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Old 06-03-2012, 11:57 PM
 
Location: Dallas, Texas
114 posts, read 146,539 times
Reputation: 108

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I'm buying a house in the 75230 zip code. It presently has a circular drive in front, and a garage, with access from the alley. I'm thinking of converting the garage from alley entry to front entry. There's no HOA.

Is there some way to check if there is any city ordinance or code preventing me from doing this?

Also, are there any contractors that anyone would recommend to do this?
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Old 06-04-2012, 03:04 AM
 
Location: North Texas
23,599 posts, read 31,143,716 times
Reputation: 26656
Quote:
Originally Posted by dlleon View Post
I'm buying a house in the 75230 zip code. It presently has a circular drive in front, and a garage, with access from the alley. I'm thinking of converting the garage from alley entry to front entry. There's no HOA.

Is there some way to check if there is any city ordinance or code preventing me from doing this?

Also, are there any contractors that anyone would recommend to do this?
I grew up in 75230; there are properties with the driveway in front but I don't think the garages actually face the front; you have to drive in and turn into the garage on a concrete apron in the backyard and it eats up a lot of space. I don't know if there are properties where the garage itself faces the front; I never thought about it and never noticed either way. In my parents' neighborhood you don't see this, but I don't know if there's a city ordinance against it. I wouldn't think that there is.

I would think a conversion like that would be pretty expensive and there's a lot of real estate in that area; why not look for a property that has the garage/driveway configuration that you want, rather than dropping a lot of money that you'll never make back on converting it?
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Old 06-04-2012, 05:24 AM
 
299 posts, read 659,819 times
Reputation: 449
It's generally not a city code, but there are neighborhood-level restrictions that can govern these kinds of things, usually implemented by the builder. Our neighborhood had one that expired after 30 years (in the 80's) but I still have a copy from a neighbor, who got hers from the city.

We had what BigDGeek described, and removed something ridiculous like 2000 sqft of concrete when we did the reno. I think temperatures in the backyard fell 5 degrees.
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Old 06-04-2012, 06:35 AM
 
Location: Dallas
578 posts, read 1,210,535 times
Reputation: 636
Why?? And like BigD pointed out, why not look for a house with the garage in front?

Personally I like the privacy that an alley garage provides...never saw one until I moved here, and I love the concept.
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Old 06-04-2012, 07:30 AM
 
Location: Dallas, Texas
114 posts, read 146,539 times
Reputation: 108
They're selling for a great price. The garage is about 5' - 10' from the edge of the circular driveway. If I made it front entrance and fenced in the driveway in the back, I'd reclaim about 1600 sq ft of backyard space that's presently taken up by an extra long driveway.
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Old 06-04-2012, 08:02 AM
 
Location: North Texas
23,599 posts, read 31,143,716 times
Reputation: 26656
Quote:
Originally Posted by dlleon View Post
They're selling for a great price. The garage is about 5' - 10' from the edge of the circular driveway. If I made it front entrance and fenced in the driveway in the back, I'd reclaim about 1600 sq ft of backyard space that's presently taken up by an extra long driveway.
It will cost more than you think it will, I promise. Having driveways poured, dug up, and walling up one side of a garage while cutting a new opening for a new garage door will get expensive very quickly; the structure probably isn't built to support itself with two gaping garage door-sized holes in it so you won't be able to just patch up where the old door used to be; it'll have to be built properly, and that takes dosh. You may not even be able to do the project depending on whether you have utility easements on the lot or gas/sewer lines running underneath where you want your driveway to be. And I guarantee that while they're digging up your driveway or excavating for a new one, they'll hit a water or gas line. That's going to suck.

There may be stingers hiding in permit requirements that you didn't even think of, and once you open up a wall anywhere in a house...you're inviting a world of pain. You may find yourself having to bring a grandfathered structure up to modern building codes, for example. Or you may open up the wall and find that the studs are nothing more than termites holding hands.

If this is the most perfect house on Earth and no other house will do and this is the only, and I mean ONLY issue with it...and you have tens of thousands of dollars to burn that you'll never see again on something as unnecessary as changing the orientation of the driveway...by all means, go for it.

If the above isn't true, I urge you to continue looking.
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Old 06-04-2012, 12:58 PM
 
7,283 posts, read 8,116,246 times
Reputation: 5371
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigDGeek View Post
It will cost more than you think it will, I promise. Having driveways poured, dug up, and walling up one side of a garage while cutting a new opening for a new garage door will get expensive very quickly; the structure probably isn't built to support itself with two gaping garage door-sized holes in it so you won't be able to just patch up where the old door used to be; it'll have to be built properly, and that takes dosh. You may not even be able to do the project depending on whether you have utility easements on the lot or gas/sewer lines running underneath where you want your driveway to be. And I guarantee that while they're digging up your driveway or excavating for a new one, they'll hit a water or gas line. That's going to suck.

There may be stingers hiding in permit requirements that you didn't even think of, and once you open up a wall anywhere in a house...you're inviting a world of pain. You may find yourself having to bring a grandfathered structure up to modern building codes, for example. Or you may open up the wall and find that the studs are nothing more than termites holding hands.

If this is the most perfect house on Earth and no other house will do and this is the only, and I mean ONLY issue with it...and you have tens of thousands of dollars to burn that you'll never see again on something as unnecessary as changing the orientation of the driveway...by all means, go for it.

If the above isn't true, I urge you to continue looking.


This is more or less my feeling as well. I like the idea of reclaiming back yard. I don't at all like the idea of ripping out concrete and installing more concrete up front and cutting in a garage door.

Assuming you have a wooden privacy fence out back, could you fence around the remaining back perimeter and install a sliding gate?
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Old 06-04-2012, 01:58 PM
 
Location: South Orange County, CA
100 posts, read 371,867 times
Reputation: 95
Personally I love the rear garage thing & hope to add a carport, since we'll only have room for 1 car because of motorcycles. I doubt you could do that with a front entry garage in most areas....
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Old 06-04-2012, 02:57 PM
 
186 posts, read 356,644 times
Reputation: 141
I'm with you on this one. If its a good house at a great price then a little bit of hassle is worth making it better by taking over the yard. I mean you can live with a rear entry garage but why not get something better if it's within reach. Just get a good contractor, find out if this is allowed legally and know if you are fine with the cost. Front garage and bigger yard can instantly increase your property's value and make it easily sellable.
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Old 06-04-2012, 03:27 PM
 
2,206 posts, read 3,792,801 times
Reputation: 2073
You can just add a gate across the driveway and have all that space enclosed.
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