Thanks for your time and answers. I am actually looking new (less than 8 years old) townhomes in waltham, belmont, newton area (under 430K). I liked the new construction on Brattle St. (2 car garage) but I guess there is an ambulance service station right next to the TH's. I also like the new construction in Belmont and concord but they dont have any garages (so not sure about the resale). Can you guys suggest any other good areas near waltham? Thanks!
It is all relative. Yes a garage will increase the value as far as assessment and appraisal thus making it worth more. It can make the differance between someone making an offer or not. But in the end, It will always be location, condition, asking price and current market conditions that will determine the sale price of any home.
If your looking for how much value added to your home, tha will depend on the rest of the neighborhood. if none of the other houses have garages and you throw one on you may be over improved for your neighborhood and probably won't get as much of a increase as it cost you to build it. However, if your strategy is to sell faster then having the garage does increase the pool of potental buyers. I have many times had a buyer tell me that they only want to look at house with garages. I have NEVER had a buyer tell me that they only want to look at houses without garages.
Selling your home is a numbers game. The more potential buyers you entice for a walk-thru, the faster you will sell your home given you meet the other two parts of the home selling trinity: price and condition. The vast majority of today's buyers are looking for a home with a two or even three car garage. Because of this, many will discount your home from their short-list without having seen it for lack of a garage. This makes your job much tougher as a seller.
Based upon my experience a garage is quite important. But there are many factors that can effect this. Price range is one issue. If you are talking say $400K+ not just a garage but probably three car is often important. On the other hand go do to the below $150K range and a gargage may become less important. Also age makes a difference. Most ramblers in the 40-50's are going to have one car garage... some attached some not. A lot of tract homes built in 50's 60's may have had a garage at one time but now it is part of the home (usually a family room) and if the neighborhood is similar it may not make that much difference. Finally In Washington State where I live we get a lot of snow and a garage may be more important than in say San Francisco where they don't. In short it all depends upon your area, neighborhood and price range/amenities. But as a general rule your better with one than without.
I can't point you to any surveys that focus on your question, but I can tell you the where I am most of the buyers who are the the market for a home do prefer a garage. So having a garage in resale home seems to help.