Plenty of homeowners renovate basements to create rental suites, but here in Florida, where full basements are rare birds indeed, that’s not a practical option. But here’s a great alternative that’s been gaining popularity in recent years: turning your garage into a terrific self-contained apartment space that renters will clamor for.
If being a landlord’s not your thing, the ability to provide some private living space for a recent college graduate who’s looking for the right career position or elderly parents who need some help on the home front could be well in hand. No matter what, a professionally converted garage will provide possibilities that will never go to waste. It’s also a job best left to a creative and reliable building contractor who will make the project perfect.
A Careful Building Contractor Converts to Code
Converting a garage into a cottage-style, standalone apartment isn’t always just a simple task for the average do-it-yourself fan. An experienced Florida building contractor will anticipate any hassles at city hall, ensuring that your plans are not in contravention of local zoning bylaws and that all necessary permits are approved as a matter of course before any work gets underway.
Having a legal garage conversion may depend on the size of your property and the actual location of the garage within its boundaries. Minimum setbacks from the property line are also a consideration, as well as distances from sewer lines, and water and power supplies. Since you aren’t creating an entirely new structure, red tape should be considerably reduced.
Good Points to Consider
- Your garage door may present a challenge. If you have a larger budget, your building contractor might convert the door into a large bay window or a solid, seamless exterior wall space. A less expensive option is to insulate the existing door and seal the edges well.
- Can heating and cooling ducts be run from the main house to the garage apartment, rather than installing standalone units in the garage? Will a smaller, window air conditioner help you save on the bottom line?
- Linoleum, tile, carpeting or hardwood flooring are all worthwhile options to create a cosy, inviting apartment space.
- Adding new interior walls to create individual rooms only makes sense for a two- or three-car garage. Adding walls inside a single car garage will usually make the space feel restricted. Install additional walls for a small bathroom space and leave the rest open concept.
- Consider the height of the interior to make it more spacious. If the garage has a high ceiling, it might be converted into an airy, loft-type studio.
Think Ahead for Added Home Value
Thinking of your garage as something more than just a dusty storage space can be a real benefit. Once you begin renting the space, the initial cost outlay will soon be more than justified by the yearly return on your investment ratio and the long term investment is well worth it. Homes with professionally converted garage cottages are valued significantly higher than adjacent homes without room additions.
A source of extra incomes that only adds to property value in the long run is hard to beat. You’d be amazed by what an experienced building contractor can do to convert a garage into a super appealing, self-contained living space.
Greg Nelson is the owner of Nelson Construction & Renovations Inc. He is a Florida State Certified Building Contractor, creating artistry in all areas of design and construction projects. He is a musician, and artist. A husband and father, Greg appreciates all the wonderful elements of family life.
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