Empty garage interior of house

How to Convert a Garage Into Living Space

As a homeowner, you want to get the most out of your residence. It’s why you converted your spare bedroom into a home office or maybe turned your basement into an entertainment area. But then there’s one space you don’t know what to do with — the garage.

Most homeowners will tell you that they only use their garage for storage. Whether it’s detached or not, they almost forget about this space altogether! The result is arguably the most cluttered area of the house that nobody wants to see.

Here’s an idea: why not make your garage a living space? If you have a large family or frequent out-of-town guests, an extra room could go a long way.

Let’s discuss the basics of this project before you start on it yourself.

Decide why you need another room

Say you’re tight on space, but a growing household requires you to get creative. Depending on the size of your garage, you could add a room complete with a bathroom and kitchen. It might be the perfect spot for older children or aging parents.

Another idea is to create another living room with your garage. You might consider adding insulation, drywall, flooring, a ceiling, and windows. Expect to pay a fraction of the cost by opting for a second living room in the garage rather than another bedroom.

Know the cost

Once you have a plan for your garage conversion, it’s time to crunch the numbers. Keep in mind that this kind of project typically costs anywhere from $8,000 to upwards of $25,000. Be sure to account for plumbing and electrical work, as well as utilities.

Perhaps you’re thinking, “There’s no way I can afford to do anything with my garage!” It’s a reasonable concern when realizing most of us have a modest emergency fund and maybe some extra cash set aside for home repairs. You may be better off putting this project on hold if you’re skeptical about your financial situation — at least until you can beef up your savings.

The alternative is a home improvement loan. Home equity loans, home equity lines of credit, and personal loans fall under this umbrella of financing options. Just be sure you know what your loan entails, as you could be risking your home if you ever struggle with repayment.

Ready to move forward with a complete transformation of your garage? A cash-out refinance lets you access your equity for home upgrades. With several different ways to pay for your project, it’s imperative to talk to a lender and see which loan is most sensible for you. 

Hire a professional

You’ll likely be hiring multiple contractors for your garage conversion. So once you have your finances squared away, start searching for candidates. Come up with at least three experienced contractors and obtain quotes from each one.

Don’t forget that this project is an investment. Since the costs are significant, you want to be sure you’re hiring a top-notch professional and not going with the cheapest option. Make it a point to have the work done right the first time, so you can avoid spending additional time and money on it.

Is it worth it?

Real estate is hot in Colorado, and folks are doing everything they can to increase the value of their homes. In that sense, you may assume that a garage conversion is a no-brainer. However, as we’ll discuss in the next section, other projects provide a greater return on investment.

You must also be aware of the applicable permits and laws. Municipalities ultimately decide whether your garage could be a suitable living space. Many homeowners advise against a garage conversion because of the frustration that often comes with zoning and legal dilemmas.

Consider other home improvements

So what should you do with your house instead? American Financing has a great resource for maximizing your home improvement loan. They explain that if you’re set on enhancing your garage, you might go with an insulated door, windows, or epoxy flooring.

You could also think about lofting your garage. Taking this approach allows you to add extra livable space without possibly compromising your home’s value. Plus, it’s much more budget-friendly!  

Upgrade to your forever home

There’s only a certain amount of room in a house. So whether you’re tired of working at the kitchen table or would benefit from extra bedrooms for a growing family, the team at American Home Agents is here to help. Give us a call at (303) 695-5900 and let one of our agents find your forever home for less.

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