Closets, Garage and Laundry

Closets, garages and laundry might seem like three things that are entirely unrelated, but this is not so. They all center around the idea of comfort and convenience and a house just isn't a home without them.

Without closets clothes, towels, linens and junk would be piled on the floor in mountainous heaps.

Without a garage the lawnmower, tools and hoses would be homeless and cars would be left to rust on the street.

And without a functional laundry room, well, there would be stench and sadness.

Many people overlook these elements of a home, but without them most homeowners would be lost. This is because a home without closets, a garage and laundry facilities usually means renting storage room, a parking space and trudging to the Laundromat at least once a week. For this reason it becomes obvious why closets, garages and laundry rooms have such a big impact on a home's resale value.

There are certain standards that are expected by homebuyers when it comes to closets, garages and laundry rooms.

Typical Closet Expectations:

- Large closets

- A closet in almost every room in the house

- At least one walk-in closet

- Doors that are in good condition that open and close properly

- Attractive hardware

Ample closet space is a must-have for almost all homeowners. All closets should have a rack on which to hang things, enough space to fit extra items and a shelf for added convenience and storage. This size of each closet will depend on which part of the house the closet is located in, but generally bedroom and front hall closets will be largest. If there is no laundry room in the house there should be a closet big enough to hold a stackable washer and dryer combination.

Almost all houses also have closets in most of the rooms especially bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms as well as one in each hallway.

Walk-in closets are a big draw when in comes to selling a home, especially in the master bedroom. When a couple shares a bedroom a standard closet is just not enough. With walk-in closets there are usually two distinct sections and even a special area for laundry, shoes, ties and accessories. In addition there is usually enough space in a walk-in closet so that two people can be in it at once. This is a great perk in the morning when two people are dashing to get dressed at the same time.

The quality of a home's closets will also contribute to overall resale value. There is no excuse for beaten and battered closet doors that are stained with spaghetti sauce- this is an instant turn-off for potential buyers. Tattered closets say, "This home was not well taken care of," and if the closets are in rough shape usually the rest of the house is in pretty rough shape as well.

Closet doors should open and close with easy and without falling off their track. The doors should also be clean and free of damage and scuff marks. If these things aren't in order, make sure they are before showing the home to potential buyers.

Homeowners may also want to update the hardware on closet and cupboard doors before showing their home. New hardware can add a touch of class and it is usually an addition that looks extremely extravagant but is actually quite cost-effective.

If the closet problem in a home goes beyond scuffed doors and old hardware to actual, noticeable lack of closet space it may be time to renovate slightly to increase the home's resale value.

The addition of a closet can be done by a contractor, but closets can also be constructed by industrious homeowners.

Do-It-Yourself Closet Building:

- You will need closet wall plates, a closet rod, shelving, closet doors, a saw, a miter box, a plumb bob, a framing square, a drill, a hammer, a level, drywall ingredients and paint.

- Decide on the size of closet you are going to build and whether or not this closet will extend to the ceiling.

- If you're closet is going to extend to the ceiling install lower closet wall plates first

- Next install sidewall plates to form the side of the closet, making sure they are on a 90-degree angle with the lower closet wall plates.

- Next comes the installation of the upper closet wall plates. Use your plumb bob to make sure that you have positioned the upper plates in alignment with the lower plates.

- Cut studs and fashion closet walls, making sure there is a stud at the end of each wall plate

- Install drywall

- Install closet doors

- Install closet rod and shelving

- Paint

No matter which method of adding closet space you use, you can be sure that the added space will result in extra income when it comes time to sell.

Garage space is also a factor that many buyers look for when they are considering investing in a home. Most people want to know that they have a safe place to store their car or cars at night and that extra storage space is available for things that can't be easily or tidily stored indoors.

The type of garage that is appropriate for your house will depend on the neighborhood in which you live. In most cities just having a garage seems like a luxury, while in working class suburban neighborhoods most homes are equipped with a one-car garage. In most middle class neighborhoods the two-car garage is standard, while in some swanky upper-class neighborhoods a three-car garage is the norm.

Typically most homebuyers will look for homes with a one or two-car garage and there is no doubt that if your home has one, its resale value will be improved. On the other hand, if your home has no garage and you are aiming to make this home as attractive to potential buyers as possible it may be a good idea to invest some money to have garage space added.

If you have a lot big enough to add a garage and you are unsure of which type of garage will be best, look to surrounding homes in your neighborhood. The most appropriate garage is the same type that most homes in the area have. A one-car garage won't cut the mustard in an expensive neighborhood where all the surrounding houses have four-car garages and similarly there is no point to adding a three-car garage to a small house in a working-class neighborhood.

Like the garage, laundry facilities in a home should be appropriate and convenient to use.

All homes with should include a laundry room or a closet large enough to hold a stackable washer and dryer to ensure good resale value.

There are certain expectations that most buyers have when it comes to laundry facilities and homeowners should take these into consideration when they are trying to have their home appeal to prospective buyers.

Laundry Facility Expectations:

- Laundry facilities should be conveniently located

- They should be easily accessible

- These facilities should be located somewhere where guests won't see them

- The size of laundry facilities should be relative to the size of a home.

Conveniently located laundry facilities are an absolute must, when it comes to resale value. There is nothing worse than lugging loads of laundry down countless flights of stairs across the house, out the backyard and into the garage each time dirty clothes stack up. Laundry facilities can be located in the basement, on the main floor or close to the majority of the bedrooms; it really depends on the home. The best alternative depends on the set up of the house. A large house may have a separate laundry room located on the main floor that is completely unnoticeable, but this same set-up in a townhouse might be a completely obvious eyesore. Small houses and town homes often have stackable laundry facilities in an upstairs closet, where the washer and dryer are out of the way, but also close to the bedrooms where laundry tends to build up.

Easily accessible laundry facilities are also quite important to resale value. This is especially important in neighborhoods where the majority of the population is in their twilight years. Most people want to open the door toss in the laundry and go without having to maneuver around obstacles and trek up and down flights of stairs.

Laundry facilities should always be hidden behind a door where they won't be seen or heard. No matter if the washer and dryer are hidden in a closet or in a basement alcove they should be enclosed, especially if dirty clothes tend to build-up inside.

Potential buyers will take into consideration how well suited the laundry facilities in a home are to the number of people that are going to live there. So before putting your house up for sale you should take this into consideration as well because if your laundry facilities are inadequate you may need to renovate.

A stackable washer and dryer in a closet is just not appropriate for a family of four. Usually if there are more than two people in a household a separate laundry room is a necessity. The more people in the household, the more clothes there will be and consequentially the more laundry space will be needed. A good way to judge if your home has ample laundry space is to look at how many bedrooms the home has. If there are two-bedrooms or less a closet will suffice for laundry facilities, but in houses with more than two bedrooms a laundry room is an absolute must.

It is also a good idea to replace old washers and dryers to maximize resale value. Many people will pay extra for updated appliances and these new appliances can indicated to a potential buyer the amount of time and money that has been put into a home.

Most people think that closets, garages and laundry facilities don't really contribute to whether or not a house is sold, but this is a misconception. Anyone who has lived with inadequate facilities will attest to this fact.

A home without closets, a garage and laundry facilities is like a cherry pie without the filling. It may look good on the outside, but inside it's a useless disappointment.