How much is off-street parking worth?

The big notch carved into the front of Linda Besemer’s  Echo Park property  will  be filled by a four-car garage by the end of the summer.  The artist and Occidental College professor decided to undertake the $150,000 project – which will also include a roof deck and small rec room – after the roof of her 93-year-old, one-car garage collapsed.  With two cars in her household, Besemer was also tired of competing with neighbors for scarce street parking – “It’s like parking wars” – as well as vandalism. While her garage (which will also provide parking for a second house on her lot) will make life more convenient, will it prove a good investment?  Besemer was told  it would not add much value to her home, especially compared  to putting money into a new bathroom or kitchen.  Some real estate agents, however, said that garage might be worth more than she thinks.

Echo Park, like most Eastside neighborhoods,  was developed well before the city required off street parking.   “A lot of houses around here don’t have garages,” said Bessemer, pointing to the homes across the street from her property  The relatively few garages that were built for pre-World War I Craftsman-bungalows and 1920s Spanish Colonial-style cottages were often one-car affairs, which set the stage for today’s “parking wars” that Besemer describes.

It’s hard to say, however, how much extra cash a garage or off-street space is worth when a home comes up for sale, said real estate agents. “I think any time you can add more parking it adds value, especially in an area like Echo Park where finding street parking can be a challenge,” said agent and blogger Rob Kallick via email. “There’s a very nice home on the market in Echo Park right now that has no parking at all which definitely makes it a tougher sale. If they added a parking strip – or a garage – I think that would add value for sure. It’s hard to calculate how much, but it could be the difference between a quick sale and sitting on the market for 60 days or more.”

Dan Ortega, a  Keller Williams agent, said a home without parking will sell but not as much for a similar home with a garage.  “A client of mine passed on a home that only had 1 small garage … everything else was perfect for them [but] they didn’t not want to deal with street parking.”

“So while you may not be able to add a specific amount to the sales price after putting in a garage,” said Ortega in an email, ” it’s certainly worth thinking about.”


  1. Depends on how the garage is designed. If it’s a monolithic wall in front of your house, it detracts from the charm (and value)… I don’t know how you can make a 4car garage blend into the landscape though… also depends on the street, this house is on Effie where parking is harder, on other less-traveled streets the garage value wouldn’t be as high. I’d put plumbing into that rec room and “studio-fy” it for some under-the-table renting.

  2. Love your handle, EasyManEEEasy. Grace Slick, right?

  3. I’d say it probably affects people who have lived in the neighborhood the most. Because if you know the neighborhood you know about the combo of post-6PM parking nightmare + street cleaning situation. Not to mention breakins & vandalism. So when you’re aware of the consequences of no parking spot its a do-or-die feature of the house…

  4. We have a river rock-walled two-car garage the original owners carved out of our frontyard way back in 1916. There’s rarely a day goes by that I’m not thankful for it…. but if I had my way AND won the lottery I’d tear it down and rebuild it wider, and a story taller for a studio. Probably never gonna happen, but I still keep buying Super Lotto tickets.

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