You may be eyeing your garage for an office, mother-in-law suite or game room. Here are the pros and cons to changing up the space.

More homeowners are starting to look to their garage as a way to squeeze more square footage out of their property. With remote working more commonplace since the pandemic, it could be home office space. (Two spouses working from home — something’s gotta give.) Some need living quarters for elderly parents or relatives to stay for an extended time. Others just love their home and would rather add on than move. Whatever the reason, converting the garage to living quarters is a full-on construction process, so it’s not something to take lightly. We consulted local experts to find out if the add-on or conversion is worth the budget, time and loss of existing parking.

Detached garage conversions and add-ons

Pro: You have a lot of flexibility to meet your needs. Chris Black with Blackline Renovations has helped Dallas homeowners convert detached garages to all sorts of spaces, such as music rooms and living rooms. He notes that a converted detached garage can be used for whatever your needs may be. The space is transitional, because it’s not part of the interior plan. “It definitely gives more flexibility, not to mention more storage too,” says Black.

Pro: The construction is less intrusive than a traditional add-on. If you’re debating between adding onto your home or adding onto or converting a detached garage, Black suggests thinking about your lifestyle as the construction is underway. With a detached project, you can live in your house without interruption. That’s a huge sanity saver — and can save on costs too, if the renovation is extensive enough that you’d have to find a rental.

Con: You could be in for surprise costs, especially if your garage is old. Sure, unanticipated costs are basically the rule on a renovation. With an older garage, those costs could be substantial. The entire structure may need repair to have sufficient support for added living space. “Usually the foundation is substandard to what the house is, so we have to go in and beef up the foundation,” explains Black. “The garage may not have utilities in it, it won’t have plumbing, it won’t have gas, it hasn’t been insulated.” You’re essentially building another house.

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