Most people are amazed at how much a garage conversion costs in Los Angeles. We come across articles all the time that get the wrong impression about the actual cost of a garage conversion ADU. We want to make this clear and in the next few articles starting with this one we will review the different types garage conversion costs in Los Angeles.

It’s tempting to look at average cost per square foot numbers online, if you do so make sure you are checking the proper cost, there are several reasons that garage conversion’s cost more per square foot than typical single-family homes.

And here are some of the reasons why:

  • Most permitting and design fees are fixed costs, which means you must pay them no matter the size of the garage conversion unit.
  • Garage conversion requires a bathroom and kitchen, which is ‘expensive’ square footage.
  • Since garage conversions are smaller, the cost per square foot is not offset by extra bedrooms, large living spaces, and hallways that you would find in larger homes. These spaces are considered ‘cheaper’ square footage and normally bring down the average cost.
  • Garage conversions require new utilities connections which adds to the cost of rough construction opposed to a room addition that doesn’t require it.
  • Just like a regular house, garage conversions require new foundations, plumbing, electric, heating and cooling, and a separate roof.
  • The larger the garage conversion unit, the cheaper your cost per square foot. Detached 1,200 square foot unit is likely to be cheaper per square foot than a 400 square foot unit.

Cost per square foot can vary significantly depending on the size and structural form of a garage conversion unit.

 

Developing an ADU From a 2-Car Garage Conversion:

Garage conversion is one of the most affordable options of ADU development. If your budget is limited, keep the existing footprint of the garage and don’t add on to the garage.

2 car garages ranging in sizes from as little as 300 Sqf and all the way to 475 Sqf, smaller garages will be suitable as a studio ADU and the larger ones can be converted to a one-bedroom ADU.

The associated costs are:

  • Design, planning and permit expedite: $6,000.00-$7,000.00
  • City fees will average* at: $5,000.00-$6,000.00
  • Construction labor and material will average* at $150 per square foot, so based on 2 car garages sizes range the construction cost range is $45,000.00-$71,250.00

Total average* cost of a 2-car garage conversion range is $56,000.00-$84,250.00

Sounds like a lot of money, but let’s look at return on investment. The average value per square foot for a home in Los Angeles is $523.00 The average* cost of ADU developed from the largest 2 car garage conversion is about $177.00 per square foot.

Can you see the added value? That value doesn’t even take into account the passive rental income that the unit will bring, smaller garage conversion ADU’s rents in LA on an average of $1,500.00 per month.

*Average costs: project costs are dependent on city fees, project location, project size, existing garage condition of framing and foundation, proximity of utility connections and owner selection of finish materials such as; flooring, doors, windows, cabinetry, tile, stone, etc.…

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