Should You Convert Your Garage Into Living Space Before Selling a Home?

How to Decide if Renovating a Garage is Right for YouThe time has come to sell the home. Often, people will perform the necessary renovations and remodels to repair issues and upgrade rooms to make them more modern for the next buyer. If a seller is trying to market a smaller home, they may feel that buyers won't be interested in the place due to the limited amount of space. While sellers may luck out and find a single working professional or retirees interested in downsizing to a smaller space, they may lose the interest of families who need more living space.

Sellers may be interested in providing additional living spaces to the house to make it more appealing to families. Building a brand new addition may not be a financial possibility, but converting the garage into a living space can lower renovation costs while adding an extra room to the house.

Garage Conversions Add Living Space... For a Price

It's true that garage space can allow sellers to add living space to your home, especially when it is an attached unit. The home already has the outer shell of the living space built, and the seller only needs to focus on transforming the interior into a livable room. The type of room being built will dictate the amount of time, money and materials needed to fully complete the space.

Creating bedrooms, living rooms and entertainment rooms is often the easiest type of renovation, simply because there may already be electrical lines in place. All the seller will have to do is place in walls, flooring, windows and furniture. Kitchens and bathrooms normally require more work as sellers need to add in water pipes and other plumbing fixtures.

The living space will also need to be heated in the winter and cooled off in the summer. So consider intake vents and ductwork that will lead to the converted garage. It will also have to be insulated to prevent conditioned air from escaping the space.

Downsides to Garage Conversions

While updating the garage door is usually on the must-do list for sellers interested in increasing the value of their homes, garage conversions are not typically on the list. One of the issues you may encounter is that while changing the interior of the garage can be done to make a comforting and appealing room, the outside will still look like a garage. The attached space can appear out of place and not part of the design flow like the rest of the rooms inside the home.

Another problem is that many buyers want to have a garage instead of extra living space. They may want to protect their vehicles from weather and theft. Other buyers will want to have the extra storage space for their items. These buyers often prefer to avoid spending the extra cash to change the converted garage back into a garage when they can just find a home that will better fit into their needs.

Finally, a converted garage can decrease the value of the home if it isn't done right. It is true that a converted garage will cause your home's value to be recalculated since it is now considered living space. Before, the home's value excluded the garage when determining the square footage of the building. Yet buyers may still low ball their offers simply because they thought they were getting a garage only to later find out it is a living space that they are not interested in.

Keep a Buyer's Interest in Mind When Converting a Garage

When it comes to garage conversions, you need to think about your lifestyle, how long you plan to spend in the house, and how marketable the property will be to buyers. If you are converting the garage area before selling the home to provide an extra living space, you may want to decide against it. The fact is that it would be simpler to just sell the house as-is with the garage and let the new homeowner decide if they want to add on another living space. You can save money while marketing the house to the largest audience of buyers.

If you need the garage converted into living space and will be staying in the home for several years, then you should go ahead with the renovations. You may want to keep certain elements of the space in place, such as the garage doors, so it can be more easily converted back into a garage by the buyer when you place it on the real estate market.

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