Garage rent or conversion?

5 Replies

Hi Guys, 

I'm under contract with a triplex in South St. Louis, and it has a nice 2 car garage, not a stick frame one but concrete and stucco. Apparently it is really nice, nice enough that the seller really doesn't want to sell the property, but he's retiring and is offloading all of properties. I say it's apparently nice because he didn't want to let us see the inside, but the outside is in great shape and one of the tenants told us he's been inside and it's "gorgeous and huge" with no interior walls. 

So 2 questions, if you're a landlord in the city, how much rent can you get for a nice 2 car garage from a tenant? I plan on calling around to some PM groups and landlords to ask the same questions, but thought I'd ask in here first. 

The second question is, would it be worth my trouble to try and convert the place into a 4th unit? I know I'd need to add water, sewer, more electric, a kitchen, and walls (at least to wall off a bathroom). The garage is probably a good 550 sq ft, so it'd be a smallish apartment, 1 bed or possibly studio. Rent for a 1 bed or studio would be 550/400 a month in this area. It does have tall ceilings, tall enough that I could convert it to a loft maybe, which would probably bring 550 or 600/month. Thoughts? 



I think it depends on where you are in the city. For my units (which are mostly in South City), tenants won't pay much for offstreet parking even in a nice garage. I can usually get $40 to %50 extra per month for a single car, but most would rather just park on the street. If you can rehab the garage for 15 to 20K, even $400/mo would be almost a 25% return... that's hard to beat anywhere...

I am getting $50/mo for my two car garage in South City.  You might be able to get more, depending on the area.  The conversion of the garage to a 4th unit also kind of depends on what area you are in as well.  500-600 SQ ft is not a very big unit so I think rents would be on the lower end -- maybe $400-$450, unless you are in a better area (Soulard, Benton Park, etc).

Thanks guys, I thought I mentioned it is in Bevo. Mackal i can't believe i didn't math that out 1st. Of course I should evaluate wheter a conversion is worth it after having a contractor bid it out for me. Duh. I'm dumb. 

We rent the garage at our 4-family to our PM for $50/month. I've seen listings of garages for rent anywhere from $50-100 for storage or even $25-40 per side (2-car garage) for tenants to park. Ours has old wood doors that swing out IIRC, so I figure no one is going to park a car in there and it's basically just a self storage unit. We could probably put up dividers and rent it to tenants or list it on Craigslist as storage units and squeeze and extra $20-30/month out of it, but I'm fine renting to someone I trust and not having to deal with the hassle.

If your garage is that nice, seems like the highest and best use would be either 1) Convert it to a 4th unit would be the best return or 2) rent it out to a contractor or someone who needs a nice place to store supplies, tools, etc. and you could probably get above market rent for it and not have to put in any cash to remodel. Seems like you've got a win either way!

@Donald S. I would also consider the increased maintenance for a conversion. Garage maintenance and headaches are fairly minimal compared to a fully functional extra apartment. Maybe you make less on a garage, but the headaches would be comparably lower

$$$ to headaches is a factor I consider daily and try to minimize any chance I get

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