In a typical Canadian home today, the garage has two functions: for parking (the intended purpose) and for storage (the secondary purpose). In less organized houses, the garage becomes chock full of old furniture, seasonal accessories, unused clothing, toys, pet stuff, and all sorts of clutter and junk so that homeowners now have to park on the street, negating the main function of the garage altogether.
This part of the house is not an area you can just hide and hope the potential home buyers do not check out; since they also have vehicles, they will also look at the garage and how it fits with their overall perspective of the property. All of your home updates and preparations will be wasted if the clients walk through the spacious and thoughtfully-designed living room, kitchen, and bedrooms, only to end their tour by walking into a messy, cramped, and junk-filled garage. The root of the problem is organization, so when staging the garage, the most important aspects are:
- Get rid of everything you don’t need. Homes today are so full of things that people no longer need or did not even use. If you have never tried downsizing or adopting a minimalist approach when it comes to stuff, now is the best time. Identify a local charitable organization in your area that may have a need for your unused items; also, you can hold a garage sale and use the proceeds for your other home staging needs.
- Make storage look natural and spacious. Now that you’ve removed all the unnecessary stuff, you can maximize the garage area so any items that have to be stored there are not getting in the way of car parking. The garage walls can be utilized by installing shelves and cupboards; you can also consider buying storage bins of the same size and colour where items can be kept, and stacked on top of each other to look organized.
- Update the garage ambiance. If your home has a contemporary feel to it, the garage will look very out-of-place if it still looks like an 80’s carport. Simple updates such as fresh paint (using neutral colours) and modern light fixtures make the garage more inviting and in line with the rest of the home. Clients should not feel like they are walking into a time tunnel or horror film set when touring your garage; while it is used for parking and storage, a garage with personality makes your home even more marketable.
- Check for things that need fixing. Does the automatic garage door open without any problems? Loud squeaking and creaking can be distracting during showings, so make sure there is enough lubrication or that it is still functioning correctly. Garage door handles and knobs may need to be changed, and check that all lights are working.