Carport to room renovation without permit

9 Replies

I am rehabbing a house and want to turn the one car open carport into a 3rd bedroom. I spoke with quite a few contractors and friends in the business and was told that if I get a permit and use a contractor it will cost me between $10,000-$15,000. This is way over budget for me. So I need some good ideas from the experienced pro’s here.

There are a few options:
1. Build the room without a permit and hope not to get caught. Will this make an issue when trying to sell the house?

2. Enclose the carport with a garage door and on the other side of the garage door put insulation and drywall. From the inside it will be a room but from the outside a garage. For the garage door no permit is needed. Do you think a potential buyer will frown upon this or as long as it looks good from inside that will be enough?

100% will be a problem. Tax records will clearly show how many bedrooms the property should have and you listing/showing it as something else will be a big red flag, not to mention, if you’re attempting to do it cheap it will probably look very obvious. Anybody can call it into the permitting office and you can get into trouble.

In the end doing it without a permit will cost you far more than $10K - $15K.

There is no way you will get away with the illegal work and be able to sell the place. You will face fines, additional costs to remove it and the structure will ultimately devalue the property.

Your best option is to not touch the car port.

@Christian Wathne @Thomas S. Thanks guys for the input. So what do think I should do? Is the garage door idea a good one? This way it is legal and will still leave an option to use the carport as a room if the new buyer will want to. Turning the house from a 2 bedroom to a "3 bedroom", I am sure will make a big difference in the sale price. A friend of mine had done this to his garage and it came out great. Attached is a picture of the front of the house. If you have any other suggestions or ideas on what I should do please let me know. I would love to hear.

If you'll end up making more than 10-15K selling the place with 3 bedrooms, get a permit and do it the legal way.

If not, keep it as is.

If you do decide to do it without a permit,  check out what your fines would be if caught doing this without one.  Remember once you put it on the market the fact this room was not permitted will stop any sale in its tracks.  Might be different if you were simply renting out the place but flipping way.


@Yoni Ramras , unpermitted work shows up when you try to sell. The buyer will demand you make it right, demand a huge price reduction, or will cancel the contract and walk altogether. It's not worth it.

I have had buyers go to the town and question every one of the permits I pulled. I 100% would NOT go about it that way. Simply adding a garage door does not make it a bedroom. Adding a garage door as a false front on a room behind it, is no better than creating the non permitted room.

Why not get a real bid on the work, instead of contractor friends saying it will cost that? At least you then know the full cost.

Also what does a 2 bedroom comp sell for, with a carport, verse a 3 bedroom comp without one?

It will either catch up to you when you sell the house, or anytime you need to renew your CO, which may be yearly or when changing tenants. Bottom line is that if you can afford to do it right, you certainly can't afford to do illegally.

What did you finally do? I wanted to convert my carport into an actual garage and was wondering what options I have. I want it permitted but am wondering if I can get the permit and do the work myself or if you went through with yours what it ran you? 

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