Adding Bed/Bath in converted garage - Sacramento, CA

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I'm planning to buy a property that has a converted garage. However, according to me, that space is not well used. So, I am planning to further remodel that space into a master bedroom. It also has a huge laundry area next to it that I am planning to convert to a bathroom. The bathroom will be a substantial expense. Hence, I've a few questions:

- The converted garage is unpermitted. If I further remodel it, what is the worst case scenario I should expect if the city/county come to cracking down?

- If I go to the city/county office and ask for permits for the converted garage and submit my plans for further remodel, any vague idea on how much time and money it might cost me, in addition to all the actual work that will be done inside the house?

It is currently a 3 bed 1 bath house and is priced below the average for its market. Hence, I believe adding another bed and bath would really add value to it. Plus, being a relatively new investor, will teach me a lot about rehabs.

Any input from my fellow experienced BP-ers would be highly appreciated :)


Here's the reality of unpermitted additions in Sacramento... the city performs random inspections of your property through the RHIP. When they find something that doesn't meet code (GFCI outlets missing, no airgap with dishwashers, improper smoke detector/CO Detector height, etc.) they will write you up a laundry list of items you'll need to complete to avoid fines. It is in your best interest to make sure things are permitted and up to building code, or else it could come back to bite. Certain permits can take much longer than others. We have a scenario right now where we're replacing an egress window in a condo and the process has been going on for 6 months jumping through hoops, with multiple inspections, reinspections, and HOA headaches. On the flip side, we've had permits fly through instantly with no hiccups. It's very much case by case, but in my opinion you're best off doing things the right way.

if adding an additional bath or square footage you should always use permits, in the event you want to sell the home and get top dollar for it down the road, you'll need to have those additions permitted or else they won't be accounted for when it comes to the appraisal, a buyer may say sure the bath looks good we will pay as if it is a 3/2 (example) but the appraiser will not appraise it as such and may burn you if you can't get the valuation you need

My advice is to use a permit expediter and ask them which design firms and GC's they like working with.  I use All Access Permits,  Laura Kass.   They can basically tell you what can and can't be done and make sure everything is in order before submitting.   Because they know what they are doing the city and county more or less just stamp what they bring.  In my experience its much easier than watching your architect or draftsman and GC blame each other for mistakes while the clock is ticking on.  It is worth the $300-500 on a small project like this to avoid missteps and headaches.