Original Source: Garage Wannabes
One advantage to being a real estate agent is that you get to see all of the creative things that people do to their house... and sometimes their garage. No longer are they used exclusively for cars, rakes and mowers. Some have turned their garage into an artist studio or workshop. Some are offices. Others have been converted into guest houses or hot tub cabanas. And one of my favorites belongs to an old client... they managed to get some HGTV-type show to pay for their renovation- they turned theirs into a practice studio for a band. Fun!
A client recently contacted me about what he could/couldn't do with a garage on a property he was considering. As I wasn't 100% sure of the answer, I put a call into the zoning folks up in Rockville* and got some answers.
--Most residential neighborhoods are zoned R-60 and are intended for 1 family. For this reason, don't plan on generating any income by finishing off the structure. You'll find that it won't/can't figure into your mortgage.
--It's o.k. to finish off a garage and use it as an office or a rumpus room (or some of the other examples above)
--It's also o.k. to finish off a garage as a guest house, but you have to follow some rules:
- It has to be permitted.
- It can only be used to temporarily house a non-paying, transient guest.
- The guest may spend up to, but no more than 6-months a year in said guest house.
So, sadly, any thoughts of renting out your finished garage are forbidden! Rather, you can think them, but you shouldn't follow through.
*This set of rules applies to folks in Montgomery County, MD living on properties zoned R-60.