You start your home search with a parking space as part of your criteria. And then you see the perfect condo, but it has what’s defined as “leased parking.” What’s that all about?
The SF Realtor Association changed the data fields in the MLS a few years ago to include leased parking and its related details in a given listing. Previously, you either had some type of deeded parking, or not. Some agents indicated “1L” in the data field, which resulted in listings showing a parking space that technically wasn’t going to be sold with the unit. So the leased parking fields are a good thing, in my opinion.
When it comes to parking, either you have a space included or not. There are variations on parking that comes with a unit, such as deeded, assigned, tandem or independent style.
A leased space is not included in the purchase price, and it doesn’t run with the property. The seller typically has leased the space for a while, or has just secured it so the property can be marketed with a solution to the no-parking objection. The seller has a signed agreement with a third party, and that third party also has to approve the buyer if the lease is to be transferred to the new owner.
Leased parking can be in a private garage or even a public parking garage. You’ll want to visit the space and consider the distance to and from your unit. If the space is in a parking lot, know that someday that lot may be a condo development.
Most importantly, there is no guarantee that the leased space will be available throughout your ownership, or that you’ll be able to transfer the lease in the future. But having a leased space available addresses immediate concerns (i.e., where am I going to park?!). Neighborhoods that have major parking challenges—the Mission, Russian Hill, the Haight, Hayes Valley, to name a few—often also have leased parking available, and securing that lease may entice some buyers to move ahead with a purchase.
So if you’re considering a property that has leased parking, just know that there is no guarantee you’ll have that space forever. It’s also a good idea to get a sense for how available other leased spaces are in a particular location, in the event you someday have to replace that space. And also note the monthly cost of that space, because it will be in addition to HOA dues, too, if you’re purchasing a condo.