Should I do a garage conversion?

17 Replies

I'm flipping a 3 bed 1.5 bath 1206 sqf with attached 2 car garage. My question is if I do a garage conversion to add more living space will it add value or should I spend the money else where. Any feedback would be great.

wow great q, I would say this all depends on the immediately surrounding houses. Do they all hv garages? Is so, may be best to just add or expand that half bath to a full sexy bath w ceramic tub surround. Is all other props hv no garage, might be best to make it a 4/2bth if u can. I typically convert my3bds to 4 bds if I can. Seems to be less competition w 4bdrms as our market hs more 3bds than 4bds. Good luck and if this helps at all pls vote for my post.

Usually appraisers will use a fixed dollar amount for garages...it varies by area, but maybe $5K or $10K. So you'd need to add that in with the cost of doing the work, including running duct work. Then multiply the square footage by the going rate for your area and see whether you'd come out ahead or behind.

What would you do with the space? With a 3/1.5, I'm not sure what you could do with it that would make sense from the buyer's perspective.

You may be able to add some value from an appraisal standpoint, but is it going to be eaten up with extra holding costs or price reduction because buyers don't like that look or want a garage instead of an extra dining room?

Medium logoMichael Seeker MBA, Renting502 | http://www.Renting502.com | Podcast Guest on Show #94

It just depends I think. Some people want the extra room and some want a garage. If it were me. I'd value a garage over an extra room. If I wanted a 4 bedroom, I'd just go buy a 4 bdrm with a garage.

No company avatar mediumBrian Mathews, Brian's Heating and Cooling | [email protected] | 512‑350‑8704 | http://www.brianac.com

Most of the houses around me have some sort of garage. House has small rooms and no dinning room(kitchen is open to living area). Was thinking of making garage into a dinning room and or 4th bed. As for turning half bath to full is it has slab foundation. I think it would cost alot to add plumbing for shower. Any ideas to add value to small house?

What is your biggest buyers group ? 3 Bed 2 bath with a Garage right . That would be my thinking.

I think some buyers get turned off on garage conversions, and would rather it was left as a garage.

I think I'm going to leave the garage as is. Thanks for the help everyone.

I like your decision @Scott Hudson . I said it on another thread a couple of days ago, I don't think I've ever seen a garage/carport conversion to living area that I thought was well done or a good idea. You usually add living area that is inconsistent with the surrounding houses in your neighborhood which means an appraiser will have to make adjustments for your comps. You would also give up an amenity that a lot of people want - covered parking.

I agree whole heartedly with your final decision!

Seems prudent to keep it standard unless the extra space could be an apartment/in law suite. But again, that would only appeal to some buyers. Seems wise to aim center-mass with a flip and have the highest number of suitors.

@Scott Hudson

Good decision and I like what @Robert Leonard said also. I can't recall ever seeing a garage conversions that did not look amatuerish and didn't look like it was a converted garage. The neighborhood and the price range really dictate the garage/no-garage issue. But another factor leading to it being a flip and you want to get in get out and go home.

Your market could be different but I'm an appraiser and I've never seen a conversion add value. Typically the best done ones have a neutral impact at best (i.e. it won't add value). I'd spend the $$ on a nice appliance package, decor, or a T.V. to through into the deal.

thanks for all the help. Im leaving garage as is and using money for better countertops.

4 bedrooms sounds like a little much for a 1200sqft home. 3 bed / 1.5 bath with a 2 car garage sounds pretty ideal to me.

Medium topendlogo gold med2Phil Z., TOP END Properties | 203‑936‑7776 | http://www.rehabhousesinct.com

Again it depends on the property and the area. Buyers want a garage in the areas I deal in. Now to be contrary to the appraiser, all my garage conversions made money and added value, but I wouldn't do it if I couldn't build a new garage. In my old area, 90% of the residents parked outside and didn't put the car in the garage but when they were buying they wanted a garage, period And when selling you have to deduct the value of the garage you don't have.

@Brett K.  I just saw this post. I'm thinking about converting my detached garage (20 ft by 20 ft) into a living space (one bedroom, one bath, w/ kitchenette) also.

I'm leaning towards converting it because 1) I can get at least $900/month to rent this converted unit out. With $25k I have to put in for the conversion, my ROI on should be around 43%!! ($900 * 12 months / $25,000). Would you still advise me against the conversion??

My lot is huge, so I think driveway parking should be fine. With 43% return... am I crazy?? What does everyone else think?

@Benjie DeVera  

Be careful and check with your local zoning office to make sure that a garage apt is legal. 

It may be outright illegal, or you might not meet some other zoning rule including setbacks, off street parking, or even having to upgrade water and sewer lines as well as utilities for the bigger loads.

Benjie that sounds like a killer deal.  That's an animal that really doesn't exist in my town. I'd do it as often as possible as long as it was normal within the market segment.