With skyrocketing real estate prices, families looking for bigger homes or extra space may have no choice but to look at their current homes to see where they can capitalize in search for more room. Garage conversions are an easy, and relatively inexpensive, option to consider.
The average cost of converting a garage into a room is between $10K and $15K on average. Of course, costs may vary based on the condition of the space and the design elements you wish to introduce to this area of the home. If your garage conversion is simple and does not involve additional plumbing and electrical work to accommodate an extra bathroom or kitchen, the costliest element you may wish to add to this space may be the addition of the heating and cooling system. Depending on the location and capacity of your existing system, the costs to add this feature may range from $1K - $3K. Living in Florida, adding a heating and cooling system to a converted garage is not a part of the budget where you can skimp.
Although the existing garage may be attached to your home and under the same roof, converting this area into extra living space will require building permits from your local government. Building permits typically are accompanied by city fees. Check with your local government for additional information on permits.
If you have decided to close off your garage, remember most garages do not have windows to allow for adequate lighting. If you are installing windows to this area, consider installing hurricane proof windows. In the same manner, if you are changing the garage door to a regular door, consider a hurricane door. Once you have replaced all your home’s openings with hurricane protective devices, including all doors, windows, and skylights, you may be eligible for homeowner’s insurance credits.
Insurance is always a part of the equation which needs to be considered. Whether you chose to convert your garage into an additional room, or keep it as a place for storage, ensure your current policy covers all the contents stored in this area. Most of us store everything in our garages except our cars. Sports equipment, holiday decorations, power tools, etc., are often housed in the garage and are likely to be valued in the thousands of dollars. Did you know some homeowners policies do not cover contents located in the garage? Yes, this is true. An Edison policy however, covers all the contents in the garage, provided you have enough coverage for it all under Coverage C of your policy.
Converting the garage into an extra living space has many pros and cons, but in this real estate market, it may be your best option. It may seem like a good idea, with lots of moving parts to consider. Talk with your insurance agent and discuss what a change like this may mean to your home’s value, and insurance coverage requirements. Edison Insurance Company is here to answer your needs.