We often get the question of how to add an extra room for cheap to a home. We often suggest converting the garage into a livable space if you don't mind parking in the driveway. In Southern California we have the luxury of nice weather so this isn't a problem for most people. DIYers should be wary about converting the garage into a room though because it is a lot harder and more technical than adding drywall.
When dealing with a garage conversion permits a mandatory to obtain and are actually the first step into converting your garage into a livable space. Without a permit your garage conversion is considered illegal and it is far easier to ask permission that asking for forgiveness when it comes to the city. If you are caught by the city you will be surprised how quickly the fines can add up.
Unfortunately if you are caught the city will require you to have an inspector view the electrical and plumbing in the walls which mean all of the work you did will be for nothing. In the worst case scenario you will be required to convert the space back into a garage.
Ordinances are rules that homeowners have to abide by when changing their home. You need to look up and understand all of the ordinances in your city and county before you start any planning. For example in Orange and Los Angeles County it is required to have one covered parking spot at your home, which means you will have to build another garage if you do not have any covered parking that is off of the street.
What to Change
Now that you have the permits and understand the city ordinances you can start planning your conversion. In order to change a garage, that was built to store cars, into a space that will be design to be livable you have to understand that some major changes will have to take place. HVAC, carpeting, drywall, plumbing, windows, doors and whatever else your city ordinances consider mandatory for the space to be livable must be met. Not only do you have to think about city requirement, but you also need to design a space that matches the style of your home.
Now that you understand what goes into a garage conversion it might be a good idea to seek the help of your local contractor. A garage conversion is a big job that should be left to the pros. If you want to schedule a free consultation please do not hesitate to ask us!