Rather than moving home when you need more space, you could consider converting your garage. It can be much cheaper than moving or building an extension and could add value to your property – as much as 20%.
You may decide to extend your kitchen, create a playroom for your kids, have a second lounge or gain an extra bedroom. You could convert the garage so that the new room stands within its original dimensions or knock through and create a much bigger room.
Open plan living is extremely popular and having a garage conversion could help transform your home, especially if you’re feeling very cramped and boxed in.
If you currently have a tiny kitchen and nowhere to entertain, opening it up so you have a kitchen diner could be just the ticket.
Here are some questions to ask yourself before you start converting your garage...
How can I make the most of the space?
Spend time inside your garage, weighing up the space. The average single garage is 3m wide and 6m long. Think about how you are going to rehouse the items currently stored in your garage.
You may be able to utilise your loft, have storage cupboards along one wall, or you may want to consider splitting the room in two. You could decide to have a small utility room/storage room and a large study, for instance.
Have I done my research?
Ask any friends or neighbours who have converted their garages if you can take a look. Ask for recommendations and then get quotes. You don’t want to pay over the odds or end up with a builder who isn’t up to the job.
Are my finances in order?
Design fees for a single garage conversion are usually in the region of £1,400 - £3,000, with a structural engineer costing £300 - £400. The building work itself will usually cost approximately £1,000 - £1,400 per square metre.
If you’re going to be relying on credit to fund your conversion, think very carefully, as you need to be confident that you’ll be able to afford your monthly payments or there can be serious consequences.
Are there any planning or building regulations to consider?
You won’t usually have to get planning permission to convert your garage as the work is strictly internal and you’re not extending. However, it is worth checking with your local planning authority, just in case. If you live in a conservation area, for example, you may still need planning permission.
If you live in a listed building, will be using the space for business or your local council has restrictions on reduced parking, you will need to get planning permission for your garage conversion.
Do I have a contract?
Before any work starts, make sure you have a signed contract from the contractor/conversion company you’re employing to do the work. As well as stating the price you will pay, your contract should list what you expect and the responsibilities of everyone involved.
Do I have to let my insurer know?
It’s vital that you let your home insurance company know that you’re converting your garage, so that you’re covered during the build and afterwards.
A garage conversion is a major change to your property and, if you don’t inform your home insurance company, you could risk any future claims you make being turned down and your policy could be invalidated.
You will usually have to make sure that you stay in your property every night the building work is taking place (e.g. you can’t go on holiday during the build).
If your home insurance is due to expire soon, why not get a quote for Rias home insurance?