Here are a few things to pay attention to when looking at buying a place with parking: size of the space, tandem parking, and which spot comes with the unit.
Have you ever seen what some people own as parking spaces in San Francisco – narrow garage spaces that barely fit a smart car? When buying a property, it is important, if a parking space is included, that you check out exactly what you are getting and that you test the spot with your car.
Another thing to know about is tandem parking. A tandem spot normally refers to a parking spot where one car is in front of the other, the two vehicles parking nose-to-end in tandem depending on who gets there first. The first motor vehicle in (closest to the wall) does not have independent access, and the second motor vehicle in (closest to the garage door) must move to provide access. Typically, there is a key exchange between the owners for them to move each other’s cars when necessary.
Got that? First one in is next to the wall and is pinned in by the second car, which is next to the garage door. This can be tricky enough, but it can get a little trickier.
Buyers should be particularly aware of the “designated tandem spot.” This is where a space for a given unit is specifically designated first or second for tandem parking purposes. I recently had a listing where my seller had the first designated tandem spot, next to the wall. The designated second car was an older car that had a stick shift, with the stick on the wheel – how long has it been since you saw one of those?
When my client (represented by another agent) originally bought her condo, it was disclosed that her spot was tandem but it was not clearly disclosed (according to my client) that it was a designated tandem spot. She did not realize that she would have to move the other car whenever she left the garage if the other car was there (which it usually was). She was surprised when she went to exchange keys with the owners of the other spot and they informed her that they would only give her their keys since they would never be moving her car. They didn’t have to, since they had the designated spot next to the garage door!
As you can imagine, properties on the market that have tandem spots usually take longer to sell since most people don’t want to be in a situation where they have to move another person’s car to get out of the garage. It also lowers the value of the property.
Here’s another thing to pay attention to with respect to parking: make sure you know which spot you get! I had a client, a potential buyer, who was told that the unit in which she was interested had a specific (non-tandem) parking spot, however the spot on the title report and the condo map was actually a different one. For some reason, no one had noticed this for several sales before hers. I made my client aware that the spot in the garage she was told would be hers by the listing agent was not her legal spot. I additionally told her that if she sold one day, of course she could only sell her legal spot.
That is why, as a buyer, you must make sure you understand the nature of your parking spot, whether your car fits and whether the spot you are told belongs to the unit you are buying is the same as the one on the condo map. If you need a knowledgeable, diligent agent to wade through parking issues (or anything else!) with you, please do not hesitate to contact me. 🙂