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Three Reasons Why A Garage Conversion Might Be Right For Your California Property

Garage conversions are a straightforward solution to increase passive income and living space

Garage conversions are big these days. Californians across the state are moving forward with their garage apartment projects, and drastically improving their properties. Have you thought about converting your garage into an ADU (accessory dwelling unit)? Here are three reasons why converting a garage might be right for your family:

Extra Living Space

Let’s face it: we all come to a point where we wish we had more space in our house. Whether it’s the desire for a guest bedroom or the need for your parents or grandparents to live closer to you, there comes a time when you sit down and consider your options.

The old way of solving the problem was to buy a new, bigger home and move. But that is a huge hassle; disrupting your family is no fun, and you should only move if you really know it’s the right decision for you. If you like your current neighborhood and house but need some additional space, a garage conversion may be a great option. Imagine if your garage had a bedroom, a kitchen, a bedroom, and a living space. What would you do with it?

The difference between a bedroom addition and an ADU garage conversion is the fact that an ADU is a standalone apartment. In the former case, you would be adding space to your house, but it would just be an extension of your current home. In the latter, your new garage would be a separate apartment. It's clear which choice gives you more options in terms of living flexibility, and possible rent income! You could use this for your own family, or you could rent it out. Or you could do both, just at different times, depending on your needs. A garage conversion gives you options, and creates added value to your home.

Financial Return

If you don’t currently use your garage, it is wasted space that could be earning passive income for you. But even if you do, you can still park your car in the spaces in front of it, and turn the garage into an ADU. You should ask yourself the question: how much do I really need that garage space for my cars? Is that the optimal use of valuable square footage? Especially for those living in high-cost areas, this is a very important question to ask. If you don't think you're using your space efficiently, you could invest in a converted garage, rent it out to tenants, and start earning thousands of dollars per year (depending on local rental markets).

Garage conversions are far less expensive than adding a standalone unit, since you're using existing infrastructure. With lower capital requirements, it is easier to get financed and move forward on your project.

Here is are cost estimates for converting a standard two-car garage (20x20):

Permitting: $5000-$15,000 (depending on location)
Construction materials and labor: $60,000-$150,000 (depending on the condition of an existing structure)

Typical Budget Range: $47,000-$150,000

In San Diego, the average cost to rent per square foot was $2.32 in 2018 With a 400 sq. foot garage conversion ADU for $70,000, you could expect to earn approximately $11,000 per year, and the project would pay itself back in less than six and a half years, not to mention the increase in home value. If you decide to sell your home at any point, a legally converted garage could boost your home value between $100,000 to $200,000!

The bottom-line: Garage conversions make financial sense for many California homeowners.

Want to know how much it will cost to convert your garage to a second unit? Housable can help you get accurate price quotes from contractors on our ADU Marketplace, once you have a design and blueprints for the project.

First, we need to check your zoning eligibility using our free property checkand understand how you’d like the project to be designed. Using your guidance, we draft custom garage conversion designs that work for your needs and your budget. Then, we move into the drafting of construction documents and permitting your project.

For a fraction of the cost of a traditional architect, you can have a much clearer idea of project design and price, so you can move forward with your project with confidence.

Creating Housing and Making a Difference In Your Community

You should only convert your garage if it makes sense for your family. This is a big decision and will require money, time, and energy. Don’t jump into this unless you’re ready to commit fully. If you do decide to convert your garage, remember that when you do it, you aren’t just helping yourself you’re helping your neighborhood and community too.

California has a major housing need as the demand for housing is outpacing the supply. California’s population has increased by 3.1 million over the last ten years. The tech boom has led to an increase in high-earning salaries, which drives up the cost of home prices and rent. There aren't enough new homes to meet the demand; the housing supply is short by3-4 million housing units.

A straightforward solution to this problem is to build fast and intelligently. How can we preserve the integrity of the cities and neighborhoods we love so much while increasing their total housing stock?

Garage conversion ADUs are a fantastic solution because they allow for the creation of new housing stock without taking up any new land. When you convert your garage, you are increasing the total housing stock in your community. This means that rents will go down slightly, and there is a brand new option for a tenant looking for an affordable option. Garage conversion ADUs are also smaller than typical apartments, which means that they can make your neighborhood more affordable for middle income people like artists, teachers, non-profit professionals, and small business owners; many of whom are priced out of California real estate.

One garage conversion is a small step, but imagine if everybody in your neighborhood converted their garage. Suddenly you are joined by a whole community that is working together to make a positive difference. And if those garages fill up with individuals and couples in their twenties and thirties who can afford to live in your neighborhood again, imagine the amount of youth and vitality that you will be welcoming into your community. New ideas, diverse mindsets, and maybe even new babies on the way! All using existing infrastructure that is more than capable of handling this capacity.

Converting your garage isn’t just about you. It’s about helping the new tenants that you might rent from, and helping add housing in California that we so desperately need. When you convert your garage, you’re joining a movement to help create a positive future in California for everybody.

Are you ready to learn more about converting your garage into a standalone ADU? Search your property’s eligibility to build an ADU by clicking here.