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New Jersey Suburbs of Philadelphia Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County, Salem County in South Jersey
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Old 11-04-2013, 08:41 AM
 
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For a large property in Gloucester county... 1970s split-level, we are considering converting the attached 2 car garage to living space.

Was curious if for our area would this be considered a positive or negative if we sold the property 7-10 years from now? Up north where its a lot colder and snows a lot more I think garages are a must, but in New Jersey do we really have enough bad weather that a garage is required?

the plan...

the lower level family room side-wall, on the other side is 2 car attached garage.
Considering knocking out that wall to garage, to make one large "boot-shaped" family/entertainment room. Put 2 french doors on back of garage space to a new paver patio that leads to in-ground pool.
Sounds like a great entertainment space?! No?

But then many say "you have to have a garage". The next buyers will want a garage. For me though (the most important opinion), we'd get 100x more use out of space if it were converted.

We do have room to add a detached garage later, but that' would blow out the budget.

Thoughts?
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Old 11-04-2013, 08:53 AM
 
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It is very true that people tend to want garages. Not having one is a detractor from resale. Whether they will just use it as storage space, a sort of mudroom or actually park the car in it doesn't matter, people tend to want one. With that said, it is your property and you should do what you want to it. The only thing that changes that is if this is a short-term stay for you in the house. Are you going to be living there for the next 10-20+ years? Then do what you want. Are you looking to sell in the next 5 years? Then I would probably not convert the garage.
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Old 11-04-2013, 09:14 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJGOAT View Post
The only thing that changes that is if this is a short-term stay for you in the house. Are you going to be living there for the next 10-20+ years? Then do what you want. Are you looking to sell in the next 5 years? Then I would probably not convert the garage.
A very good point that I keep in the back of my head when thinking through our upgrades.
My wife would like to move south. I'm not against it, but for a lot of reasons now is not the time.

While the years of staying are not written into stone, the compromise was to stay 5-7 years in this house... it has a lot of family and entertaining options which we don't have, so we get a whole new experience without moving away.

But of course we could just be so in love with the place we end up staying forever.


There is "room" in the neighborhood to upgrade and get our money back, but have to be wary of overdoing it. Hmm... maybe an addition...
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Old 11-04-2013, 10:03 AM
 
Location: The place where the road & the sky collide
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bellmark View Post
For a large property in Gloucester county... 1970s split-level, we are considering converting the attached 2 car garage to living space.

Was curious if for our area would this be considered a positive or negative if we sold the property 7-10 years from now? Up north where its a lot colder and snows a lot more I think garages are a must, but in New Jersey do we really have enough bad weather that a garage is required?

the plan...

the lower level family room side-wall, on the other side is 2 car attached garage.
Considering knocking out that wall to garage, to make one large "boot-shaped" family/entertainment room. Put 2 french doors on back of garage space to a new paver patio that leads to in-ground pool.
Sounds like a great entertainment space?! No?

But then many say "you have to have a garage". The next buyers will want a garage. For me though (the most important opinion), we'd get 100x more use out of space if it were converted.

We do have room to add a detached garage later, but that' would blow out the budget.

Thoughts?
Garage conversions are not unusual in South Jersey, but they are normally done as separate rooms. Your description sounds like a detriment to resale to families with small children.
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Old 11-04-2013, 10:23 AM
 
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Originally Posted by southbound_295 View Post
Garage conversions are not unusual in South Jersey, but they are normally done as separate rooms. Your description sounds like a detriment to resale to families with small children.
They are pretty common, but most of them are to add another bedroom or create a separate living/play space for the kids.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bellmark View Post
A very good point that I keep in the back of my head when thinking through our upgrades.
My wife would like to move south. I'm not against it, but for a lot of reasons now is not the time.

While the years of staying are not written into stone, the compromise was to stay 5-7 years in this house... it has a lot of family and entertaining options which we don't have, so we get a whole new experience without moving away.

But of course we could just be so in love with the place we end up staying forever.

