Updated: October 1, 2020
I was looking at potential “fixer uppers” to flip. There was one home that had a lot of “potential” – meaning it needed a lot of work. It looked like someone had already been fixing up this particular home but ran out of money and decided to list it. One of the “upgrades” this person had done was to convert the garage into another bedroom. It was originally a 3 bedroom house with the bedrooms being on the second floor. The listing showed this home a 4 bedroom house but with no garage.
Home Owners Want a Garage to Park their Cars, Toys & have a place for Storage
It depends on where potential buyers are at in their stage of life as to what they’re looking for in a home. For example, younger couples without kids may have only have 1 car perhaps 2 and a garage it not that important to them. They may be looking to start their family or already have one or two small children. Location may be important to them to be closer to urban centres. Perhaps they’re looking for their starter home.
Families with young kids and two cars that are currently in a starter home but are quickly outgrowing it, typically want a 2 or 3 car garage to park their car and for storage. If homeowners are looking for a 4 bedroom home, they want a 4 bedroom home. Not a 3 bedroom + garage/bedroom/office/den or whatever the case may be.
Converting a garage into another room typically does NOT add value to a home.
In fact, it can have the opposite effect and could potentially devalue the home.
Does that mean you should never convert a garage to another room?
Not necessarily. A family may need the additional space because of the family expanding due to a number of reasons. Perhaps elderly parents are moving in and they need a bedroom on the ground floor. Perhaps your adult child is moving back home after university and needs a bedroom|living space to call his|her own. Maybe you’re working from home now so you need that space for an office|studio where you could have clients visit when necessary. You’re in a highly sought after area, and could use the extra rental income that a converted garage|AirBnB could bring in. There are some situations where family needs may dictate a garage conversion.
But if you are converting your garage into another living space, try to convert it so that you can easily convert it back to a garage when you sell. The photo above shows a successful garage conversion which can easily be converted back for selling purposes.
If you’re not able to convert the garage back into its regular function, you need to consider the demographics of your neighborhood when you’re ready to sell. Are you in neighborhood where people have similar needs to what you did and would welcome the garage converstion? If you’re in a starter home neighborhood, chances are that potential buyers would be more open to it than if you’re in a mature established neighborhood with larger homes where families need that extra garage space for multiple cars, toys and storage.
I’ve seen some garage conversions that have been tastefully & successful and have sold within the price range they were asking for. I know of a couple who bought their first home with a converted garage because they liked the fact that the garage was now an extra bedroom.
It’s not impossible to sell a house with a converted garage, but you need to know that when you sell your home, you will reduce the number of people that may consider purchasing your home. Most people do not want a converted garage and it may take longer for the house to sell, especially in a slower real estate market.
And for that fixer upper that we were looking to flip? We walked away from it. There were too many issues that needed attention (including reconverting the “4th bedroom” back into the garage) that would not make the flip profitable.
I’m Debi Collinson. Designer. Stager. Real Estate Investor. In 2006, at the request of a realtor, I staged my very first home. Staging houses was just starting to become popular. I was very nervous staging my first house, but the sellers liked their newly redesigned home so much that they turned down an offer for full asking price. I went back to design school and have never looked back. Since 2006, I have been staging & styling spaces to make them look like they belong in a magazine page, and buying “fixer uppers” to fix up & either sell for a healthy profit or to rent them out. I’m currently living in my 8th “fixer upper.” Sign up to receive my e-mails of how to make your home stunning, how to sell your house for top dollar AND how to become financially independent one fixer upper at a time!