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Everything You Need to Know About Doing an ADU Garage Conversion

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Everything You Need to Know About Doing an ADU Garage Conversion

California is struggling with an affordable housing crisis like never before. There simply isn’t enough housing to keep a roof over everyone’s heads. In addition, home prices have skyrocketed to the point where most prospective homeowners are priced out of the market.

State and local governments are unprepared to combat this issue effectively, despite their efforts. Some of those efforts have been directed toward making ADUs more accessible for homeowners.

An ADU garage conversion is a great way homeowners can make an impact to improve the housing situation while adding value to their property.

Garages are often under-utilized. This makes them the perfect space to convert into additional living space, a rental unit, or a home for an elderly relative.

If you’ve got a garage already, you could be part of an innovative housing movement that helps your community and your personal finances. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about ADU garage conversion ideas.

What Does Converting Your Garage To an ADU Mean?

ADU is the acronym for alternative dwelling units. Many people refer to them as granny flats or in-law units. Essentially, they are small dwellings built on the property of an already existing home.

California legalized ADUs in 2017. The goal was to make use of existing housing infrastructure to create new homes. The idea of building new homes without development or redevelopment was innovative and essential.

In 2019, Mayor Garcetti responded to the growing interest in ADUs in Los Angeles by launching the LA ADU Accelerator. This program helps ADU owners rent to seniors facing housing insecurity.

In exchange, homeowners get the benefits of tenant screening, regular rental payments, and property management support.

Some homeowners choose to convert attics into ADUs. Others build an ADU addition on top of an existing garage. Still, others have erected detached ADUs like backyard cottages on their property.

We’re going to focus on what is likely the most affordable option: ADU garage conversions.

Benefits of Garage Conversion

There are advantages to building any type of alternative dwelling unit. Converting a garage into an ADU has all of those benefits and more.

Add Value To Your Home

The benefit homeowners appreciate most about ADUs is their ability to increase the value of a home. Converting unused space into a living space is a significant financial boon to homeowners.

Adding living space to a home increases its resell value. However, adding a rental space increases resell value and provides a passive income stream.

Potential buyers are even more attracted to homes that have rental spaces. It’s not uncommon for buyers to bid above the asking price for a property they could use as an investment.

On the other hand, if you aren’t interested in selling, your new ADU garage conversion will provide useful space that pays for itself if you rent it out.

Make Unused Space Useful

In SoCal, garages tend to be unnecessary eyesores. The lack of snow and precipitation makes it easy to leave cars on the driveway or park in a carport. Therefore, a lot of garages in California sit empty and unused.

The demand for ADU garage conversions in California has amplified over the past few years. Californians are eager to add much-desired living space, home value, and possible business opportunities.

Quick, Efficient, Effective

ADU garage conversions can take less time to complete because you don’t have to build an entirely new structure. This is a significant advantage over building a detached ADU or an ADU addition.

The walls of your garage already exist, so half the work is done for you. You can cut your materials and labor costs almost in half if you play your cards right.

An ADU garage conversion also takes less time to construct. It is truly the most efficient way to add space and value to your home. It can also prove to be safer than building a detached structure since it is part of the established home.

Add Living Space To Your Own Home

If your family is starting to outgrow your home, you really only have two options. You can buy a new home or alter the home you already own. Since home prices are astronomically high, an ADU might be the better choice.

When you convert your existing garage into an ADU, your family can enjoy added living space and you can rest easy knowing your home will be worth more if you decide to sell.

House an Aging Relative

Finding affordable housing can be a significant issue for seniors. It’s costly for seniors with health issues to remain in their homes, but moving into assisted living environments can be just as unaffordable.

Studies show that being part of a community increases lifespan and quality of life. Social isolation, on the other hand, shortens lifespan.

An ADU garage conversion is the perfect way to create a lovely home for an aging relative. They get the social connection they need while maintaining their sense of privacy and independence in a safe environment.

Create Independent Space for Older Children

As children enter their teen years, it is important for them to have increased independence, privacy, and a sense of autonomy. Converting your garage into a living space is a great way to give your teen their own space.

Because the garage is connected to the home, your teenager gets to retain that sense of being close to the family. Since the entry to their space isn’t right next to everyone else’s bedrooms, they also get their independence.

This is a great way to get your teen some experience of what it will be like living on their own after high school. It can prepare them whether their next step is college or joining the workforce.

Since apartments are overpriced and scarce, you could even rent the space to your teen once the time comes when they would normally move out. This way they can get practice paying rent and budgeting.

Help Solve the Housing Crisis

If you decide to rent out your ADU garage conversion, you’d be helping alleviate the affordable housing crisis. Of course, that depends on how much you charge for rent.

The key is increasing housing density. Your ADU could supply an affordable home to a family in need while generating revenue for your family. You’ll also grow your community by bringing in renters.

What Are the Costs Associated With an ADU Garage Conversion?

There is no straightforward way to estimate the cost of an ADU in general. ADU prices range significantly. Depending on the materials you use and the type of construction, an ADU can cost as much as you are willing to spend.

The cost of labor and materials for one structure can vary depending on who is building it and where. Costs are different if you plan to do an ADU in Los Angeles, Long Beach, Downey, or Santa Fe Springs.

Some homeowners try to save money by putting in their own sweat equity. This is most common during the end stages of the project. Others prefer to stick with a qualified Los Angeles residential contractor.

Overall, the costs you need to consider when planning an ADU garage conversion include design, permits, utilities, materials, and labor. In addition, you may want to budget for furniture and landscaping.

How To Do a Garage Conversion

LA County has many rules and regulations you’ll need to follow when getting ready to do an ADU garage conversion.

The first thing you’ll need to do is get the correct architecture and engineering plans. These will need to comply with the building codes in your area. Then you’ll need to submit those plans to get approved for a permit.

ADU regulations apply to the size of the overall space. There are also regulations about the size of the bathroom as well as what a bathroom must contain (toilet, sink, shower/bathtub).

You’ll also find that there are regulations for how large the kitchen, living room, and bedroom have to be. In addition, there are regulations about building materials.

The best way to navigate all of these rules and regulations is to hire an experienced ADU builder. They’ll know exactly what to do to save you time and alleviate stress.

What Else You Need To Know About ADU Garage Conversion

An ADU garage conversion is a great way to help your community fight the affordable housing crisis in California, while also putting some much-needed money in your pocket.

If you found this ADU garage conversion advice helpful, consider entrusting your ADU garage conversion to a trusted local SoCal ADU general contractor. Fill out an application form to start building your dream ADU garage conversion with Esco Builders Inc.

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