A lot of contractors will come out and give you an estimate for free. So that should help you make your decision a little bit easier. Is the the home worth it? Your Realtor should have provided you with comps to see comparable sales, if not, ask for it.
Construction costs vary depending upon your location. I would recommend you speak with a licensed contractor in your area in order to get an excellent and reliable answer to this question. My opinion ( I have done quite a bit of remodel work) is that it won't take that much to return the converted garage into a garage.I wouldn't let that stop me from a great house at a great price.
Tearing out any rooms made inside the garage is cheap. A sledgehammer and a lot of sweat. Just make sure you do NOT touch anything electrical. If electric wires were put in and need to be taken out that could be more expensive if you have a professional do it. Since a garage does not need insulation, pretty walls, or anything that a room like in a house would it is just removing what was added unless they cut some beams. If that happened (unlikely) it could get pricey.
Yup, get a contractor to give an estimate of removal costs. Then you know the correct amount.
Remember... construction codes were created for safety reasons. Work built without a permit can be unsafe, no matter how good it looks.
The city's Neighborhood Code Compliance Department enforces codes on already-built structures. The telephone number for Code Compliance in the state of California is (619) 236-5500.
Good luck !!! Should you need any other information feel free to contact me at my offices in Santa Rosa,California. Jeffrey Martino Young Branch Manager at Essex Mortgage Bank toll free # (877) 870-2676 or online at http://www.fhasubmissions.com
It is usually cheaper to tear down than to build up. If you are handy or have family and friends who are, maybe you can do most yourself. You can still offer a lower price on a foreclosure. If you really LOVE the house, then
get back to the Realtor who showed it to you and let that agent help you get it!
Good Luck and God Bless!
If you're not into physical labor, call a couple licensed handymen and ask what they'd charge. Also check with a licensed contractor. Without seeing it, it would be difficult for anyone to give you a price.
Don't let something like this keep you from buying a house that you love.