The Problem with Garage Conversions

Moving up to a better neighborhood could mean compromising on space, so you may be tempted to convert the garage. 

Many older homes come with a two-car garage, approximately 20 by 20 feet, or 400 more square feet of living area. It’s already under the roof and walled on three sides, making it seem inexpensive and reasonable to remodel as a den, a bedroom or a guest suite. 

The problem is that a garage conversion seldom looks or performs the way you think it will. Unless you remodel the garage from the outside, it will always look like a conversion. The driveway will lead straight to a wall, so unless you build on a new garage, tear out the old driveway, and repave the driveway to the new garage, it will never look right. 

You’ll have problems in the interior, too. The garage floor elevation could be lower than the rest of the house because it’s a concrete slab. It isn’t insulated like the rest of the house, so there will be a noticeable difference in sound absorption, temperature and finishes. 

When it comes time to sell your home, the conversion will cost you. You can’t count the conversion because it doesn’t square with the tax rolls. Homebuyers will deduct the cost of reconversion or building a new garage from their offer. They want the security, storage, and utility of a garage. 

No matter how you count it, square footage added at the cost of a garage isn’t worth it. 

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