BRRRR my detached garage?

6 Replies | Orlando, Florida

Greetings Bigger Pockets universe. My girlfriend and I recently bought our first home in the Colonialtown North area of Orlando. For those unfamiliar with the area, there are many duplexes, townhomes, and detached multi-family properties interspersed with single-family homes. Our property is zoned R-2a with a detached garage behind the main property. We are walking distance to many restaurants, bars, coffee, grocery, and more. I am hoping to get some advice regarding a detached garage conversion/addition to turn my single-family home into a house hacking situation. 

Okay, so I know I am not "buying" the garage as I already own it but I was hoping to analyze this as if it were a BRRRR deal. For example, I would hope to rehab the garage into a 1 bed/1ba 500 sq foot unit, rent it out, refinance my home, and then (hopefully) pull most of my construction costs back out of the deal.

I am hoping to get some feedback. What are the pitfalls here? Is there a version of this approach that makes more sense? Is my capital best deployed elsewhere? Would love to hear from agents who sell homes in Colonialtown, agents who sell detached multi-family in Orlando, or investors who have experience in this domain. 

Hi @Samuel Leatherwood That's a tough thing to analyze. There are several things to consider and I'll touch on a couple thing to think about. Since you are in Orange County, you'll want to consider the future use. If you sell the property down the road, will that set up appeal to the new owner...are there many other conversions in the neighborhood that would affect your property comping well? how will an appraiser value the property..as an income-producing property or just a house with a conversion with little justified value? Mother-in-law suites/Multi-generational homes are sought after in this market.

If you don't use a GC and get permits pulled and do it properly and when you go to do the "R(refinance) portion of your BRRR, they may not give enough value to it or not consider it at all.

What are you doing for plumbing, are you tying it into the main house, putting a septic? Have you costed out running enough electric to run appliances and a/c(split system?). Since this is detached, your costs to run these items may prove too much for the worth. If converting the garage, what does that do to the parking situation for you (main house) and the tenant. Is there street parking or a double driveway?

Just a couple things to think about, I'm interested to see other responses and points of view. Reach out if you'd like to talk more. Good luck.

Hey @Shawn McCormick ! As far as having conversions for the sake of comps, I know there are some but I was hoping to make it appraise more as an ADU than a garage conversion. There are quite a few examples of similarly sized properties with two units on it. Is there a way to speak with an appraiser beforehand so that you can make sure to check the boxes on their list?

And yes, if we were to go through with this strategy we would use a GC and do it all properly. The previous owner was an investor and they left blueprints for a garage conversion that resulted in a 784 sq foot unit behind our current unit. The estimated costs for that conversion were a little over budget so I was considering a smaller conversion. 

In regards to plumbing and electric: It is my understanding there is already sufficient electric (separate panel) and there are water lines coming in but I believe we would have to connect the drain lines to the sewer. Yes, there is street parking but no double driveway. 

Thanks for taking the time to reach out and giving me details to ponder, Shawn. 

@Samuel Leatherwood . Sounds like you did some homework, good for you. Appraisers are so busy and likely wouldn't do anything as it would be too subjective if its not built yet. They go off of factual, actual data and even though much is opinion based, they still would want to see it and then compare to other similar. You might get a desktop appraisal done to include finished properties but still wouldn't hold up if you used it to show actual value.

Hope this helps. Keep us updated please.

Yes, you have been helpful. If I move forward with the idea I will keep you posted. I plan to make a move sometime this year on a rental property but which method is still up for debate. It will likely depend on what sort of deals I find in the next 3-6 months. Maybe we can chat sometime @Shawn McCormick !

Originally posted by @Samuel Leatherwood :

Greetings Bigger Pockets universe. My girlfriend and I recently bought our first home in the Colonialtown North area of Orlando. For those unfamiliar with the area, there are many duplexes, townhomes, and detached multi-family properties interspersed with single-family homes. Our property is zoned R-2a with a detached garage behind the main property. We are walking distance to many restaurants, bars, coffee, grocery, and more. I am hoping to get some advice regarding a detached garage conversion/addition to turn my single-family home into a house hacking situation. 

Okay, so I know I am not "buying" the garage as I already own it but I was hoping to analyze this as if it were a BRRRR deal. For example, I would hope to rehab the garage into a 1 bed/1ba 500 sq foot unit, rent it out, refinance my home, and then (hopefully) pull most of my construction costs back out of the deal.

I am hoping to get some feedback. What are the pitfalls here? Is there a version of this approach that makes more sense? Is my capital best deployed elsewhere? Would love to hear from agents who sell homes in Colonialtown, agents who sell detached multi-family in Orlando, or investors who have experience in this domain. 

 Hey Sam,

I love the idea of what you want to do here. I actually just completed turning a single family house into a built-in ADU (sort of duplex) so I know exactly what you are about to go through. As long as you permit it correctly you should be fine. Central Florida actually has pretty decent legislation for building in law suites, ADU's and additional structures so the permitting on your part shouldn't be too difficult.

I'm about to get my GC license here in the next month or 2. If you wanted another set of eyes on the garage apartment before you get started reach on to me on here and maybe I could stop by your home and give you some pointers. You actually can pull permits yourself if you live in the home.

Happy Housing,

Matt

Hey @Matt Nico ! It is great to hear from someone in the area who has experience converting SFH to multi-family. Thank you for the info regarding the permits and legislation. That is very helpful.

Are you primarily in Lakeland or do you float around throughout Central Fl? 

Congratulations on your GC journey. If I move into the next phase of this plan I will be sure to keep you in mind. 

I spend a lot of time researching the bungalows surrounding the urban core of Orlando so if you are ever considering anything in those areas I would love to be of help to you in the future. Keep in touch.