For reasons even I’m bored with, I’ve been looking at a lot of houses for sale recently. Hundreds of them, in fact – so many that you’d call the number a representative survey sample. What I’m about to present isn’t anecdotal. It is statistical evidence.
The data says that estate agents do not take pictures of garages for a house’s particulars. Granted, sometimes a garage appears in a picture of the house anyway, but of the thousands of pictures I’ve scrolled through in what must be one of the most extensive (and dull) house searches of 2014, I found only one picture – one – specifically taken of a house’s garage, and then only from the outside.
I have seen no interior pictures of garages at all unless (sigh) you count those that have been converted into studies, bedrooms or annexes.
And the number of those that has happened to has led me to conclude that, while they might hold a useful place in our hearts and lives, for the average house-buying punter, garages are unimportant.
Once, I imagine, it wouldn’t have been like this. Once, if you had a car, you’d have wanted a garage because owning a car was a novelty, not a formality, and everything from corrosion protection through to theft resistance and maintaining battery charge would have been improved by being able to tuck your car in at night.
I don’t subscribe to the theory that things were better in the old days because, by and large, they weren’t. Polio was no giggle and loading a game by tape on a ZX Spectrum was a drag. And I like the fact that modern cars are hard to nick, willing to start when it’s below freezing and able to defrost themselves in no time. But I will spare a nostalgic thought for the humble garage.
Many are too small to comfortably house modern cars, relegating them to little more than large sheds that house only old paint, stepladders and discarded furniture.
And now they’re suffering the final indignity. An agent’s job is to bleed every last penny of value from a property, yet the garage doesn’t even make the shortlist.