, a 3% down payment would be $4,500 (vs. $30,000 for a full 20% down payment).
What is MI? Basically it’s an insurance policy that reduces the amount of money a lender loses if borrowers don’t repay their mortgage loans. Lenders generally require MI on mortgages with down payments that are less than 20% of the property value. So MI lets you buy sooner, and you’ll be able to cancel it when extra payments, appreciation or home improvements bring your loan balance below 80% of its original value.
Saving up a few grand and still being able to purchase your own garage (I mean, home) is much less daunting than saving up $30,000. You’ll get your home and garage sooner, and trust me, your car will thank you. So will your bike. And your beer.