Help This Homeowner: Will a Garage Conversion into Living Space Hurt a Home’s Value?

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Should this homeowner convert her garage into a living space, or is it a risky investment?
Should this homeowner convert her garage into a living space, or is it a risky investment?

Today we have a really good question for our Realtors and appraisers. A longtime reader, first-time writer from Casa View Haven:

We’ve been talking about converting our garage to a living room and I’m getting concerned about what it might do to our value. We need more space, but don’t know where to start!

I am trying to get answers from the city on the details of permitting, and so far it sounds difficult, time-consuming and expensive — just for the permit.

Well, in our experience, the best place to start is with contractors. We have a short list of the best builders and remodelers in Dallas, which is a great place to launch your home renovation or custom builder search. But what do you think about garage conversions? Will they help or hurt a home’s value?

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Joanna England

If Executive Editor Joanna England could house hunt forever, she absolutely would. Instead she covers the North Texas housing market and the economy for While she started out with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, Joanna's work has appeared in The Dallas Morning News as well as several local media outlets. When she's not knitting or hooping, or enjoying White Rock Lake, she's behind the lens of her camera. She lives in East Dallas with her husband, son, and their furry and feathered menagerie.

Reader Interactions


  1. James Scott says

    I think it depends somewhat on what the parking situation would look like post-conversion. Will there be ample room in a driveway of some sort to park one or two cars? And if so, will they be covered with covered access to inside?

    I purchased a home in University Manor around 2004 that did not have a garage, only a circle drive. The home was built in ’56, and from what my elderly neighbor that had lived in his house for 30+ years told me, the home had always been converted and never had a garage, even though there were signs that it was probably designed to have one. But the lack of garage made for an incredibly open floor plan and after some renovations to modernize the interior, I feel in love with the space and never really lamented not having a garage (except for when it rained and I couldn’t get inside my house without getting wet). I also had a storage unit in the back yard, which made up for the lack of storage space (isn’t that what most people use their garages for anyway?).

    That said, fast forward to 2014 when I put my home on the market (just when things were starting to really heat up), and I was disappointed by how many people indicated the lack of garage was a deciding factor for not even considering my house, even though the interior floor plan was great. Of course there were a few other issues with the house, but I know that the lack of garage definitely hurt me and as a result I did not get quite what I had initially hoped for (though I was still happy with the final sales price).

    This is just my experience, but I would say unless the entire house is in fantastic shape, and you have a good plan for alternative covered parking and storage, expect the increase in value from the incremental square footage to offset the decrease in value from losing the garage – at best.

  2. mmCandy Evans says

    Well I would never buy a home without an attached garage. Especially if you have children. Hauling grand babies from car seats reminds me of those days of carrying everything into the house. But then, I melt when I get rained on (truth: hair frizzes) so I like to pull in and get right into the house. Even our very first home had an attached ONE CAR garage. A lot of homes in East Dallas have back garages that are not attached and just become storage units. That said, a well-sited carport could work just fine and provide the protection future homeowners might want. Carports are also more green as they do not hold noxious fumes.

  3. Clay Bonner says

    Generally, living space is worth more than garage space – simply because it costs more to produce. Hopefully in this case, the garage is attached and the conversion will be property completed that the new space can be included as part of the primary living area. They will lose the value of the garage, but gain more value in living space. What constitutes a proper conversion is a heated topic for another post.

  4. Kathy says

    As a buyer, a converted garage is a no no to me unless it is done extremely well. I also want some kind of covered parking. What I hate is when the floor levels are not the same, if you have to step down or up into the converted room. And when there are several different types of flooring so it’s obviously a Reno. It’s hard to convert a garage or add on a room without it being glaringly obvious and often awkward. Good luck on this!

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