If your garage doesn’t see much car-related action then the space could be put to better use. Converting your garage into a bedroom, an office or more living space doesn’t just make your home bigger and more comfortable, it can also increase its value. Here’s some useful tips to set you on the right path.
Think about it first
You need to think about what you need the extra space for. Is it for a home office or for a guest room? Is it to extend the room the garage is connected to, or a playroom? The most common reason for extending a garage is to create more living space, although if you’re planning to increase the value of your home in order to sell, it’s usually bedrooms which bump up the price the most.
It’s also important to think about where the car’s going to go! If you have enough space for parking on your drive, then that’s fine, but if you’re going to be competing with neighbours and commuters for space, this may be bad news.
Do your homework
Ask around the neighbourhood to see if anyone else has converted their garage and, if so, what they’ve done with it. Also ask which builders and architects they engaged, how much it all cost (remember to be polite here!) and how happy they are with the end result.
Once you’ve got some ideas, then you can start gathering quotes – at least three – and contact your local authority to ask about planning permission. You might not need it, but if you do, then you should start this process off as soon as possible so that when you’ve chosen all your contractors, you could be all set to go.
Work out your costs
In general, garage conversions can cost from £5,000 to £50,000, with most falling into the £10,000 to £15,000 range. Your costs will depend on how much structural work you’re doing, as well as any planning costs and, of course, the finish.
Add a 10% “buffer” to the quote you choose, just for contingencies. The chances are that something will crop up during the works that’ll end up costing you a bit extra, so if you’ve budgeted for it, it won’t sting quite so much.
Pin down that planning permission
According to the governmental Planning Portal, garage conversions come under permitted development rights as long as the “work is internal and does not involve enlarging the building”. There are always exceptions, however, so make sure your plans have all the permission they need.
Bring in a planning consultant if necessary
If you need to apply for planning permission, which is £200 in England and Wales. If you think it might all get a bit complicated, then bringing a planning consultant on board could be a good idea as this can make everything run more smoothly and save you some sleepless nights.
Remember the regs!
Any garage conversion will have to meet building regulations. You’ll have to tell your local council by filling in a building regulations application. Usually, you’ll only need a building notice, especially if your garage is part of a single-family dwelling rather than a flat in a block.
Your conversion will need to comply with regulations when it comes to its foundations, its structural strength, its windows and ventilation and its weather-proofing and insulation.
A building control surveyor will inspect the work as it comes along and once it’s done, he or she will make a final check of fire-proofing, windows and doors before giving you the certificate of completion. These rules apply to England and Wales, while Scotland and Northern Ireland have different rules.
Work out how much value you’re adding
There are lots of factors affecting how much your conversion will increase your property value. The larger the space the better, but the nature of the conversion also makes a difference. If you’re adding a bedroom rather than a workspace you might get more resale value. On the other hand, if you need an office more than a spare bedroom, then the office will offer you more value as an amenity.
You can expect, however, a conversion to add around 10% to your property value, give or take a couple of percentage points. Just make sure that you’re not losing value by eliminating a parking space as they can be like gold dust in some postcodes!