Rethinking the garage: Wish lists include lifts, EV chargers

For some luxury buyers on this Father’s Day, garages play an important role in a new home’s custom design and when they’re looking for an existing luxury home on the market.

While having a home built for entertainment with a large great room and backyard and pool are important elements with the kitchen and master bedrooms, there are men, and some women, who want an air-conditioned spot to keep their sedan, sports utility vehicle, sports cars, classic cars or recreational vehicles in good condition. For some, it also serves as a man cave to hang out on the couch and watch a ballgame with their buddies. Others use it as a workshop or a basketball court if they are large enough with high ceilings.

“Garages are more well-thought out than ever before,”said Kristen Routh-Silberman, a luxury Realtor with Douglas Elliman. “It’s no longer a garage where you just want to close your door. They are reworking and rethinking that space to have more viability. They want extra roomy garages that are an extension of the house.”

Luxury Realtor Ivan Sher, owner of IS Luxury, said he is seeing a push for more garage space from people buying existing homes and ones with air conditioning and ones with car lifts if it’s a smaller home. Electric car chargers are more important than ever and sought out, he added.

“When you have these expensive cars with how warm it gets in Vegas, people like to come in and out of their car,” Sher said. “They don’t like it to be 95 degrees in the garage.”

Any homes at $10 million and higher are expected to have garages that hold five to six cars at least, Sher said.

Luxury Realtor Zar Zanganeh, managing director of The Agency, said garages are important to more affluent buyers because they tend to have multiple cars. He has a listing in the Ten Oaks community with two separate garages that when combined hold more than 20 cars.

“It has a five-car garage attached to the house and a detached building that is double height where you can bring a tour bus through,” Zanganeh said. “It has a loft space and a workstation and fits about two dozen cars.”

Nowadays, garages are in the top five of the conversation among buyers who continue to come from Southern California, where it’s a car culture and having multiple cars is as part of a status symbol, Zanganeh said.

“They have a daily car they use, a luxury car to go out in the evening and sports car they drive on the weekend,” Zanganeh said. “And often their teenagers have vehicles. They don’t want to crowd their driveway and make the house look bad by having a bunch of cars parked in front of it. They love the luxury of fitting a lot of cars in their garage.”

Because existing homes don’t have as much garage space as people would like, buyers are turning to new construction if garages are that important to them, Zanganeh said.

“I think it continues to be a higher and higher priority across the board,” said Tyler Jones, the founder of luxury builder Blue Heron. “There’s different floor coverings, epoxies, integrated mats and full-on built-out workshops for people who are tinkering on their toys in the garages. There’s definitely display garages — show garages where you can see the cars through the front door, the office or another place in the house. That’s being requested more.”

Four-car garages are standard for luxury production homes, and it’s five or six spaces on the custom homes at a minimum, Jones said. Blue Heron is building garages in The Summit Club and MacDonald Highlands that can fit 16 to 18 cars, including having a view into the garage from the interior of the home.

“It is a prominent part of the home design and integrated into the whole experience,” Jones said. “It’s not a garage off to the side but connected into living spaces.”

Blue Heron has built an underground garage with a glass door from the entrance courtyard that looks down into it with views from inside the house. There are LED lights programmable to change color with music for parties, Jones said.

In MacDonald Highlands, Jones said he’s building an 18-car garage in a boomerang shape with a man cave in the middle that features a pool table, bar and living space immersed in it with glass walls where you can see vehicles in every direction.

“We’re doing mirrors inside the garages to reflect all of the cars and the lights,” Jones said. “We have a garage coming online (in MacDonald Highlands) that has a whole city view. You pull into the garage, and there’s a pocket door looking out directly to the city and mountains.”

The oversized luxury garages tend to be sought by high-net-worth people who own multiple homes across the U.S., Jones said. He said he sees new-car collections of Ferraris and Lamborghinis, special SUVs and off-road vehicles and to a lesser degree classic cars.

The Las Vegas luxury marketplace has taken off since the start of the pandemic as buyers seek new expanded spaces and take advantage of the low-tax climate and growing entertainment options Las Vegas has to offer.

More than half of the people who seek elite custom homes want garages larger than four vehicles, Jones said. It could add $1 million to $1.5 million to the cost above a four-car garage, he said.

“The overall value and price of luxury real estate continues to increase at a healthy clip,” Jones said. “People are spending more on their homes and investing in all of the special things they want. As the luxury real estate market in Las Vegas continues to go to the higher level, I think the cars that go with that lifestyle and level of wealth.”

Blue Heron built in MacDonald Highlands has a garage with glass walls, which makes it look like you are driving into the kitchen and living room. Another in MacDonald Highlands doubles not only as a garage holding eight to 10 cars but a basketball court, Jones said.

“We are working on some things that aren’t ready for public consumption yet,” Jones said. “We are always trying to stay one step ahead. We’re known as the innovators. We take that seriously and always try to come up with a new take on different design elements. If you can think it up, we can pretty much do it. It’s just a matter of what the cost is.”

Routh-Silberman has noticed when it comes to luxury homeowners that men tend to collect cars and watches while women collect jewelry and shoes. She cited one garage in MacDonald Highlands that has a Ferrari hanging off the wall.

“Garages are still very important, and I think that after COVID, more things are important, too, like outdoor space, courtyards and gyms,” Routh-Silberman said. “They want extra roomy garages and an extension of the house. They are expensive cabinetry. There’s an interest in six cars at the minimum.”

Routh-Silberman said she has an upcoming listing in MacDonald Highlands for more than $10 million that includes two garages, one attached to the home with four cars and another holding 12 cars in a detached building that also has a game room and whiskey loft.

“What has changed is there’s a definite refinement of a garage and making it wider and deeper and as beautiful as a closet,” Routh-Silberman said.

Dan Coletti, the owner of luxury custom builder Sun West Custom Homes, owns a home in The Ridges with a 1,250-square-foot attached garage that can hold six vehicles and a second detached garage measuring 1,100 square feet that can hold four. He has the space to store power tools, welder, metal cutters and grinding machines where he works on projects.

“I have a cool home in MacDonald Highlands we’re building that has a four-car garage on the main level and four-car garage on the lower level on a tiered lot,” Coletti said. “The lower level is where the good stuff is, and the main level is for everyday driving.”

Not everyone in Las Vegas, however, sees the same trend with their upper-end clients.

Gavin Ernstone, broker/owner of Simply Vegas, said he doesn’t think garages are important as they should be for luxury houses, even though he is a car collector himself with nine cars. He finds only a small percentage of his luxury buyers want an oversized garage.

“I have one house that has a great garage, seven cars with lifts in it and a pocket door opening up the courtyard, but with few exceptions of people who have car collections, it’s not that high on people’s want lists,” Ernstone said.

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