If you've recently bought a home that has no carport or garage, you may not have thought much about it at the time of purchase. Once you move in you soon realize just how useful a carport or garage is, especially if you're used to having one. They not only protect your vehicles from the weather, they're a great place to store all those things that you don't want in the house.

Moving again would cost a fortune in stamp duty, so your best option is to add one. But will you choose a carport or a garage, a single or a double? Cost isn't a huge factor because a double version of either can be purchased for around $3000 and a single carport for just a little over $2000. Here are some of the other things you'll need to consider:

  • The available space -- if the most logical place to position the carport is at the side of the house between the wall of your house and the fence, then you may well be limited to a single carport or garage. If the only available position is at the front of the house, it's quite likely you won't want a double garage blocking light to the front windows of your home -- and there's a good chance your local Council wouldn't let you put it there.
  • Car protection -- your vehicles are an expensive asset and deserve good protection from the weather, even if
    they're not that new. Often a carport is adequate protection but this can depend on where it is positioned in regard to the sun. Some strong colored vehicle paints seem prone to fading over the years so if yours is one of these, a garage might be preferable.
  • Do you need additional storage space? If you have a lot of tools or other items you were storing in a shed or garage at your last home, you'll be finding it exceptionally inconvenient not having a garage. Of course, if you prefer the idea of a carport, then a carport for the car and a small garden shed for storage might do the trick.
  • Aesthetics! Everyone wants their home to look nice from the street. Consider whether a garage next to the house might make it look crowded or bland. If you like a big of greenery a carport can be dressed up with flowering vines and blend into the surrounding garden.
  • Security is also a consideration. If you have an expensive vehicle or tools that are likely to be attractive to thieves, you should be leaning towards a garage so you can secure them adequately.
  • Alternatives! Sometimes your different requirements clash -- for example, it might be very important to you to protect the paint on your car, but the only place for parking is in front of your lounge room window. Explore all your options -- could you use a good quality car cover for additional protection?
  • Restrictive covenants -- if the home is very new, the land developers may have placed a restrictive covenant in place that requires any garage or carport to hold at least two vehicles, or that any detached garage be no more than around 20 meters square. That could put a damper on your plans -- but usually restrictive covenants of that type are only in force for a few years.

Whether you're leaning towards a carport or garage, always check with your local Council first -- there may be restrictions on where you can place it and it's likely you'll have to submit the supplied plans for approval.