To Garage…or Not To Garage – Help Me Decide

Deciding on a Garage

I’m having a tough time with this decision…

When I bought my house there was no garage, so I factored in the cost of a garage when I decided to buy. The money I made from the sale of my old house will cover the cost of having a garage built.

…but wouldn’t it be great to take that money and make a GIANT dent in my mortgage?

I want to be done with my mortgage SO bad. I’m really debating whether to build a garage right now. I’m having a tough time with my decision, so maybe you can help me sort out these random thoughts…

It’d be smart to get the garage while I have the cash. But I could always have one built in a few years after I pay off the house.

When I sell someday, it would really help to have a garage with the house, especially for storage since there is no basement and potential buyers probably are not minimalists (My current shed works perfectly for me). But I bought the house without a garage, so someone else would eventually…And this is only IF I sell in the next few years. I could live in the house long enough to pay it off quickly AND build a garage.

Many people think a garage is a need in Minnesota but plenty of people live just fine without them! I never had one until just a few years ago. I’m ok digging my car out of the snow. It’d be nice to put my car inside during hail and storms, but I have insurance and will likely be trading in my car for something cheaper when the VW drama is sorted out in the fall. I could also get a sort of car port built if snow and hail were a huge concern.

I’m lazy and the garage would be along the alley and I don’t have a back door, so I’d have to traipse around the house and through the yard to get to the garage, while my current driveway is right in front of the door.

But I’m also lazy, and having a garage would eliminate about a third of the grass I have to cut, and the worst unshaded areas…

I tend to go against the normal “should” and instead do what is best for me…so while many will say I should get the garage now, I’m really tempted to wait until I pay off my mortgage…


Deciding on a Garage

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    • It would shave a year or two off the mortgage. Even with the garage I think I’ll have it paid off in 5-6 years, but would love to do it in less than 5!

  1. I live in California and people here often purchase and erect car shelters that are basically a framework made of lightweight but sturdy metal poles set into the ground and covered with coated canvas tarps. They are sold in kits and last for years. Would something like that work in MN?

    • I think it could! My parents have something similar in SC. It might have to have a more sturdy roof than canvas because of heavy snow, but I do like the idea.

  2. I would say wait on the garage. If it were me, I would definitely do the garage now…but that’s only because I’ve never had my own garage and I have a weird car with windows that freeze over on the inside during the winter. If you don’t mind digging your car out of the snow, then I don’t think there is really a compelling reason to do the garage now. It would be awesome to be able to put that toward your mortgage instead and pay it off faster!
    Frugal Millennial recently posted…Frugal Tip: Get a Second OpinionMy Profile

    • You are always so good at recognizing that what works for one person may not be what’s best for another person. It’s why I love your blog! 🙂

  3. From everything you’ve written, it sounds like you already know what you want to do. Personally, having done the “buy a house and build a garage right away” once, I have decided to never undertake a major project like that until I’ve lived in a house for a full year first.
    Julie @ Filling the Jars recently posted…August 2016 Monthly Menu PlanMy Profile

  4. My vote would be for wait on the garage and pay down the mortgage faster. Seems like a garage would be good but the main reason is for resale value. Therefore, there’s no rush in the garage besides for the convenience for now.

    I will say I’m terrible at spending money on my home like really bad! It takes a lot for me to invest in my home. I think it’s because home improvements aren’t a priority to me right now.

  5. Really interesting dilemma! Since my blog focuses on decision-making, I would send you back to your original question and really try to figure out if “garage or no garage” is really what this is about. Or is it about the resale of the house? Or is it about mowing that extra part of the lawn? You could also list out some goals (wants) and rank them and see how having a garage meets those goals. Have you tried a pros & cons list? With only one option – (build a garage) – that might work too. (They don’t work well for more complicated decisions). Looking forward to seeing what you do 🙂

    • Thanks for the ideas! Really if I think about goals the first and biggest is paying off the mortgage. I just moved in so I think I have plenty of time to consider resale value.

  6. I think a garage might be worth building, especially if it can increase your property value, but what I don’t know is if any insurance would have to be adjusted with building a garage, if that’s the case, I would pay off the mortgage faster if its not something you feel compelled to have.

    • I agree…the garage would help the value so I think it’s something I’d have to do eventually before I sell someday.

  7. Hmm it sounds to me like your reasons are more around resale than your personal use/enjoyment of the garage? I’d probably put it off…

    We just have a single old carport and my partner would love a garage but that would be a huge project for later down the track!

  8. I may be about a month late on this, so I am curious what you decided to do? I think if it were me, I would use the money to pay down the mortgage, and then I would try to pick up some side work to simply just pay off the entire mortgage in about 1-2 years instead. Then with all the extra money you are now saving, then you can simply build the garage. Even if you have to take out a small loan to build the garage, you should be able to pay it off very quickly now that you do not have your house payment.

    Tough out the winter, and the next hail storm and get out of that mortgage payment. You will be glad you did. Just my 2 cents.

    • Yeah I think that’s what I’m going to do. I haven’t made a set decision, but I have slowly started transferring some of the money to my mortgage…haven’t had to guts to move it all yet though.

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