When an End Unit Doesn’t Feel Like an End Unit

“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

–Leo Tolstoy; Anna Karenina, Chapter 1

I spent the weekend showing town homes, and all I can say is, it’s hard to get the garage location right . . . and very easy to get it wrong. 

townhomeBy far the most popular location for newer construction (last decade or so) is underneath, also called a “tuck under.”

Developers love that because it allows for more vertical — and denser — use of space (equals fatter profit margins).

Tuck under garages can also be relatively aesthetic; depending on their design, they don’t mar the town home’s curb appeal the way simply sticking the garage in front can.

The main drawback for owners:  the more vertical use of space, along with multiple half-flights of stairs.

Given that, at least in the Midwest, town homes can draw an older demographic (retirees, down-sizers, etc.), that can be a serious liability.

Now You See It . . . Now You Don’t

Which leaves exactly two other places the garage can go:  on the side, and in back.

The biggest mistake I saw was locating the garage on the “outside” of two (or more) connected units, instead of the inside; even though both units are technically “end units,” locating the garage on the units’ outside cuts off natural light on much of that side, making the units darker.

Too, that guarantees that the two connected units will share a common, interior wall — sometimes between the Bedrooms (another “no-no”).

By default, that leaves locating the garage in back (see photo, above).

Although not all developments have the space (or vision) for that, by far that seems to be the most aesthetic, functional option for owners.

P.S.:  Homes in Edina’s historically designated Country Club neighborhood are actually subject to a covenant prohibiting garages in front.

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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