The pros and cons of a garage conversion

Real Estate Agent with Own Tulsa License #142914

The pros and cons of a garage conversion

Home-owners need to consider the pros and cons of a garage conversion to additional living space. Yes, it adds extra square footage to your living space, but leaves your car out in the cold. Oklahoma is known for our hail storms in addition to tornadoes, and it’s important to some people to protect their cars from damage. house with attached garage

And that’s not really the issue, because many people who HAVE garages simply use them for storage and park their cars in their driveway. But when house shopping, Buyers will tell their Realtor to search for a 3 bedroom, 2 bath, and 2-car garage home, for example. It almost comes out automatically. If you don’t have a garage, your house will not be seen by prospective Buyers because it will not come up in the search.

In midtown Tulsa, garages are a luxury and many homes only have a 1-car garage. Sometimes carports are added. Some people have porte-cochères.

If feasible, I ask Sellers to convert their added living space BACK to a garage before listing.

Garages are important to Buyers in order to store their toys – boats, 4-wheelers, golf carts, skis, bicycles and such. Garages seem more important to men because they want their tools protected and not kept in an unheated shed. People want to put a second fridge in the garage. For areas that have attached garages, it’s a safety feature. People like to open the garage door remotely and be inside before leaving their car. And the list goes on.

The pros and cons of a garage conversion

Obviously, if you NEED additional space, convert your garage to living space. But do so in a manner that it can easily be converted BACK to a functional garage.

If you think your additional living space is so special that someone would prefer to have it than a garage, there is a way to get around not coming up in searches. Advertise that it has a 2-car garage. Then, specify in the remarks that “Seller will convert garage back with acceptable offer.” There is a slim chance that someone will love everything about the house and ask you to convert the living space back to a garage, but be prepared to do so if you make that statement. At least that will get them in your home so that they will consider purchasing it.

I’m sure this differs in other parts of the country, but if you’re selling a home in Tulsa Oklahoma, I would urge you to consider the pros and cons before converting your garage to living space!

Content written and published by Lori Cain.

Copyright 2013 Lori Cain All Rights Reserved - Originally Posted at: Midtown Tulsa Real Estate - Lori Cain

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Please visit my web site if you are shopping for Tulsa homes for sale or call 918-852-5036 for more information about Midtown Tulsa Real Estate. In addition to my advanced grasp of the internet to market your Tulsa home for sale, I include a home staging consultation with every listing AND professional photography - at no aditional cost to you!

Lori is a residential Realtor with eXp Realty serving the greater Tulsa area and specializing in downtown Tulsa and midtown Tulsa real estate.

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Comments (39)

Janis Borgueta
Key Properties of the Hudson Valley - Newburgh, NY
LIC RE Salesperson

I was in a home just like this on Monday. NOT going to add value if they sell it and makes it seem "complicated" to the buyers to fix it. Great advice Lori!!

Nov 28, 2013 12:24 AM
Cheryl Ritchie
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Huntingtown, MD
Southern Maryland 301-980-7566
Instant reblog of the day with this intro... Garage conversions back to Garages is a great idea outlined in this post. Garages in the lower price ranges in particular can be the difference between saLe and no sale. It also makes a huge difference in the length of time a home is in the market. That also translates in to money for the Seller!
Nov 28, 2013 12:25 AM
Lori Cain
Own Tulsa - Tulsa, OK
Midtown Tulsa Real Estate Top Producer

Patricia - it DOES shrink the Buyer pool - I may have to edit my post and point that out - thank you!

Janis - it does complicate things for the Buyers - another good point!

Cheryl - thank you so much!!

Nov 28, 2013 01:21 AM
Lori Cain
Own Tulsa - Tulsa, OK
Midtown Tulsa Real Estate Top Producer

Now off to Grandmother's house we go. Happy Thanksgiving fellow Rainers!!!



Nov 28, 2013 01:25 AM
Jay & Michelle Lieberman
Keller Williams World Class - Agoura Hills, CA
Creating Calm in the Buying and Selling Chaos

And get permits for the conversion!  The number one issue we run into with garage work and stalls deals.  Happy Thanksgiving.

Nov 28, 2013 02:18 AM
Paul A. Perry
Certified Inspections, PC - Residential & Commercial Property Inspections - Crossville, TN
Home Inspector - Crossville & Cookeville, TN

There are a number of issues that become a concern from the home inspectors view point.

During original home construction, a garage is not built with the same requirements;

A vapor barrier is not requirede below the slab floor.

Insulation requirements are not the same as for living space.

Unless the HVAC is in the attic, if becomes very difficult to place the duct registers in functional locations.

The biggest concern is that since the walls are in place, structurally speaking, the home owner or Uncle Bob frequently perform the work.  In most cases, this is a GIANT RED FLAG! 

