Home Buying in 94954>Question Details

Trini, Other/Just Looking in 94954

How much to convert half-finished living space back into 2-car garage?

Asked by Trini, 94954 Sat Jul 3, 2010

We recently looked at a gorgeous 5 bd, 3 ba home for $399,999 in a great area. Only, when we looked at the "garage", we discovered the previous owner attempted to convert the 2-car garage into another living space. So there is no garage, and a half-finished room. It is a foreclosure, so we cannot negotiate. I LOVE this house, but realistically, how much are we looking to spend on converting a half-finished room back into a 2-car garage? Is it worth buying?

Help the community by answering this question:


Hi Trini,

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.

Kamal Randhawa
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 6, 2010
Dear Trini,
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.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 3, 2010
The garage doors cost real money. Putting them up is a real pain...

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.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 3, 2010
You need to confer with contractors who can provide you bids. Without looking at the space no one can provide a bid estimate. It all depends on what prior owner did for the conversion.

Web Reference: http://www.lynn911.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 3, 2010
If you love the house it's worth buying. If you're worried about having the cash needed to purchase the house and convert the garage back think about a FHA 203k rehab loan. It's a hybrid construction/30yr fixed FHA loan. You can include the costs of fixing the garage, any updating you might want to do, new carpet, etc into one loan. This would eliminate your problems. For more information on the FHA 203k loan just contact me.
Web Reference: http://www.thereganteam.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 3, 2010
These garage conversions are found all over Sonoma County, particularly in Santa Rosa's south west and south east sides. Sonoma County and all the cities I checked with in the past are happy to see these illegal conversions gone. It can be as simple to fix as Heather said or it can require more work, but it shouldn't be a deal breaker if you like the house otherwise. From your description it sounds like this was done without permits, but you can check online permit history at the link below.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 3, 2010
The very first thing I would do is see if the work was done with permits .... If a permit, when needed, is not obtained before construction, you have violated city codes and regulations; you'll be subject to fines and penalties. You'll be required to obtain permits for the work and it must pass inspection, or you'll have to return the structure or site to its original condition.

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
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 3, 2010
Construction codes were not created for safety reasons. They were created to make govt. bureaucrats and builders more work and take away individual freedoms of creative individuals. Pretty soon we will be "protected" to death and the only reason these things pass is because some people sit around in fear and worry about everything that could go wrong instead of getting out and doing something.
Flag Fri Jun 14, 2013
You need to get a contractor or 2 in to give you estimates. You do not say how "finished" it is.
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!
Web Reference: http://www.cybteam.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 3, 2010
Is the garage door opener still there? Is the garage door still there? If so, just rip down the drywall. You're talking a little sweat equity.

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.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 3, 2010
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