When space gets tight, crowded homeowners might think about converting their garage into livable space. And, in this age of VRBO and Airbnb, a converted garage may be a way for them to bring in extra money.
Sounds like a no-brainer solution to get additional space or additional income, right? No really. There are pros and cons that should definitely be explored before you undertake this type of renovation.
Your starting point is to find out the Zoning and Legal issues involved for such a transformation. Changing space meant for vehicles into habitable, safe, and conditioned living space invokes technical and legal standards that were not required when the space only housed vehicles. On top of that most building codes require permits to construct, enlarge, alter, repair, change the occupancy, and to install any electrical or plumbing system.
According to a RE/MAX article (https://www.remax.com/blog/the-pros-and-cons-of-converting-a-garage-to-a-living-space), here are the Pros and Cons they suggest o consider before making a garage conversion.
Make the most of what you have
In the era of ride sharing services, many young professionals are choosing to downsizing by opting for public transit over car ownership. In that case, the unused garage is much easier to convert to a functional living space than dealing with the expense and hassle of an expansion.
Help Pay Down Mortgage
Looking to rent a room out in your home to help pay down your mortgage? According to a survey performed by HomeAdvisor, millennial homeowners are 39 percent more likely to renovate a garage compared to all other homeowners that can allow them to create a usable living space while building equity.
No Loss of Yard
Building an addition means more living space but less yard for children to play and for outdoor activities like barbecuing. Expanding into the garage preserves yard space.
Structure Already Built
While a garage conversion does require a significant amount of carpentry work, much of the structure (walls, ceiling, roof, and flooring) is already in place.
Do It Yourself
While a rigorous and difficult project, a garage conversion can be done on a do-it-yourself basis, given enough time. Contrast this with building a detached addition, which is rarely ever done on a do-it-yourself basis.
Loss of Storage Space
Many homeowners use their garage for additional storage, so before you make the decision to alter the space, make sure you have a plan for your storage needs. Better yet, downsize your possessions for a little more breathing room throughout your home.
Future Buyers Wants and Needs
Before you convert a garage, make sure to do your homework on your neighborhood. What is selling? Are garages sought after by home buyers? If you are looking for answers to these questions, or are concerned about the resale value of your home, make sure to consult a full-time, experienced real estate agent for advice. With extra training and knowledge – like knowing if the square footage of a garage count towards the total square footage of the house – your real estate agent is there to help you.
Loss of Storage
Keep in mind that garages are used for more than just parking cars. Garages are places where we store lawn mowers, Christmas decorations, bicycles, rolled-up rugs, decommissioned children’s toys, and other large items that will not fit (or should not fit) in our homes. Even if you don’t mind getting rid of this storage room, subsequent buyers of your home probably will mind.
Garage Conversion – Home Value Gain
Most real estate experts report that a garage conversion is a net-zero proposition in terms of increasing property value. On one hand, you do gain extra living space, but expanded space due to a garage conversion tends to be space that few buyers place a premium on. And, many buyers do place a premium on protected parking space which is lost with a garage conversion.
Bottom Line: Before you convert a garage, make sure to do your homework on your neighborhood. Find out what is selling. Find out if garages are sought after by home buyers. Find out the zoning and legal issues.