7 Reasons Why Garage Conversions Are A Good Idea In California

May 22, 2022 | Garage Conversions

Many homeowners are starting to learn about the benefits of ADUs but are not sure what type will work best for them. They have reservations about moving ahead with an ADU project because they are unsure of the benefits or whether they need one.

For most homeowners who feel like they need more space in their home or are looking for extra income, a garage conversion ADU will solve their problems and provide them with several benefits. Read on to find out 7 reasons why you should consider converting your garage into a living space.

What Is a Garage Conversion?

Before we dive into why you should convert your garage into an ADU, we should talk about what exactly a garage conversion is. To start, an ADU, or additional dwelling unit, is a smaller residential unit built on a single-family plot that has a pre-existing primary structure (a home) already on it. There are four main types of ADUs:

  • Attached ADU
  • Detached ADU
  • Garage Conversion ADU
  • Internal ADU

A garage conversion ADU is created by transforming your pre-existing garage into a living space. It can also be created by turning the pre-existing upstairs of the garage into one, or by adding an upstairs to your garage.


1. Multi-Generational Housing

Sometimes your home is not big enough to house all your loved ones that you want living with you. Instead of adding to your existing house or forcing your kids to share a room, you can convert your garage into a living space to house everyone comfortably. There are a few different circumstances in which a conversion might be the perfect solution to your multi-generational housing problem.

A Home for Aging Parents

Instead of moving your aging parents into assisted living, many people want to move them into their homes. That way, they can be near if their parents need them and continue to spend valuable time together. However, moving a parent into your house can make them feel like they are losing their independence, and your family is losing its privacy.

A garage conversion allows you to comfortably move your parents close to you while allowing them the independence and privacy they crave. It also allows your family to keep the space it needs.

Garage Conversions for Growing Kids

As children age, they strive for newfound independence but can’t always afford to move out of their parents’ house right away. Sometimes, parents are not ready for their kids to take the big step of living on their own yet either. An excellent solution to both issues is to allow your young adult children to move into your garage conversion ADU. They can experience what it is like to live on their own while still being close in case they need assistance.

Housing For Struggling Family Members

Due to the current housing crisis, many families find it hard to find a safe place to live. Whether it be your cousins, nieces/nephews, or aunts/uncles, having a garage conversion for them to move into can provide them with safe housing until they get back on their feet. It also allows them to keep some of their independence and privacy that they would have to give up if they moved directly into your home.


2. Garage Conversion Guest House

If you regularly have guests who stay long periods of time, having a garage conversion guest house can be a huge help. Especially if you don’t have a spare bedroom, you won’t have to give up your office room or living room every time someone comes to stay. Instead, they can stay in their own space outside your home that they do not need to rent out.

Plus, everyone needs breaks now and again to have some time to themselves. For guests who are staying for long periods of time, being able to stay in their own space and make their own food when they want to can be a nice little privacy break during their stay.

Also, ADUs can make for a great place to lodge traveling nurses or other caretakers that need to be close to the home but still value their independence and privacy.


3. Rental Income Opportunities

When you start your ADU, renting it out crosses most people’s minds. It can be an excellent way to make extra income and pay off the garage ADU conversion.

There are two main ways people use garage conversion to bring in extra ADU rent money.

Long-Term Renting ADUs

Most cities have made it illegal to rent ADUs of any type (including garage conversions) for a short amount of time on sites like Airbnb. However, you can rent them out long-term and use the extra income to pay off the conversion or put towards new projects like putting in a pool.

House Hacking with ADUs

Turning your garage into an ADU can allow you to move into and rent out your primary home. Renting a primary home permits you to charge your tenants more than if you were to rent out the ADU. You can then use that extra income to pay off your home mortgage faster. Once it is paid off, you can then move back into the primary home and rent out the garage conversion for more extra income.


4. Non-Living Space for What You Love

A huge advantage of a garage conversion is that you can do whatever you want with it. It does not have to be a living space. Some of the best ways to use an ADU don’t involve having people live in them. Instead, they can be used for things like:

  • Art studio
  • Home office
  • Man cave
  • Personal gym
  • Personal movie theater
  • Pool house
  • She shed
  • Yoga studio

The possibilities are endless when it comes to what you can do with your garage conversion. Remember though, your garage conversion still needs to meet specific ADU size limits, and contain a kitchen, bathroom, and living area. However, with the right ADU appliances and furniture, anything is possible!


5. Helping Combat the Housing Crisis

Building an ADU yourself can provide affordable housing options to help combat the growing housing crisis. Since garage conversions are small living spaces, the rent for them is not as high as the rent for a full house or large apartment. Due to this, a garage conversion ADU can provide a low-income family somewhere affordable to live to keep them off the streets.

By converting your garage and renting it out at an affordable price, you are providing somewhere safe to live for struggling families and helping to combat the homelessness crisis.


6. Most Popular ADU Option

Why should you convert your garage into an ADU rather than building an attached or detached ADU? The answer is quite simple for most people: it is the most affordable and easiest option.

Garage Conversions Are Affordable

When it comes to ADU development costs, a garage conversion is usually the most affordable option. Since the garage foundation and main structure are already there, you save a lot of money by not having to put it in.

There are instances where a garage conversion can be more costly than building a detached ADU. This occurs when the garage’s foundation is none existing (most garages built before 1940), or the main structure has begun to rot away. If that is the case for you, it might be more affordable to take a different ADU route.

Garage Conversions Are Easier

Since you have the foundation and existing main structure, you can save the time and energy it takes to build those components. Not to mention, you can save the time it would take to complete the architectural drawings needed to decide those components. You are essentially starting a few steps ahead in the ADU development process.

Take Up Less Space in Your Yard

Another big reason individuals decide to convert their garage rather than build a different type of ADU is that the structure already exists in their yard. They won’t have to give up any more yard space to add the ADU since the garage is already there. This is especially a big deal if their yard is too small to add another structure under the zoning requirements of their county.


7. Boost Your Property Value

A garage conversion can be a great way to boost the value of your property. It can add anywhere up to 20% to the value of your home. So, if you have plans to sell your property in the future, investing in a garage conversion now can reap you great benefits down the line when you list your home on the market.

Undergoing Your Garage Conversion

Did this long list of benefits convince you to convert your garage into an ADU? Let us help! Here at Levi Design Build, we have years of experience converting garages into quality ADUs. Our free consultations can help answer all your questions and get you started on the path to building your dream ADU.

We help with every step of ADU development. From the planning phase to the construction phase, you can count on us to get the job done right with our personalized approach to every step of the process.

Not ready to meet with us yet? Do some research of your own by checking out our ADU Development Guidebook and eCourse! These handy tools can provide you with all the information you need to know to start budgeting, planning, and constructing your garage conversion ADU.

Contact us today to get started on your garage conversion ADU so you can start reaping all these benefits.