Do I need to buy a parking spot?

Do I need to buy a parking spot?

Whether you want a parking space for your own wheels or you’re thinking about making a little extra cash by renting it to someone else, do the math up front. Parking spots often get sold separately from the unit and can cost anywhere from $10K - $150K depending on the building. (However they can also be incorporated into the selling price of the condo, so be sure to confirm that first.)

But first, ask yourself this: do you really need a car if you live downtown? Living in the core means great walkability and access to transit. Don’t forget Uber and Lyft – and all the food delivery services that will drop dinner/groceries off right at your door. And if you do need a car, there’s always Zipcar or TURO. A lot of buildings have car shares close by (or right in the building), and they’re pretty reasonably priced at around $7/month for a membership and hourly rate of around $8 - $12. Plus, many include bike lockers so you don’t have to store a bike in your living room.

But whether you have a car or not, there are some benefits to having a parking spot:

It can add to the value of your unit. Having a spot associated with your unit can boost it by as much as 5-10% – and even more in areas where parking is limited.

You can rent it out. Don’t have a car? Use the spot as an income earner, just check with the condo board to see if that’s allowed.

You recoup your money when you sell. Put off by the idea of spending $25,000 for a place to leave your Kia? You’re not alone. You can always rent a spot from someone else and not have to worry about a big up-front cost. But keep this in mind: on average, it costs $150 a month or more to rent a spot downtown, and they can be hard to come by. So do you want to pay a lot up front and get it back (and then some) down the road? Or spend less but have nothing to show for it at the end?

There are also a couple of reasons why you might decide against buying a spot:

It comes with its own maintenance fee. Yep, there’s a monthly fee involved, just like you pay for your actual condo, so factor in that you’ll be paying more than the sticker price.

You’ll spend less if you rent. If a spot is worth $50K (which with today’s rates, works out to be about $225 a month plus $50+ maintenance fee), you’re looking at $275 to $300 a month as a cost of ownership. Renting, on the other hand, will run you $150-250, depending on the building. But that rented spot isn’t guaranteed, and you could be left with a spot if the owner sells or gets their own car.

The answer depends on your lifestyle, your needs and your financial goals. And you can always talk to your Condo Pro to get their take – they may have insights you haven’t even thought of.

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