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Should a house without parking be a deal breaker?

Should a house without parking be a deal breaker?

I’m going to make a bold statement: just because you own a car doesn’t mean you have to buy a house with parking. In fact, you may end up saving money by buying a property without a parking spot.

At one point in time, I said I would never buy a house that didn’t have parking, but that’s exactly what I ended up doing, and for the time that I owned the house, finding parking wasn’t ever a problem - and it was smack dab in the middle of downtown.

It’s pretty common to find homes in the older part of Toronto being sold without dedicated parking because the homes were built before cars were ever a consideration. For many years, homeowners solved the problem by converting their lawns into front pad parking. The problem is that front pad parking comes with drainage issues, aesthetic problems (they’re ugly) and the fact that every new parking pad effectively removes at least one street parking spot.

There is currently a moratorium on new parking pads in the old city of Toronto. Homeowners outside the city can apply for permission to build a parking pad, but it often takes years.

Fun fact: You may buy a home with a licensed front parking pad, but the license does not follow the property. You’ll have to apply to have the license agreement transferred.

There are obvious benefits to having a parking spot, including not having to circle the block, hunting for a spot. As well, people feel it’s safer to park their car right by their house, but let’s be honest, if someone’s going to break into your car or steal it, a few steps either way isn’t going to deter them. Many years ago, I owned a house in prime Cabbagetown that had laneway access to parking and the car was broken into four times – so having a parking spot is no guarantee that your vehicle is safe!

How can buying a home or condo without parking save you money? Keeping in mind that most people own their homes or condos for 3-7 years; paying monthly for a parking spot is going to cost you far less than the actual cost of buying a parking space or the price differential between homes with or without parking. While it’s true that having a dedicated parking spot or two can add re-sale value and that having a house without parking can limit the people who will even come to see your house, it’s going to cost you more upfront, if not also in the long run.

According to MPAC, a house with a parking spot is valued at about 3% more than a home without one. And a condo will cost between $40K and $100K more with a parking spot, depending on the building and your neighbourhood. If your budget is stretched, are you going to get more use out of additional space or some pavement? In addition to the money for the parking spot in a condo building, your maintenance fees are also going to be higher, as much as $80-100 per month on average.

Street parking is available almost everywhere in the city and it’s only $300/yr, including HST. If you’re considering buying a home without parking, you should check with the city to make sure there isn’t a waiting list for that street. In that case, it’s possible to get a temporary permit for surrounding streets in your neighbourhood.

Many condos are being built with reduced amounts of parking. In fact, some new developments have no parking at all! Reducing the number of parking spots being built increases the cost per spot as the builders still have to dig – and the cost is spread out amongst fewer spots, making them more expensive.

The reality is that buying a property without a parking spot is less expensive in the long run and you can end up with extra money in your pocket when all is said and done. If you don’t own a car, it’s an easy decision. If you do own a car, you have to figure out your priorities and whether the convenience is worth it to you.

The main exception is if you’re buying a condo as an investment – condos with parking command higher rents and if the tenant doesn’t want the spot, you can rent it out for $100-$200 per month, maybe even more.

If you have any questions about the pros and cons about parking spots, please get in touch!