I’VE SPENT the last few weekends trawling the classifieds and the obscurely written online ads, followed up by the inevitable phone calls and bartering over prices. Only it isn’t cars I’ve been looking at this time.
After scrimping and saving for what feels like an eternity I’m finally looking to grow up a bit and get on the property ladder. Obviously I’m looking for something that isn’t going to fall apart after six months and isn’t located four hours away from the office, but the added complication of being a petrolhead and a classic car owner means I’m also looking for something that seems to have slipped off the radar as far as the rest of the property market’s concerned.
Yes, I want a garage. They used to use these quaint old facilities back in the days of Pathe newsreels for the storage of your grandad’s Morris 1000, but in 2017 you might as well be asking for the property to come with an outside bog and a front parlour. Which means that virtually every “garage” I’ve been to see has been anything but.
One I looked at had an extended living room built across its front half, meaning its entrance had effectively been reduced to three feet wide. Another had been converted into a music room, complete with layers of soundproofing on every wall. Brilliant for attacking a Triumph Dolomite’s undersides with an angle grinder without ever annoying the neighbours, or at least it would’ve been had the entire front end not been bricked up and finished off with a standard, person-sized door. My particular favourite was a promising up-and-over door that lifted to reveal a garage that met a concrete wall four feet later, making the Little Tikes Cozy Coupe just about the only car capable of fitting inside. On the other side of that wall was a gym, just in case you’re interested.
But what united each and every one of the homeowners was their genuinely perplexed reaction when I told them what I wanted to use a garage for – surely you’d have to be INSANE to put a car inside, wouldn’t you? Why would you want to waste all those exercise facilities and recording studios on somewhere to store a vehicle?
I’ve genuinely lost count of the hours I’ve spent going to look at houses advertised as having garages that are anything but. I appreciate that even the newer ones are going to struggle accommodating something like a Nissan Qashqai, but they should be able to swallow something sensibly-sized without the need to knock down concrete walls. Is it wrong to expect anything less of a garage?
I’m so cross about it that I might actually construct a mood room in my new house where I can rant about the subject in peace. Obviously, I know just the place to put it…