PROS & CONS OF CONVERTING A GARAGE INTO A LIVING SPACE
Many residential plots do not allow for much outward expansion, especially if you live close to the city centre. Unless you are able to go up instead of out, the only other option is to work with the space you already have. But, are you adding or losing value when you convert a garage into a living space?
For upmarket properties situated close enough to business and shopping centres to allow for the use of Ubers for everyday commutes, or for lower-end properties situated within walking distance to taxi ranks or train stations, garage conversions can be a definite value-add. However, for homes situated deep within the suburbs, far removed from public transport, trading in the family car’s covered parking area for grandma’s extra bedroom might not have as positive of an effect on the resale value of your property.
To help you decide whether a garage conversion is a wise move, below are the various pros and cons when converting your garage into a living space:
Pro: extra space
The most obvious advantage of this sort of renovation is that it allows you the additional living space you require. It’s a far more practical use of space if your garage has been sitting empty for the last few years – just bear in mind that future buyers might not share your sentiments on this matter.
Con: loss of covered parking
Garage conversions tend to have greater appeal globally. The lack of reliable public transport makes this option somewhat less appealing within a South African context, because most homeowners will also have their own car. If you do decide to convert your garage, you could build an awning over your driveway and install an electric gate around your property to create a safe outdoor parking spot for your car.
Pro: cheaper renovation costs
Renovating a pre-existing space will be much more affordable than building an entirely new structure from scratch. Just be cautious not to under-budget on this renovation. Garages are often not well insulated and can sometimes have dampness issues. The bare bones for a room might be there, but it can take a lot to make the space habitable.
Con: less storage space
Garages are often people’s warehouses for things that do not belong inside the house – most of which, if we’re honest with ourselves, should have been dumped ages ago. Nevertheless, that unused kayak that still has its price tag from 2003 needs to go somewhere; and, unless you plan on using it as a wall-mounted piece of ‘modern’ art for your new living space, it’s going to have to find a new home.
If you’re uncertain about whether to renovate your garage, get in touch with your nearest RE/MAX real estate agent and ask them for advice. Our agents will know if others in your suburb have done similar renovations and whether these alterations helped sell the property. You can even ask them to prepare two valuations on your home for both pre- and post-renovation to help you decide whether the conversion will add or detract value.