Nov 28, 2013 06:27 AM
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

I keep trying to find the LIKE button for your Turkey photo!  Note to self: stop switching back and forth from FB to AR

Great post, and a topic I've not seen discussed in this forum, but well should be!  Yes, the garage conversion, and I've seen some really bad "home jobs" too!  

Nov 28, 2013 07:20 AM
Jared Garfield
Rich Life Real Estate Team - Buford, GA
Invest With The Best For The Highest Returns!

Garage conversions are typically a nightmare for selling anything except a high return investment property, and even in those cases they are less desirable than competing properties unless the rents are much higher.  If you are considering a garage conversion, please don't!  Great points on conversions and I like Paul Perry's points as a home inspector too!

Nov 28, 2013 11:59 AM
Charles Stallions Real Estate Services
Charles Stallions Real Estate Services Inc - Gulf Breeze, FL
Buyers Agent 800-309-3414 Pace and Gulf Breeze,Fl.

Good evening Lorie, stopped by to read your post and hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving. 

Nov 28, 2013 12:00 PM
Jill Sackler
Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500 - Long Beach, NY
LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate

Converting it back is always a sensible idea before the sale.

Nov 28, 2013 12:40 PM
Nina Rogoff
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Medfield, MA
Sells Real Estate!

Hi, Lori! Hope you enjoyed Thanksgiving! Great post...I think suggesting to a client that they convert their living space back to garage space is a good idea depending on where they live and what the value is of a garage. I'd like to find out what the approximate price range would be in my area and then I could give them that information. Garages are a big plus in New England, but in parts of my town, where many homes date back to the 1800s there is often just a smaller, detached garage, if there is even a garage at all. People get used to looking at houses without garages if they want to live in the center of town.

Nov 28, 2013 01:27 PM
Lori Cain
Own Tulsa - Tulsa, OK
Midtown Tulsa Real Estate Top Producer

Yep, Jay, the permits are important!

Paul - always helpful to hear the home inspector's point of view!! Thank you!

Carla - hahahah! Yes, we need a "like" button on AR! Yes, the garage conversions are usually "home jobs" for sure!

Jared - just don't do it, right?!!

Joyce - very nice Thanksgiving. Hope you did also!

Jill - the conversion back will almost always pay off!

Nina - My home was built in 1915 and we don't have a garage. We have a detached carriage house that is a living quarters and we park under the porte cochere. So, yes it depends on the area of town you're in.

Nov 29, 2013 06:28 AM
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Lori, I guess, it will not be that easy to reclaim the garage space after converting it into a living area/space. However, that's the best advice for sure.

Nov 29, 2013 01:38 PM
Jordon Wheeler
The Jordon Wheeler Group - Fairburn, GA
J W Group Real Estate Sales and Service

Hi Lori,

This post reminded me of the frequently seen remarks I have seen on HUD home appraisals where the property is labled UI for uninsured due to illegal garage conversion.  Happy Thanksgiving and best of GREAT success to you always!

Nov 29, 2013 02:12 PM
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Hi,  Lori!  This post is included in this week’s Last Week’s Favorites.  Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Dec 01, 2013 01:18 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude


Another great post. This is very timely, as I have shown several homes with garage conversions and they are all negatives per the buyers. I sold  avery high end home that had 1 of the 3 bays converted into offive space but we noegotiated it being changed back to the original setup before closing. I find most buyers do NOT want a conversion. I have seen a few where there was NO garage as a result. It can also cause a problem with the loan and appraisal - most of these seem to be done without permits which can be a big red flag for an appraiser.


Dec 01, 2013 12:08 PM
Shanna Hall
Real Estate Solutions - Kirkwood, MO
I love selling houses!!!St. Louis, MO 314-703-1311

I can honestly say that I have never had a client tell me that no they absolutely will not buy a house with a garage!

Dec 01, 2013 12:29 PM
Karen Feltman
Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group - Cedar Rapids, IA
Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

I can see it both ways.  I think that this is a case where resale is more important unless a buyer is planning to never move or they are willing to convert it back in the future. Because you are right, if it doesn't qualify as far as criteria of having a garage, the most likely buyers will never see it.  Thank you for sharing!

Dec 02, 2013 12:16 AM
Lori Cain
Own Tulsa - Tulsa, OK
Midtown Tulsa Real Estate Top Producer

Praful - I've had at least one client convert his back. It wasn't that difficult.

Jordon - I don't know that we have strict laws in Oklahoma about garage conversions, but I've read enough comments to know that's not true everywhere.

Patricia - thank you as always for your kindness!!

Jeff - those pesky permits getting in the way again!  :) And thank you for your kinds words also!

Shanna - Could not have said that better myself!!!

Karen - thank you. Resale always HAS to be considered, whether you think it will happen or not.

Dec 02, 2013 02:31 PM
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

Today's homeowners and homebuyers love detached living spaces. These small stand-alone structures located on the property come with all sorts of benefits -- from added room for storage and recreation to extra income.

Aug 30, 2018 12:15 AM