Converting a garage into a granny flat

Pros and cons

28 September 2020 | Life Style

As an unfortunate by-product of the lockdown, many households have been forced to combine owing to a loss of income.
To cut costs, the easiest solution to accommodate an additional family member is to work with whatever space a household already has, which often leads to a garage conversion.
When converting a garage into a living space, homeowners are encouraged to consider the impact this will have on the resale value of the home.
According to Adrian Goslett of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, the potential investment value of a garage conversion is incredibly case specific. “While it is a far more practical use of space if your garage has been sitting empty for the last few years, homeowners should bear in mind that future buyers might not share these sentiments.
“For properties situated close enough to business and shopping centres to allow for the use of taxis for everyday commutes, or for properties situated within walking distance to public transport, garage conversions can be a definite value-add. However, for homes situated deep in the suburbs far removed from public transport, getting rid of a garage might not have as positive of an effect on the resale value of the property,” he says.
Goslett adds that while garage conversions have greater appeal globally, the lack of reliable public transport makes this option somewhat less appealing within the local context. “As a way to work around this, homeowners could create an alternate, secure parking spot by building an awning over the driveway and installing an electric gate around the property,” he recommends.
Beyond this, Goslett highlights that garages are often people’s warehouses for things that typically do not belong inside the house. “Things such as lawnmowers and power tools are going to have to find a new home. Those who undertake a garage conversion should consider adding additional storage space somewhere else in the home or purchase a small outdoor shed in which to store these items.”
One of the biggest benefits of renovating a pre-existing space is that it will be much more affordable than building an entirely new structure from scratch. Goslett just cautions homeowners not to under-budget on this renovation. “Garages are often not well insulated and can sometimes have insulation issues. The bare bones for a room might be there, but it can take a large financial investment to make the space habitable.”
For those who are still uncertain about whether to go ahead with the garage conversion, Goslett recommends getting in touch with a local real estate agent to ask for their advice. “An experienced estate agent will know if others in your suburb have done the same and whether it helped sell their property. You can even ask them to prepare valuations on your home for both pre- and post-renovation to help you decide whether the conversion will add or detract value,” Goslett concludes.

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