How to Convert a Garage Into a Living Space

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These days, garages are for more than just storing cars and tools. With the help of a professional, you can turn a garage into a new living space.

A converted garage is a type of Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU), a separate living space located on the same lot as the main house. These types of garages are commonly known as granny flats, secondary suites and accessory apartments. On the other hand, spaces attached to the main house that are 500 square feet or smaller are Junior Accessory Dwelling Units (JADUs).

Are you interested in remodeling your Los Angeles garage? Here’s what you need to know.

Do I Need a Permit to Turn My Garage Into a Living Space?

Yes, you will need an ADU permit from the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety (LADBS). A permit can cost anywhere from $1,800 to $8,000 depending on the size of your garage and your plans for the space. Prior to construction, you will need to contact the LADBS and speak to the code official about your project.

In general, you should be eligible for an ADU permit if your home is in a single-family residential zone. You can use ZIMAS to find your zone. The size of your garage must be between 150 square feet and half the size of your home.

Additionally, you should be able to park two cars on your property.

When applying for a permit, you will need to submit the following to the LADBS:

  • Plot plan: Show your home’s location, how much land you have and any buildings already on the lot.
  • Your floor plan: Show your plans for the space, including the sizes and locations of any doors and windows.
  • Foundation plan: Provide information about the garage’s foundation, including dimensions of floor joists, foundation size and slab grade thickness.
  • Building elevations and cross-sections: If you plan to add to your garage, include the dimensions for any new exterior walls, projections and cross-sections.
  • Roof framing: Include the size and direction of your rafters and ceiling joists.
  • Energy conservation: Calculate how much energy the unit will use and make sure your conversion will comply with the Green Building Code.

The LADBS will also need to inspect your new space after construction has ended to ensure it is up to standards.

Is It Worth Turning a Garage Into an ADU?

For most people, the answer is yes, especially if you park your car somewhere other than the garage. These conversions are excellent projects because the possibilities are virtually endless — you can turn your garage into anything from an art studio to a home cinema.

It’s also one of the most cost-effective home projects you can do because the building is already there. Do you want to earn some extra cash after construction? Make passive income by renting out your remodeled garage as an apartment. If you’re going to move in the future, converting your garage into a living space adds square footage, which can raise the property value of your home.

Whatever your needs, you can almost always benefit from a garage conversion.

How Long Does a Garage Conversion Take?

Construction can last anywhere from three to six months, depending on the size of your garage, your garage’s current condition and the type of space you want to create. The permit approval process can take up to 60 days, so make sure to add that to your estimated timeline.

Note that different projects will take different amounts of time.

What Does It Cost to Turn a Garage Into a Living Space?

In addition to a permit fee, you can expect to spend about $90,000 to $150,000 on a garage conversion. The total cost will vary depending on the kind of space you’re creating. When calculating your budget, account for all parts of the process — labor, materials, electrical, heating and cooling, furniture and more.

Before you take action, be sure to ask your contractor for an estimate. It’ll be much easier to plan out your project once you know what construction will cost. Additionally, you should prepare for any bumps along the way. It’s better to set aside extra money for emergencies than have to scramble to find the funds to pay for an issue that arises. In other words, you’re better off safe than sorry.


The Benefits of Having an ADU

Having an ADU or JADU on your property can benefit you in many ways, depending on your plans for the space. Some of the advantages of building an ADU include:

  • Add resale value to your home: Under the right circumstances, building an ADU on your property can increase your home’s resale value. Whether you plan to remain in your home for years to come or you see yourself moving somewhere else, the opportunity to generate rental income and the additional square footage can increase your return on investment.
  • Provide additional income through rentals: Demand for affordable housing has skyrocketed in recent years, especially in Southern California. By providing a rental opportunity, you can help out your local community and earn extra money to save for future investments.
  • Give guests a place to stay: Having an extra space on your property can be beneficial even when you don’t have tenants. Say there’s a marathon in town and a friend needs a place to stay before the race. If you have an open ADU, you’ve got a comfortable place for them to stay during their visit.
  • Provide independence to family members: An ADU can be a great place for aging relatives who need a little extra assistance but aren’t yet ready to move into care facilities. Similarly, if you have teenagers preparing to move out, allowing them to stay in your ADU can be a great opportunity to learn independence before they begin life in college dorms or a home of their own. Your relatives will have a space all to themselves, and you’ll have peace of mind knowing they’re safe nearby.

Convert Your Garage With Daniel’s Development Group Inc.

If you’re looking to transform your garage into an ADU, our experienced garage conversion contractors in Los Angeles, California, are here to help. We work directly with clients from beginning to end to make sure you love your new space. Ready to get started? Call us at 1.800.507.5001 or schedule a free consultation today!

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