Whether you need more living space, an extra bedroom, home office or a utility room, the garage is often an option that it overlooked. A loft conversion or extension can be a large costly job, so converting the garage can be a much cheaper and easier alternative.
What’s more, if you’re looking for a new home, it may be more economical to buy a house with less space but with the potential to extend into the garage.
According to Santander there are 9.3 million garages in the UK and of the 650,000 that have been converted, 29% are now a bedroom followed by a home office, kitchen extension, utility room or living room.
Although it’s an affordable and simple job, you’ll need to consider the following when undertaking this sort of project:
Santander has calculated the average garage conversion costs £6,300 including the decoration. When you consider the cost of moving home for extra space including an extra bedroom, this is vastly cheaper, especially when you take into account moving fees, mortgage arrangement fees and LLBT. The average loft conversion is £30,000, making it a much more attractive option.
If you have an internal garage it should be a straightforward job – and you may even be able do it yourself if you’re adept at DIY. However, if your garage is detached and you need to make structural changes such as knocking walls and adjoining it to the main house this could have cost implications.
You’ll need heating and insulation to make it usable all year round; plumbing, lighting and security also need to be assessed.
A simple conversion job could take as little as 7 days – if it’s a case of plasterboard on the walls, creating a ceiling, window and doorway. However, if it’s a structural job, it could take several months to complete.
You don’t usually require planning permission provided the work is internal and doesn’t include enlarging the space. However, it’s best to check with your local authority planning department. If your property is a listed building or in a conservation area, you may need to comply with Building Regulations.
You need to carefully consider what future potential buyers will be looking for. If you have a double garage and are only converting one part of it, then it will be an attractive option as your home will still have plenty of storage space. However, if you are using up the only storage space available this could put buyers off. If you are a two-car family and parking is zoned or at a premium, losing valuable parking space could actually devalue your home.
A standard single garage is around 150 sq ft which could be too small for a family sitting room – so it could be more effective to make it a part of an open plan room instead. You may also only need to convert part of your garage for a spare bedroom, allowing you to keep some of your storage space.
If your garage was professionally built in the last 25 years, is made of brick or block and is structurally sound, then there shouldn’t be any problems in converting it. Be careful if your garage is old as it may give you some problems you might not anticipate. A surveyor at the Building Control department of your local council should be able to offer advice.