Buying New Home - 3 Car Garage or Extra Playroom?

nikkimagicalAugust 11, 2014

Hi everyone. I'm new to this forum and was wondering if you could help us out! Me and my husband are in a pickle over what home to buy. After searching for the perfect "forever" home for months, we found a nice modest home that fits most of our needs and has all the space for our growing family. We have two choices of the same home and don't know which to choose.

The two homes are the exact same floor plan, only one takes the third tandem garage space and turns it into a media room (which I would turn into a playroom for our small kids). The possibility of a main floor playroom is what sold me on this house in the first place and I want it really really bad. The only problem is that that home can't be built right now, so we would have to settle for the house with just the three car space and no playroom if we want the house now. We are eager to get into a home ASAP since we are currently in a rental that isn't working for us and is making our day to day very difficult due to its location.

Below is a list of pros and cons which will paint you a picture of our choices and why we are in a dilemma. What would you do? What's more valuable in your opinion - the extra space indoors for the playroom or garage space? Do we purchase home with 3 car spaces now or wait for the home with the playroom?

- Building to begin immediately and we would be in house within few months
- Slightly nicer front exterior that house #2
- House is North facing - even sunlight in home all day
- Backyard faces one story homes so there will be no windows facing the backyard (more privacy)
- Backyard is deeper than house #2
- Home has third tandem garage space
- We know how much the house will cost us

- No playroom
- Because lot is longer than wider, we would be closer to our neighbors on either side
- Lot is on a street where there is a long block of homes

PROS of House #2
- Has playroom
- Lot is wider so more room in between homes
- Lot is on a street where there would only be 4 houses (feels less crowded)

CONS of House #2
- Wait time for build of house is unknown. Wait could be anywhere from 6 months to 2 years.
- Price of home will go up since its the neighborhood's last phase. Price difference is unknown.
- Houses would face west - sun would be on house from noon to sunset (harsh in the desert climate we live in - makes house hotter and wear and tear on front exterior is quicker)
- Backyard is facing the side of another two story home
- Only two car garage space

This post was edited by nikkimagical on Mon, Aug 11, 14 at 23:17

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Why can't you ask them to modify house 1 to have the media room? If they haven't started building, that should be an easy ask.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 9:15PM
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I agree, ask for a modification. In this economy I find it hard to believe a builder won't work with you on something like that. If this is your forever home, its important to get what you want. When we moved in our new home 7 years ago it only had a great room, where our last home had a living room and family room. With the new home my kids would often go to thier rooms, and not spend as much time together. Like you we were in a temporary apt., and I couldn't wait to leave, so I settled, and regret it to this day. Your kids need a play room, and as they grow older will want a place to hang with thier friends without Mom and Dad around.

This post was edited by mzstitch on Mon, Aug 11, 14 at 21:25

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 9:24PM
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We moved from a house that had a two car garage into our home that has a three-car garage. The three-car was actually a big con of the purchase--it is about the same width of the two car garage, or maybe even a bit narrower. But, due to the door placements (double on the right side and single on the left), trying to park two cars in it is extremely difficult. If you put two cars into the double side, the car on the right cannot open their driver's door because they have to be too close together. The single car side has the wall so close, that my husband has to back his car into the garage, otherwise, the driver's door cannot be opened a sufficient amount to be able to get out of the car. With our two car garage, there was sufficient room for both of us to drive in normally, exit easily, and still have storage along both walls. At some point, we may actually remodel the garage doors and supports over this issue. So, look at the size of the garage(s) rather than the stated car amount!

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 9:48PM
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Thanks for your input!

The builder actually refuses to modify the available current home. They've already poured the slabs even though no one has officially bought any of the homes in their current phase. They don't want to go through fixing the foundation and pulling new permits (even though we offered to pay for the change!)

They've actually pulled all the permits on all their remaining phases as well, which is why we have to wait till their last phase since thats the only one that has the house with the playroom. Weird, right?

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 11:11PM
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When I look at the plans - it appears you have 4 bedrooms and a loft upstairs. A great room and a den downstairs. So it sounds to me like you have some flexibility. Do you need all 4 bedrooms? Could you use your loft or den as a play room?

If your kids are little, you'd probably want the playroom downstairs. Could you use the den as the playroom for now? But when the kids become Tweens, make the loft the hangout space and convert the playroom back to a den?

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 6:11AM
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Seems to me, you could relatively easily change the tandem garage space into a playroom after the house is built. Put up a wall to separate the garage, a door or opening into the great room and some carpet.

Plus you would be adding living space square footage which would then increase the value of the home.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 8:23AM
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I also think it wouldn't be that hard to convert the garage space, especially in a new build. Many homes in my area (all 60-70 years old) have converted the single car garages into rooms.

So get the house with the lot and other aspects that you like best, or the timeline that works best: the playroom it seems to me shouldn't be the deciding factor.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 8:37AM
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What MagdalenaLee says... Model homes do this conversion all the time.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 8:39AM
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I would say convert that part of the garage, might be cheaper than asking for the conversion now. I personally don't like that garage set could pull out what's behind to get front stuff out. Huge pain.
Convert it!!!

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 8:42AM
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I don't think I'd work with this builder... But, if you want this location, you have to.

Make sure you understand the permitting location's requirements for remodels (esp of garage to livable space) and know you are okay with that. And, plan to do it yourself.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 1:10PM
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A 3-car garage that includes a tandem isn't really good for 3 cars. It really is a 2-car garage with attached workshop or storage. We were looking for a true 3-car garage and would never have considered a tandem, so I don't think you are really giving up a garage bay.

So would you rather have garage storage/workshop or a playroom?

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 9:16PM
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It looks like you have options for a playroom downstairs with the tandem garage house anyways, by using the den and with doors you can close it off. They won't need it for a long time as is. The tandem would be great for storing all the outdoor play toys sick as bikes, scooters, balls, and other sports equipment that tend to grow with age too.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 1:35AM
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I'd go for House #1.
Thinking, get out that bad rental, and who knows really when #2 will be ready. Developers make all kinds of promises that don't come through, and you sure are right about the pricing. (will leave out long, nearly identical story that happened to friends, pricing left them in a pickle)
Also, I know you're thinking playroom now, but not knowing how old your kids are and how long you plan to stay in this house, I agree with pixie_lou and lyfia's assessments. In the long run, I'd take storage/work area over an extra room to clean up any day.
Nobody spends time in the side yards - choose the best backyard and then front yard/neighbors. And that's house #1.
You will be happy when you see your electric bill that you are not facing west! Another pro for house #1.
Just my thoughts. Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 12:52PM
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