Profile picture for Perradam

Converting 1 Car Garage

I've read a lot about this and am hoping that someone can assist. I have a 3br/2ba one level (no basement) in a desirable neighborhood.  It's a 1950's house with a 1 car garage.  To me it is useless because a big car cannot even fit in it. I was thinking of converting it to liveable space (could designate as a 4th bedroom). The house is a U shaped house, with the garage on one side, and a bedroom on the other side of the U.  Once converted it would look almost identical to the bedroom side (I would remove the garage door, build up the wall, install windows and reside that portion) and would look seamless.  I will not lose offstreet parking as the driveway will be intact (although I may bring it away from the house about 4 feet), and off street parking is a non-issue. My question is will additing the almost 300 sq feet of living space add value even though I am removing a 1 car garage? The garage is not much use really other than storage? I had planned on adding a shed to the back yard that I will be able to store the items once kept in the garage, and since I live on a corner lot, I was thinking of adding a 2 car garage eventually. 

Any thoughts?  This will NOT look like a bad garage conversion.
  • January 13 2014 - Avondale Estates
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Answers (10)

Profile picture for Perradam
Thank you very much Laura (and all). I bought the house (1951 home) which had zero upgrades. Before selling the previous owners had the roof replaced, furnace and central a/c replaced too (all 2011).  The kitchen I gutted and redid along with replacing the windows and painting, refinishing the floors. There really isn't anything else to do. Thankfully most houses on my street are either slab or crawl space and most are larger than mine too. I feel like finishing the garage will make ME keep up with the neighborhood.  The plan is to make the room multifunctional, but I will add a closet so that I could be classified as a bedroom.
  • January 14 2014
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Yes, this project would most likely add value to your home, and it sounds like a great idea given that your home is in a warm climate and the garage is too small for larger cars. Be sure that your home and neighborhood support such a project; especially since you do not have a basement. Also, I would add interior storage with shelves along with an attractive shed, which I wouldn't place too far from the house. And don't forget to add an aggravation fee for all of your effort and the hassles involved!

 I would consider turning the garage space into a multi-function room so that the new buyers can chose what they would like the room to be.

Lastly, are there other more pressing changes that your home needs now? It wouldn't make sense to spend all of your money on the garage renovation when the kitchen and baths are out-dated and you need a new roof. Hope these thoughts help you with your decision.
  • January 14 2014
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Profile picture for Perradam
Yes the plan is the make the garage side of the U completely match the other side of the U. It's been done i in the neighborhood and looks like it has always been there.  The driveway will remain in tact, but I am going to bring it away from the house about 4 feet so it doesn't run right up to the house, and I will landscape in front of the garage, matching the other side of the U.  The converted garage will have no access to the driveway. It'll be accessed from the living room and kitchen.
  • January 14 2014
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Profile picture for Jesse Cimino
Having a fourth bedroom will add value, especially if you are going to add a 2 car garage as well.  Keep in mind that many people use a garage for more than their car and just storage space.  It is versatile and a great feature to have when selling.
  • January 14 2014
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Profile picture for JessicaAggson
It will definitely add value to the home. Especially if you are planning on adding a 2 car garage eventually.
  • January 14 2014
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Profile picture for sunnyview
I am usually not a fan of garage conversions, but I have seen it done with the type of 50's house your are describing and it came out well. The owners decided to convert the second half of the U shape that was the garage into an extra office/bedroom. From the front, it looks like it was always that way because they spend a little extra to bring the front of the foundation up to match the other side and they matched the windows.

You'll have to address the driveway. Maybe you can get it stamped to look more like patio depending on how you plan to use the extra room or can simply landscape it so it is more like a patio/parking strip if you want to keep the off street spot.

Whether the conversion will pay off really has to do with what it costs. Bedrooms can return good money if they don't require too much structural change and can be integrated into the current roofline/electrical/heat systems.
  • January 14 2014
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Profile picture for Perradam
Thanks for the answers so far.  As of right now, the main driveway would remain in the front with immediate access to the front door which is where they would enter for groceries, etc.  Adding the detached garage would be something either down the line or not at all depending on budget. However I would be adding a large shed to the back to house the lawnmower, random storage (that's is being kept in the current garage).  If I was to convert, it would be climate controlled and be another room of the house (adding a closet as well to call it a bedroom but could be bedroom, office, den, etc.).  The other houses in my neighborhood either do not have a garage at all or the garage is detached. Most people have single driveways that they park in and some on the street.  I'm mainly trying to determine if making the house go from a 1500sq house to 1800 would add more value than having a 1 car garage (which really can only house a small to midsize car comfortably).  Thanks for all you input! I appreciate it!!!
  • January 14 2014
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In many places a good way(or the only way) to add value for an appraisal is to actually add more square footage. This might be true all over the Atl area. Adding a another bedroom is almost always a good idea, because then you will have more potential buyers who would look at your house if on the market.  If you make sure to add a closet then also a great idea. Check with an appraiser in your area to find out specifically for your neighborhood or zip to find out how this could affect value.  You could be talking $80-$100-$150 per foot additional value, just depends on the cost per foot of the comparable homes close by.  Check also to find out with the appraiser if the space you add must also be heated and/or cooled.  They could go hand in hand.  As far as investment advice, this is my opinion and if I was to own your home and covert to a rental, it would also be far more valuable than a 3-bed.  Let us know what happens!  
  • January 13 2014
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Profile picture for wetdawgs
Usually it is a mistake related to resale. 

But, if you are planning to live in the home for a very long time and it would make you happy, then do it.   First check with your local city/county department about requirements.    Some don't allow you to convert even a useless garage without first providing another car shelter.

Do the other homes in the neighborhood have garages?
  • January 13 2014
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Profile picture for Tammy Hartman
Hi!
 In my area, since this home does not have a basement, eliminating storage would turn off many buyers.  
Also, if I understand your description correctly, buyers would notice that when bringing home packages and groceries, they would have to park in the drive and walk all the way around to the front or back door to enter the house.  I believe they would find this cumbersome and awkward. Even adding a detached garage would not eliminate these problems. I would stick with the current garage rather than add a 4th bedroom to maximize your resale value. However, if you plan on staying in the home forever, then resale value may not be as important to you as the additional square footage would be. 
Good luck! 
  • January 13 2014
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