Converting your garage into an accessory dwelling unit, or ADU, can turn your mostly unused junk storage space into a useful extra room, an office, or a crafting area. An ADU can also increase the value of your home, or offer a guest room for relatives and friends when needed.

Know the Local Rules

When installing an ADU or converting your existing garage into an ADU, there can be a wide range of rules and regulations you will need to adhere to in order to stay within the law of your city, state, or homeowner’s association.

Some of the more common rules for ADU installation can also include how large the unit can be, the distance from your property boundary lines, and more. When converting an existing garage into an ADU, some of these rules will not apply since the garage will already be within your property boundaries.

If installing an exterior building and turning that into an ADU, you will need to make sure it complies with all rules and regulations. You will normally start with blueprints or construction plans, these will need to have approval from your city as well as potentially your homeowner’s association before construction can begin.

When it comes to the ADU itself, the interior amenities and square footage may need to meet certain limits as well. For example, a bathroom will need to have the basic installations including a toilet and sink, as well as either a bathtub or shower stall.

One final consideration will be in the materials used on the exterior and interior of the ADU. If being constructed on your existing garage, this may not apply – but if placing an ADU in a separate building the roofing material won’t normally be accepted if it’s wooden shingles.

When it comes to siding on an external building, interlocked metal sheathing, composite, or laminates are rarely accepted materials.

Be Aware of the Cost

Converting your garage into a full livable extra apartment, office, or entertainment area may not be a cheap project, but it can drastically improve your home’s overall value. While there is no way to put a specific price on it, as it will depend on how much site preparation is needed and what features you want installed in the new unit, the price can range from $50,000 to $100,000 or more.

Working with a Professional

There can be a lot of things to consider before and during the conversion of an ADU. This may be more than some homeowners and DIY-ers are willing to take on, and rightfully so. In this case, hiring a professional to handle your garage conversion can remove a lot of the hassle and headache from you.

Professionals with experience in ADU construction can quickly and easily navigate through the permits and red tape that may come from city and state regulations, as well as work within a specific budget you may have for the overall project.