There is "room" in the neighborhood to upgrade and get our money back, but have to be wary of overdoing it. Hmm... maybe an addition...
I think you really need to think through your plans and budget. Conversions can be costly to do right and depending on your house you may not even be able to do what you want to do. It also begs the question of why do you want to do this? Do you entertain a ton and have people over constantly where you really need the extra space? Most people doing this conversion, like pointed out, are doing it for a very specific reason to add utility to the house.
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Old 11-04-2013, 10:42 AM
 
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Originally Posted by NJGOAT View Post
It also begs the question of why do you want to do this? Do you entertain a ton and have people over constantly where you really need the extra space? Most people doing this conversion, like pointed out, are doing it for a very specific reason to add utility to the house.
We DEFINITELY have to watch the budget... not as much for the normal reasons of running out of money, but so that we don't overbuild and cant get it back in 7 years

Entertaining is a BIG factor in this purchase. 20+ years of living in smallish "built for the shipyard workers" cape cod was great to live in... but even small family functions or holidays quickly became cramped. Its a common part of a lot of lives that we feel we've missed out on and where we are now, dont want to miss.

Young enough to still have fun. Old enough to have the grandparent years knocking.
We are at that Jimmy Buffet, Key West, mid-lifer age. One last hurrah before the retirement home. hah


The large space will come in handy for friend parties, and family gatherings. We would love our home to be the "go to" spot.

so to the original question... garage vs conversion, at least 2 votes for "not a big deal". And the suggestion that someone later on would want separate rooms out of it.. well we would leave as clear open space so if someone wanted to put up partition walls they could easily do that.


still thinking.. I still have time

thanks for the comments! would love to hear more.
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Old 11-04-2013, 05:38 PM
 
Location: The place where the road & the sky collide
23,806 posts, read 32,173,834 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bellmark View Post
We DEFINITELY have to watch the budget... not as much for the normal reasons of running out of money, but so that we don't overbuild and cant get it back in 7 years

Entertaining is a BIG factor in this purchase. 20+ years of living in smallish "built for the shipyard workers" cape cod was great to live in... but even small family functions or holidays quickly became cramped. Its a common part of a lot of lives that we feel we've missed out on and where we are now, dont want to miss.

Young enough to still have fun. Old enough to have the grandparent years knocking.
We are at that Jimmy Buffet, Key West, mid-lifer age. One last hurrah before the retirement home. hah


The large space will come in handy for friend parties, and family gatherings. We would love our home to be the "go to" spot.

so to the original question... garage vs conversion, at least 2 votes for "not a big deal". And the suggestion that someone later on would want separate rooms out of it.. well we would leave as clear open space so if someone wanted to put up partition walls they could easily do that.


still thinking.. I still have time

thanks for the comments! would love to hear more.
Sounds like Kingsway Village in Cherry Hill.

That has to be a load-bearing wall. Anything other than a doorway is going to be extremely expensive.
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Old 11-05-2013, 11:33 AM
 
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Originally Posted by southbound_295 View Post
Sounds like Kingsway Village in Cherry Hill.

That has to be a load-bearing wall. Anything other than a doorway is going to be extremely expensive.
Very good point SB. Even when the garage is built "into" the house the walls around the garage are often load bearing.
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Old 11-05-2013, 02:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by NJGOAT View Post
Very good point SB. Even when the garage is built "into" the house the walls around the garage are often load bearing.
Oh its definitely load bearing and something i wouldn't do without an engineer.

But... I'm looking at about a 10ft span, so I don't think its overly challenging.
After that it should be easy basic construction.

EDIT: Well also need to open up back for french doors... small header.

Pic attached:
The back of the garage, with pool about 15 ft away.
And the inside family room (front of house). The wall with the built-in shelves gets knocked out and it all blends into one big entertainment room. Space for bar, big TV, pool table?

Would be a pretty sweet hook-up, no?

Attached Thumbnails
Gloucester County convert garage?-garageconvert.jpg  

Last edited by bellmark; 11-05-2013 at 02:02 PM.. Reason: added info on french doors
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Old 11-05-2013, 03:09 PM
 
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I think it's a neat idea, but like we said, it all really comes down to what you want. Financially, I'm not sure it's the best idea, but only you can asnwer as to whether the cost and possible impact to value it worth it to you so you can enjoy the space. I can kind of see why you are leaning this direction though. That bottom picture, assuming you were standing in the corner of that room, the layout frankly sucks. Those two doors give you no space to really use that room for anything. If you want to have a real entertaining space in the house, I understand why you are looking to make the changes.
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