Think about the parking before you buy a home

by Dan Krell
© 2012

New HomesIn light of the increased attention of predatory towing in Montgomery County, it’s become apparent that parking is one of those things we often take for granted; parking doesn’t seem to be a consideration until we are hassled about finding a spot to leave our car.  Sure, we may think ahead about parking when we venture downtown or to the metro, but what about when we get home?  Parking can sometimes be a challenge as well as the source of neighbor conflict.  When buying a home, make sure you’re aware of the neighborhood parking conditions.

To ensure that residents have a parking space, many townhome and garden condo communities offer at least one, if not two, reserved parking spaces.  This may sound good, but if your family has multiple cars parking may still be a challenge.  However, if you think parking your extra cars in the unreserved spaces (often labeled “visitor”) solves your problem; consider how many other neighbors who own multiple cars are parking in these spaces as well – which could make the neighborhood feel like you’re parking in a busy downtown area.

Making matters worse, imagine how inconsiderate neighbors or visitors who park in your reserved space can affect your day.  Returning home late in the evening to find an unauthorized car in your reserved space, and no other parking spots available can not only be frustrating but leave you angry and resentful.

Parking issues are not only a phenomenon of high density communities, but can also occur in neighborhoods comprised of single family homes.  Regardless whether you have a driveway or not, off street parking can sometimes be tricky.  Much like the scenario of having an unauthorized car in a reserved parking space: you might encounter situations where people park in your driveway without asking (usually when neighbors have parties), or more often someone blocks the entrance to your driveway making it impossible to leave or enter.

If you’re planning to buy a home, don’t wait until it’s too late to think about parking.  Experts recommend you visit potential homes in the evenings and weekends to see how the parking is impacted when most people are home.  Circumstances that could impact a neighborhood’s parking availability might include recreational and commercial vehicles, as well as a neighbors’ home based businesses.  If you have a chance to interact with some of the neighbors, ask about the parking situation and how the neighborhood copes with parking issues.

Additionally, if you’re considering a home that’s located in a home owners or condo association; the association rules and bylaws are recommended reading.  Familiarize yourself with the rules and bylaws so you know the association parking regulations and how the management company deals with unauthorized vehicles.

In many areas there are parking restricted neighborhoods, like some in Montgomery County MD that are included in the Residential Permit Parking Program, which helps limit non-resident parking in neighborhoods that are impacted by nearby high traffic public areas and facilities.  Ask your real estate agent about obtaining resident and visitor permits as well as asking about the parking situation.

When purchasing a home you should consider the parking conditions, as well as how the neighborhood deals with unauthorized parking.  Many high density communities have strict towing policies, which makes someone think twice about unauthorized parking after being towed.  However, most neighborhoods solely rely on the residents’ thoughtfulness of their neighbors.

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This article is not intended to provide nor should it be relied upon for legal and financial advice. This article was originally published in the Montgomery County Sentinel the week of November 19, 2012. Using this article without permission is a violation of copyright laws. Copyright © 2012 Dan Krell.