Where Do I Park at My New Home?
While the question of where to park at your new home is a simple one, the answer may not be.
Where you park in your new neighborhood/community depends on a number of factors, and as part of your due diligence BEFORE you buy a new home you want to understand the parking issues in the community or subdivision, and make sure you are OK with them.
NON-HOA RESIDENTIAL PARKING
In our typical residential areas without an HOA it’s likely there are few restrictions on parking, other than those indicated by signage that might be posted (e.g., no parking on street cleaning days; parking limited to 2 hours between certain hours) or local/town ordinances. And of course be careful of not parking close to those fire hydrants.
For example, in our area if the road has a bike lane (these are clearly marked) you are not permitted to park on that public street where you would block the bike lane, although there is no signage to that effect – you just need to know this.
No Parking areas hopefully will, but may not, be clearly designated by signage.
And in some neighborhoods you may see painted curbs common in urban areas that are not just residential and areas designated as fire lanes where parking is prohibited. Here in California a red curb means no parking, stopping, or standing; green = parking for a limited time, often 20 minutes max; white = stop to drop off or load only; blue = parking for disabled only. Parking illegally can net you a hefty fine or perhaps also result in your car being towed.
PARKING IN AN HOA COMMUNITY/COMPLEX
In an HOA community parking can get much more complicated, and restrictive, and it can vary from community to community. Quite frankly some HOA communities have very limited parking, especially for guests.
Some HOAs do not permit overnight parking on the streets, and may even restrict parking to short term on their roads if they are private. While there may be guest parking spaces these may be limited ONLY to guests, and may not be used by residents, and signage may not be apparent.
With guest parking spaces there may be stated time limits on how long one can park there – I’ve seen 24-hour and 72-hour limits for example. I’ve seen some communities where guests must also display a guest parking pass on their dashboard to use guest parking or park on the street.
Some HOAs require that homeowners park in their garages and not in the driveways, which means not using them for storage as is often done. In certain communities homes are built close to the road and there is no actual driveway so the garage is the only option, if on-street parking is not allowed.
HOA communities may also have assigned parking spaces for each unit that are numbered, and garage or car-port parking may be limited, say to 1 space per unit owner. Parking may be deeded to the owner’s unit (check with the Title Company and in the title) or spaces may be assigned by the HOA.
As a potential homeowner in an HOA you will want to verify what the parking is, how many spaces (in addition to a garage) there are, and where they are located.
DO YOU WANT AN ATTACHED GARAGE?
As a homeowner does having an attached garage matter to you?
Better check that, too, in your home search as some communities only offer detached garages, or perhaps only carports (e.g., twin homes at The Crest at Calavera Hills) and the detached garage for your home might not be close to your residence.
The majority of detached single family homes in my area have garages but some older homes may have detached ones. Condominiums and town home communities vary in their parking offerings – there may be a mass garage with assigned spaces, attached 1 or 2-car garages, carports, or only parking spaces.
WHERE DO I PARK MY BOAT OR RV?
If you need parking for a boat or RV you will want to investigate this issue as well. Some private residences may have room for a boat, but parking for an RV is rather rare.
HOA communities sometimes have reserved parking areas for these vehicles but they are often restricted as to number, and there may be a waiting list. In some communities RV/boat parking may cost extra as well. Sometime alternative parking must be elsewhere.
DO YOUR DUE DILIGENCE (SEE VIDEO BELOW)
It cannot be overemphasized to do your due diligence regarding the parking situation, especially in gated and HOA communities, before buying a home. After all there may be limited space and parking can be a premium, and making assumptions about what you get or have access to is risky.
If, for example, homes have 2-car garages, or residents are allotted 2 parking spaces, and you have 3 cars but no driveway you have a problem. Better find out the parking situation before you get too far along in the process, and verify information you see in the listing - a well-placed call to the HOA could save you a headache.
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