Garage conversions – what you need to know
If you’re currently looking for a way to add space to your home, you may have been considering some kind of extension but been put off by the chunk of garden you’d end up losing. If this is the case, then chance are your eyes have turned upwards as you’ve considered a loft conversion. And while these are great, what if your loft isn’t suitable, or what if what you really need is some extra space on the ground floor?
If any of this sounds like you and you’ve also got an attached garage that’s full of old bikes and cardboard boxes, then what about considering a garage conversion to add livable space to your home? Here are a few things to think about to help you decide whether this could be the right choice for you…
Many UK garages go unused
While you might feel that your garage is currently being used as an integral and vital part of your home, the chances are that it isn’t. Across the UK, around 4.6 million garages are no longer used to store cars, with the family vehicle sitting on the drive while the garage is used as a store room for chest freezers, lawnmowers and garden toys. While you may truly believe that you need your garage as storage space, why not take a look at what you’re holding onto? Perhaps you could find a different space to store much of it? Maybe it all belongs in a skip?
Many garages aren’t big enough
Even if you do have a grand plan to one day clear out the garage, you might find that once you finally drive your car out of the cold and into the garage, you can’t actually get out of it. That’s because many UK garages are remnants of 1950s suburban homes which had garages designed to accommodate 1950s cars. If you’ve ever seen a modern Mini Cooper parked next to its original Mini ancestor, you’ll have seen just how dramatically bigger modern cars are. What this means is that a significant percentage of UK garages can’t even fit an average-sized modern car.
Garage conversions can improve the look of a property
While garage door designs have come on a long way since the 1950s, if part of your home’s front aspect still includes an up-and-over sheet metal garage door, now might be time to consider the aesthetic benefits of a conversion.
A garage conversion wouldn’t just revolutionise your home’s internal space, it would alter your house’s outward appearance too: replacing that ugly garage box with a new room complete with modern windows designed to let lots of magnificent natural light into your extra living space.
Increase the value of your home
It’s no surprise given the last points but yes, increasing a property’s curb appeal as well as the amount of internal living space almost inevitably increases its market value. In fact, the average garage conversion increases a property's value by approximately 10%. To put this into perspective, the average house price in the UK is currently £222,600 which means that a garage conversion could inject an extra £22k into the value of the average home.
Planning permission? Not always
Many garage conversions are likely to be considered ‘permitted development’ providing it is not a listed building. However, if your property is relatively new, you may want to check the specific terms and conditions concerning the lease. It’s possible there may have been a stipulation in the house’s initial planning approval that a garage should remain as parking in order to keep the street clear. In this case, you would need to carry out a planning permission application for a change of use.
Is a garage conversion right for you?
Ultimately, if you’re a petrol head who keeps your pride and joy safe from the elements in your garage, or if you use it as a workshop, a garage conversion isn’t going to be the right home improvement for you. For many homeowners, though, the garage can be a cold, ugly junk storeroom that’s rarely ventured into. Yet it could be easily, and inexpensively, turned into a beautiful new kitchen extension, play or dining room.