Convert garage to living room + kitchen

10 Replies

Hello BP family, I'm in the process of closing my house in NE Tacoma, WA. The house has 2bd+1bth on the upper level, and 2bd+.75bth on the lower level. We're planning to convert the 2 cars garages into a living room and wet-bar/kitchen so we can rent out the lower as a separate unit while we're living on the upper level ( me, my wife and a 3 y.o daughter).

This is my first time doing house hacking/remodeling, so I'm looking for feedback, suggestions, and recommendation for contractors/handymen. Is there anything I should watch out for? Do you think by converting garage to living space will increase or decrease the resell value of my house?

Thanks so much for being the most kind and welcoming community on the internet.

if you do this project , make sure all  appropriate  permits  / steps are in place so that if you do resell it  in the future - you wont have an issue  with un- permitted  work ?

how much will project cost?  how will you fund the project ?

Thanks @Ruth Bayang and @Dave Skow for your suggestions. The property will have a small cashflow as is. So I'd expect that after we done with the project and live in it for a few years, it'll still be cash-flowing. I'm planning to spend about 10K into this project with my saved money. I can do the work myself to save money, but since I want to make sure that the project is permitted and done properly, I'd probably need to find a contractor for it. 

We had one done to a circa 1950's home. The 2.5 car garage became a large kitchen & living room. The old kitchen/1.5bath & dining room then became the ground level master with an ensuite bath. We already had 3 large bedrooms & full bath upstairs so we added an ensuite laundry.

BUT a 3.5 car coach house was added beyond the old garage with a 15x30 games room also added above the coach house. Never vacant & rents in a heartbeat.

@Vu Nguyen I have seen many investors convert homes like you are thinking of doing into a permitted duplex. This could definitely raise the value of your property, but honestly I have no idea the specifics of your property so I'm just shooting in the dark. It is a good idea though. Plenty of properties in Seattle don't have a garage

Make sure your insulation, weatherproofing, and framing are up to snuff - a lot of garages are built cheap and drafty, and you'll definitely want to address that before investing in finished space.

Drylock/seal the concrete. It might not need it but do it anyway, water is cruel. 

Do you already have water and sewer access, or are you running new pipe? Where's the panel, and do you have 3-4 open knock outs? 


I'd double check your budget - 10 K would be cheap for an under the table handyman conversion, and its not even close to what it would cost permitted with a legitimate licensed contractor. 

@Vu Nguyen putting living area, which includes kitchen plumbing, in a garage will probably require cutting through the slab, trenching for plumbing, new concrete (including potential rebar doweling, vapor barriers, gravel, insulation, etc). As other have mentioned, insulating the slab as well as walls will get costly. You are easily looking at a 60-70k job, if not more

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