In any case, don't buy a house with lots of empty space around it thinking you can add a garage later.
Instead, the key is to first determine whether you are allowed to build a garage on the property. Here are the basic questions you should ask before making an offer on a house without a garage
Am I allowed to build a garage?
Building a garage is not just a matter of having space, it is also a matter of whether or not the local zoning board will allow it.
"You can ask the seller if you can build a garage on the property," says Rachel J. LeFlore, a real estate agent with the Bob & Ronna Group." The seller should have a legal description of the property, including measurements, block and lot numbers and other details from the homeowner's deed."
No matter what the seller says, be sure to check with the local municipality to see what the local zoning laws are. If it is legally possible to build a garage, you still need to do some more homework before getting approval.
"For example, you'll need a land survey to determine property lines," says Latoya Perkins, an agent with Joyner Fine Properties in Chesterfield, Virginia.
The property line will reveal whether you have room to add to the building. Unfortunately, boundaries are not always obvious when visiting a house, especially if there is no privacy fence, retaining wall, row of trees or other natural markers. As a result, it may look like the house has plenty of buildable space, but it doesn't.
What is the size of the garage?
Perhaps you want a modest one-car garage to park your car or charge your electric car. Or maybe you envisage a spacious garage to park two (or more) cars, plus extra living space to create a gym or office down the road.
Either way, there are usually size, height and foundation requirements. However, one of the most important considerations for how big your garage can be is where you intend to build it. You can determine this once you have established the property lines, which in turn will show the property setbacks.
The property setback is the distance your garage must be from the property line or other designated boundary.
"And a proposed new garage will need to determine if the property setback is within the zoning code," says Vincent Colangelo, a Stamford, Connecticut-based architect and strategic architectural consultant with Real Estate Bees.
Your proposed garage cannot conflict with any septic systems, wells or easements.
So before you start buying a house, it's best to decide if a garage is a non-negotiable issue.