While garages are very useful parking and storage spaces, there are times when it feels like they’re better off used for something else, like an additional bedroom for family or entertainment room for guests. If you’ve ever felt this way, you’re not alone.
Some homeowners convert their garage into something more useful for them. Some turn them into a playroom for their children. Some turn them into an additional bedroom for their aging parents. Some turn them into an office so they can work at home.
Truth be told, the possibilities are endless. But before you could convert that garage into a more useful space, there are a few things you will need to consider. Here they are:
Ask yourself if you really need it
Before converting your garage, you will need to realize that in exchange for something you think is more important, you will need to let go of two important things as well: parking space and storage. With this in mind, ask yourself:
- Am I willing to park my car outside the home in exchange for a new game room?
- Can I park my car outside, or does the Home Owners Association HOA prohibit it?
- I won’t have space to store my things; is that worth having a home office for?
- Are there other areas of the home I can use for what I plan to do with my garage?
Your garage, with its wide floor space, could be the additional living space you need. Or it could simply be the storage and parking space you actually need even more. Don’t decide on a whim; think about it carefully.
What do you plan to turn it into?
Now that you have decided to transfer your things to the basement or storage shed and park your car outside the house, what do you plan to do with your garage?
You can convert your garage into any kind of living space: a playroom for the kids, an additional bedroom for your teenagers, a family room for those bonding sessions, a studio apartment for guests, or a hobby room where you can exercise creativity.
You can do these and more, provided you comply with building codes and local ordinances. Contact your city’s Zoning Department, as well as your HOA, to ask for information related to your planned conversion.
Can you afford to convert it?
Now that you’re sure that your plans are allowed by the Zoning Department and the neighborhood, you will need to check your funds if you can actually afford to proceed as you planned.
Converting your garage goes beyond dismantling that garage door and repainting interior walls. You will need to secure a garage conversion permit, purchase materials, and hire professional help in case your plans aren’t as easy as you initially thought.
You will need more than just garage door insulation to keep the new room warm during winter. You will need to spend for cooling and heating, electric components, additional windows and doors, and even plumbing if needed. It’s quite costly.
Conversion costs will vary depending on the size of your garage and the type of room you want to turn it into. A simple room with no bathroom, for example, will cost significantly less than an apartment with its own kitchen and separate bathroom.
The cost will also vary depending on the amount your hired professional help will charge you.
Will it add value to your home?
Since garage conversions are costly, the next big question really is, “will it add value to my home?” The answer is both “yes” and “no.”
Home remodelling projects, including garage conversions, typically add value to the home. The more seamless and excellent the conversion, and the more compliant it is with building codes and local ordinances, the higher the value.
Converting your garage, however, can lower your home’s value in the following scenarios:
- You lose precious parking space, especially in a neighborhood where parking on the street is discouraged or prohibited;
- You lose storage space. The value is even lower if your home lacked enough storage space to begin with;
- You didn’t secure permits before converting your garage. This is illegal, and will cause your home’s resale value to drop.
Done properly, your garage conversion will add significant value to your home, depending on your location. What’s more, you can recoup up to 80% of conversion costs at resale.
Are you ready to convert your garage?
If, after going through these factors, you decide to proceed with your plan, go and have fun converting your garage. It is your home, after all, and you get to call the shots.