The rent in Los Angeles is among the highest in the nation, which puts affordable living spaces at a premium; a solution had to be created and so the California Senate approved Senate Bill-1069, which eases the restrictions on building ADUs (additional dwelling units) on existing property. Now, it is easier than ever for homeowners to build expansions onto their homes.
One of the best types of ADU is a garage conversion; as the name suggests, this is simply converting the garage into a functional living space. This is one of the best types of ADU because there is no need to add a new foundation, extra walls, or any of the other necessities involved in building attached or detached ADUs.
It does take some work to convert a space meant for vehicles into a space meant for humans, but in the end the homeowner will appreciate the garage conversion. Los Angeles renters looking for affordable housing will appreciate it even more. Any homeowners interested in converting their garage into a living space—or any other kind of space—needs to contact Pacific Green Homes to get the expert advice and services they need to transform their car’s home into a comfortable, inviting home for a lucky resident.
Why Choose a Garage Conversion?
Here are the top reasons to convert your garage into an extra room:
- Extra Income Source – By renting out the room to desperate renters looking for a reasonably priced abode, you can recoup the cost of the conversion fairly quickly. Once the conversion cost has been paid back, the new room will begin generating money for the homeowner.
- Increased Property Value – A home with an extra living space is always valuable, because it can be used as a rental unit or as an extra room for a loved one. That versatility and functionality adds appeal to prospective buyers.
- Ease of Transformation – Out of all the different types of ADUs, a garage conversion is the easiest and most convenient. The reason is that the room already exists, so it does not have to be built from scratch or expanded upon. Interior necessities like electricity, windows, and plumbing have to be added, and the garage door has to be changed to a normal door, but that is still less work than either a detached or attached ADU entails.
Are There Any Disadvantages to a Garage Conversion?
First of all, there is the consideration of where to put the car if it is still in use, as well as any elements that are stored in the garage. If there is space on the property, then an additional garage can be constructed; in the more realistic scenario that there isn’t, then a small shed can be built to store any extraneous items from the garage. In the case of the car(s), a carport can be built, which is basically a simple canopy that covers part of the driveway. It is a simple, efficient solution that can be erected quickly and safely and will protect the vehicle from most of the elements.
A garage conversion could also create problems with the flow of traffic throughout the home. If the garage is being converted into a living space, then entering it via the kitchen, or whatever room is attached to the garage, could take some acclimation. Even though an extra living space does add value to the home, the lack of a garage could lessen the value to some homeowners, especially if there is no other place to store vehicles. If the homeowner plans to sell their house in the future, then this is something to think about.
Where to Start with a Garage Conversion in Los Angeles
- Permits and Red Tape – Even though Senate Bill-1069 makes it easier to perform a garage conversion, it is still necessary to obtain permits to initiate the project. Additionally, the local homeowners association may have their own rules and regulations regarding changes to the home that need to be followed.
- Budget – As with any home remodelling project, a budget needs to be allocated towards it. This budget needs to take into consideration the scale of the project; the garage can be converted into a living space, a home office, a home gym, or a hangout room—like a man-cave—each of which have different budget and design considerations. As always, with any home remodelling project, an emergency fund that is 10% to 20% of the budget should be set aside in case the homeowner has to deal with any unforeseen circumstances.
- Window Placement – Garages are normally very dark, and while additional lighting will have to be added to the room, natural light should also be added through the addition of windows. Where to place these windows is one of the considerations of the garage conversion since they may need to be used for ventilation as well.
- Insulation – Regardless of how the newly converted garage is used, it needs to be insulated. Otherwise, it will become an unpleasant place in which to spend any length of time. There will likely be building codes that have to be followed, especially regarding the R-value, which is the ability of the insulation to withstand heat loss. The enclosing parts of the room need to be insulated, they are the walls, roof, and floor.
- Floors: Tile is a good choice, especially if the homeowner is doing the work themselves, wood flooring is more demanding, and may need to be done by professionals. Before the flooring is applied, the concrete slab of the garage floor should be sealed to prevent any moisture from seeping out through tiny cracks in its surface.
- Walls: The insulation of the inside walls depends on the type of material used on the outside walls. In most cases, fiberglass insulation is used, but there are situations where spray-foam insulation is used instead.
- Ceiling: The procedure is similar to that of wall insulation. However, it is necessary to make sure that there are not any small cracks that will allow moisture to enter the room.
- Plumbing and Electricity – New outlets will have to be added or moved around if the new space will use regular appliances and electronic equipment. If the garage is being converted into a living space, then plumbing lines will need to be added. The addition of additional plumbing and electricity increases the cost of the conversion, but also makes the room—and the home—more valuable.
Consider a Garage Conversion for Your Los Angeles Home
Since it is easier than ever to obtain a permit for a garage conversion, now is the best time to take advantage of the opportunity—particularly if the garage is converted into a living space. A garage is the easiest of all the different kinds of ADU, so it is one of the best ways to add value to the home without needing to use up any additional space on the property.
If you are interested in converting your garage into a new room, then contact Pacific Green Homes. We will help you to take advantage of the opportunity that the California government has provided to residents that are ready and willing to add a new room to their home.
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