There are many homes that offer multiple garages or sheds for vehicle storage and other needs. Homeowners may find, though, that extra garage space isn’t needed or being utilized. When your home offers excess garage space, turn that unused area into more livable square footage.
Here are five cool ways to remodel your garage.
1. A rental space
Depending on the size of your garage, you may be able to turn that space into a separate apartment that can be used for rental income (or even an Airbnb). You should investigate building codes in your area, though, and you may need to secure multiple permits for those renovations.
If you’re interested in turning the space into a rentable apartment or vacation digs, you’ll probably want to incorporate a kitchenette, bathroom and sitting area. Otherwise, guests or renters may be forced to use those amenities in your home!
2. A game room
Transform your garage into a massive rec space for entertaining. If you’re renovating an attached garage, this renovation could incorporate a game room for pool tables, arcade games or an air hockey table. Or just use the added space to create another living area for family gatherings.
3. A fitness center or yoga studio
Are fitness or health goals at the top of your New Year’s resolutions? Create a personal fitness center out of that unused garage space! Use the area for all your workout and weight training equipment, or create a pilates or yoga studio.
Do your children dance? You could add a ballet barre for at-home practice and instruction.
4. A home theater
Home theaters are becoming a desired amenity in many new homes. An unused garage offers the perfect space for designing a large personal theater. Add a massive television, wire the space for a digital surround sound system and design tiered seating like a real movie theater. Home theaters are perfect for family movie night gatherings, but the massive screens are the ideal viewing spot for the Super Bowl or other sporting event telecasts.
5. A home office
Working from home and telecommuting has become a new normal in the corporate world. If you’re a business owner or if your job allows you to keep a home office, renovate an old garage into a deluxe office space.
The square footage can provide ample room to incorporate a meeting area for clients as well as a large space for everyday work. You may even want to add a kitchenette or bathroom, too. Design the space for your personal business needs.
What You Should Know Before You Renovate
Before you make any decisions on transforming your garage into a separate living space, look at your budget and see how much you can afford to spend on those renovations. Loans may be necessary to cover the costs, and you need to understand how much funding you can secure.
A home equity line of credit could be another option, but remember that when securing a HELOC you are borrowing against the equity of your home. If you need to sell in a hurry, what you owe on a HELOC could mean that you make much less on the sale of your home or make nothing at all. You also could owe money at closing if the house sells for less.
No matter what renovations you undertake, you always need to research codes, ordinances and permit needs for your city or town. Your homeowner’s association (HOA) also may have specific guidelines that limit rental properties in the neighborhood. In a story about HOAs, Bankrate highlighted a case that involved a homeowner who was fined for trying to rent his property.
Never commence construction or renovation work until you have all the legal details worked out and you fully understand the guidelines and limitations in your area. HOAs have been known to take legal action when by-laws are violated, so it is important that homeowners exercise due diligence.
Will Renovations Increase the Value of My Home?
Many homeowners wonder if adding additional living space increases the value of their homes. This depends on the price comparisons in the area and other factors, too. Typically, adding extra square footage will boost the price and value of your home.
However, if you renovate a garage, other factors may come into play. If the garage was the only space in the home for vehicle storage, this could be a concern to future buyers. Most buyers want covered protection for their cars; obviously, if your home has another garage or covered space to protect vehicles, then this isn’t an issue.
In real estate, though, extensive renovations can turn a home into the neighborhood ‘white elephant.’ A home that’s considered a ‘white elephant’ is one that stands out from others in the neighborhood as it relates to size, structure or price. REALTORS® use past sale prices in the neighborhood as comparables to help establish a fair market price, but a white elephant home is one that doesn’t fit into those comparables.
If your home has been renovated in a way that makes it much larger or too different than the neighboring homes, setting a value or sale price may be difficult. Renovating your home to include a massive home theater in a neighborhood where homes are much smaller and have much more basic layouts and amenities may not be worth the investment. Why? Buyers will be concerned about paying too much money for a home in an area where the resale value is traditionally much lower.
The lesson? Research homes in your neighborhood before you think about a massive renovation project. Determine if that added space will provide value to your home. Otherwise your home may stick out like a white elephant.