Parking Space vs Yard – opinions wanted!

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Topic: Parking Space vs Yard – opinions wanted!

Home and Garden July 24, 2014 at 10:53 am

Parking Space vs Yard – opinions wanted!

I bought a townhouse in NW that has a very small backyard, which is concreted over for a parking space. Street parking is relatively easy here. In practice, given the tight alley way and awkward access, only the smallest of cars will fit back there. At the moment, there is no gate whatsoever, and for security reasons I would like to put up a fence or gate separating the space from the alley. I think I’d prefer to just put up a privacy fence and then landscape the parking space with planters, shrubbery and a bench etc (though the house already has a 2nd floor deck off the kitchen so doesn’t need more outdoor space necessarily). I thought I’d solicit your opinions on what this would do to the value of the house – is taking away what could easily be sold as a parking space to buyers going to drastically reduce the house value? Thanks in advance!

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I think generally speaking, parking will get you much more money for your home on resale. Many people I know, myself included since I work in VA, limit DC home searches to homes that have off street parking. For us it was a dealbreaker, and we were willing to pay more to ensure we had a place with a dedicated parking spot. We knew people who purchased in places with tons of street parking, only to discover 5 years down the line that due to the DC boom there were no longer tons of street spaces due to influx of new residents with cars as well as new businesses nearby. They regretted not ensuring they purchased a place with parking from the start.

I don’t have data to show it, but everything I’ve heard from realtors and the landscape architect who did my yard renovation was that parking is better for resale value. I’m in a similar situation where I didn’t use my concrete parking pad, so as part of a larger outdoor renovation, I replaced the concrete with permeable pavers (DC will actually give you a $1200 credit to do this through the RiverSmart Homes program). It looks more like a patio, but can be used as parking. I also put a 1 foot border garden around the edges of the parking pad and filled it with plants. I use it as a patio area, with a firepit and seating, but those things can be easily moved to accommodate parking if I need it, and it also counts as parking for resale value! I have a rolling steel garage door which provides privacy (although apparently those can be expensive – mine was there when I moved in) but my neighbors have done a cool bamboo fencing privacy guard that’s also easy to move aside when they want to park. I definitely think there’s options to keep your space a parking spot, but make use of it otherwise!

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