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Old 08-13-2010, 01:55 PM
4 posts, read 34,680 times
Reputation: 11


I couldn't find a thread that addresses my particular concern so I am posting this tread to get your opinion.

About me -
- Bought my first home at a good (not excellent) price in a good, established neighborhood
- I have already invested more than $25K in remodeling and improvements
- The house is a 3/2 (1600 sq. ft.) with 1 car garage (20'X14'). Other homes in the area are also 3/2 but without garage and are in the 1400-2000 sq. ft. range. The house has a circular driveway so parking is not a problem. At any time I can park upto four cars.

My issue -
The house was built in early 50s and therefore it only has a relatively small (20'X12' living and dining area). There is no entry foyer.

Looking for your opinion on the following -
I am thinking of converting my one-car garage into living room and make the current living/dining area into a dining room. I have come up with a layout that will make it almost impossible for anyone to know that the living room is a garage conversion. I will also get a 10'X10' fourth bedroom. I will do the conversion through a licensed contractor with permits using good finishes. It will probably cost me about $15K.

Reasoning (please tell me if I am wrong) -
- When I bought the house, the garage's value was appraised at $3000. The average price/sq. ft in the area is approximately $150. At that rate, my 20'X14' garage, when converted to a living room, will add about $42K in property value and therefore, it will pay for itself. My intention is to have a good roomy layout but, at the same time, I do not want to overinvest in the house. I am not in it to make money as it's a house that I want to enjoy for a long time.

Please let me know if I should wait to save money to do the garage conversion. Currently I am not improving landscape or doing any other work because of it.


Last edited by jaymiami; 08-13-2010 at 02:25 PM..
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Old 08-13-2010, 02:13 PM
Location: Columbus, Ohio
1,415 posts, read 2,205,132 times
Reputation: 1362
This sounds like a interesting project. Will you still have off street parking? Have you talked about this to any local real estate agents to see how they think it will affect value?
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Old 08-13-2010, 02:29 PM
4 posts, read 34,680 times
Reputation: 11
I have a circular driveway that can accomodate upto four cars. There is plenty of off-street parking as well.
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Old 08-13-2010, 02:31 PM
22,758 posts, read 41,467,644 times
Reputation: 11534
Default Do not do this based on "return" or " avg value per sq ft", but do it IF...

If you want to have a bigger living room and don't mind losing the garage do it for yourself, but do not do this as some sort of "equity building" effort because the math of declining general FL property values will almost certainly be the real driver for quite some time...

I would recommend that if you already sunk $25k into fixing this place uo that you think long and hard about the true potential to sell more than you already have into the place IF you are not for the long haul.

Depending on what percentage of value you have already spent on the work you have done it may be imprudent to continue spending money. In some cases it makes more sense to sell now and get a better place that already has a living room / extra bedroom if that is what you want.

In the event that you are in the for long haul then different value drivers are at work, but you must still be careful to spend money that makes sense -- do not kid yourself into thinking that some one will jump at a our place with the upgrades you ace done if the exterior / landscape is neglected.

People buy a "whole package" and if you do not understand that sometimes just making you place "sparkle" without upgrades/expansion you can spend money that will never add value to other buyers...
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Old 08-13-2010, 02:46 PM
Location: Denver, CO
1,899 posts, read 3,424,810 times
Reputation: 1556
As a buyer, I don't like (and won't look at) houses that have a converted garage because you usually CAN tell that the room was a garage at one point and most of the time the conversions aren't done well. You should do the conversion if its what YOU want to do, but if you're doing it with potential buyers in mind, I just wanted to share my opinion. I'd rather have the garage.
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Old 08-13-2010, 02:54 PM
Location: Niceville, FL
4,892 posts, read 9,484,638 times
Reputation: 3528
Unless garage conversions are common in your area, they can actually bring down property value. Also check to see if it's allowed under any deed covenants the property has. Sometimes it isn't.
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Old 08-13-2010, 03:03 PM
Location: NJ
17,579 posts, read 23,660,382 times
Reputation: 15533
Check out this thread:

Converting a garage to living space?
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Old 08-13-2010, 03:03 PM
Location: Marion, IN
8,192 posts, read 20,865,467 times
Reputation: 6709
The house I bought this winter has a garage converted to a bedroom. There is no insulation, the room is too big for the 1 A/C drop that was added to it, and there is no garage. When the previous owner did this conversion he moved the laundry area into the eat in kitchen which was small to begin with.

I will never consider another house with a converted garage. It is a horrible space.

If you plan on living in the house until you die you should do what will make you happy.
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Old 08-13-2010, 03:04 PM
10,495 posts, read 12,665,428 times
Reputation: 9805
What are you going to do when (not if) there is a hurricane? Where will you put your patio furniture, grill, etc......You should not leave that stuff outside in a storm.

I am assuming from your name that you are somewhere in Miami Dade county.
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Old 08-13-2010, 03:09 PM
Location: NJ
17,579 posts, read 23,660,382 times
Reputation: 15533
Keep in mind some people will absolutely not buy a house that doesn't have a garage. So while your math may say you are increasing the value of your house you may in fact be reducing the overall pool of buyers who will even consider your house.
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