How to do a garage conversion without going crazyConverting a garage can give you the perfect space to pursue a hobby, have your own home office, or create a small rental unit for added income. When done well, a garage conversion can absolutely increase the value of the home, the use of the home, and your happiness. However, all too often garage conversions are poorly done and really muck things up for you. Learn how to do a garage conversion without going crazy.

Garage Conversions: Why Planning is Essential 

A garage conversion is not something that you go out and do on a whim. Before converting the garage, you must really think about what you want to convert the garage to, and why. A one- or two-car garage can be a successful office, apartment, man cave, hobby space, or spare bedroom. Yet it cannot be all these things. Ask yourself what you really need and what would increase the home value before deciding to go ahead with conversions.

Once you have an idea in mind, reach out to qualified architects who can draw up plans to convert the garage. You might be thinking, do I really need an architect for this? The short answer is: Yes, if you want to retain or increase home value.

An architect can develop plans that complement the style of your existing home, maximize the space in the garage, are structurally sound and up to code, and help you achieve your vision. The architect can also tie the conversion in to your home’s central air/heat and give the project a polished feel. An architect may also be able to recommend skilled contractors who can complete the project for you.

Permitting for a Successful Garage Conversion 

Once you have plans, you must go ahead with getting the right permits from the city or town where you live. If you plan to use the space for a home-based business or rental, you’ll also need to check zoning regulations. This is essential if you want to remain on the right side of the law and sell your house. Often, people try to get by with DIY garage conversions that are not permitted, not up to code, and not done well.

This can negatively impact you when you go to sell your home, because home buyers will balk at investing in a home with a shoddy or unpermitted renovations. Worse still, lenders may not want to lend money if the home is not up to code. Don’t think you can “get away” with this, because the home inspection process will reveal the truth – and your municipality can legally require you to fix things.

If the garage conversion feels like a DIY project, does not flow with the house, or looks funky, you will have a much harder time selling your home. Even if you are planning to live in your home for decades to come, you must keep an eye on the future and always undertake projects that increase, and do not detract from, your home’s value.

Final Considerations for a Successful Garage Conversion 

As with anything, if you decide that it’s worth doing a garage conversion, then it should be worth doing it well. This means using quality materials, developing a design that “flows” and ultimately designing a garage conversion that will age gracefully and stand the test of time.

The right architect and contractor team can take this home renovation project from idea to completion so you can use the space in the fastest time frame and without making the sort of avoidable mistakes that will drive costs up in the long run. We’re happy to answer your questions about garage conversions, so contact us to talk through your project.

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