On almost any suburban “to-do” list somewhere down near the bottom of the list we invariably find… “Clean The Garage!” It’s a task generally thought of as on par with flushing out the Augean Stables. There’s a reason for that. The garage is usually seen as an afterthought, a place to maybe store your car at night – and otherwise to store everything else when you don’t want to think about it anymore. Paint cans, old appliances, rarely-used tools, etc. It is often more of a collecting bin for your next garage sale than a vital part of the house.
That attitude is, thankfully, changing. More people are converting their garages into workshops for woodworking, blacksmithing, carving, painting, or even startup offices. Spending more time in there, people are now seeing the impact that attached garages have on the overall energy-efficiency of a house. But no matter how you use the space, both hoarders and garage gurus will be looking to purchase homes with energy-efficient garages. When you have taken out a hard-money loan to fix-and-flip a house to get back on the market, making a garage make more economic sense is a great place to start.
Ways to Make an Energy Efficient Garage
This article isn’t going to talk about converting a garage into a residential unit. That is a whole other article. We’re talking about using your garage more and treating it as part of the house’s energy ecosystem.
Treating the Doors For Cold and For Hot
California has a lot of climates, and in some of them the nights can get pretty cold. In other places, it obviously gets very hot. A lot of people don’t realize the ways that an attached garage can bring in drafts and make the house much colder or warmer raising energy costs. Very few people install climate control in the garage, which makes sense- especially if you aren’t in there much. However, there are steps you can take to minimize the impact it has on your house.
One thing to do is to seal the door that connects the house and the garage- that’s an important first step. If you want to switch the door, steel and fiberglass offer a much higher R-Value than even a solid wood door, as much as five times as high. It should also go without saying that the connecting door shouldn’t have a window. After all, there isn’t that much to see and it hurts the insulation ability of the door.
The door isn’t the only place for an attached garage to impact your home’s energy use. Cold air can seep in through the walls. Making sure those are properly insulated can have a huge impact on the resale value, but one big and non-expensive thing to do is to insulate the main garage door itself. This door is often seen as so utilitarian that it is essentially discarded and only thought of when something goes wrong.
A good trick here is to install radiant barrier insulation to the garage doors. This is an insulation material that can be installed in a short amount of time that keeps heat or cold from coming in. It’s relatively cheap and easy, and can really reduce the dependence you have on using other climate-control devices.
Tips for Non-Attached Garages
If you want to create a non-attached garage so that buyers can spend time in it to do work, there are a few tips to make it energy-efficient.
- Perforated Garage Door. A perforated garage door has holes in it, or slats, or any kind of opening, which allows for light and air to get through. This is generally only good in warmer climates. It helps to create a breeze when buyers are working and keeps the garage from overheating.
- Insulate the Walls. Again, most people don’t do this because they weren’t really thinking about all the uses of the garage, but it will be a great selling point.
- Seal Everywhere. Between the walls and the floor are usually leaky in garages due to original builders not seeing the need to do perfect insulation work. Outlets, lights, and attics and ceilings are all places that need to be sealed.
As the market improves, seemingly-small selling points will help differentiate your fix-and-flip from another. Taking advantage of your hard-money loan from a leading California lender means finding the inefficiencies that you can fix. A garage is a huge one. Buyers will be happy to know that you are both looking out for their bills and giving them the gift of a bonus room. It’s how you stand out.
Your real estate assets are your best investments for the future. At Socotra Capital, we’re proud to be the premier direct hard money lender for California real estate. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.