Property Q&A in 90066>Question Details

Alex, Home Buyer in 90066

Is it legal to add a bathroom in a garage that has been converted to an office? How much would it cost?

Asked by Alex, 90066 Mon Apr 30, 2012

Help the community by answering this question:


Hi Alex;
Yours is such an interesting question, and one I hear from my clients on a weekly basis. Mar Vista is one of the areas notorious for additions and conversions that are not permitted.
My first question is:
Is the garage conversion legal (permitted)? While I am not a contractor, architect, nor a Department of Building and Safety employee, I do know that in order to permit a garage conversion, you must replace the covered parking. That means that you must have 2 car parking, covered, someplace on the property. (It can be tandem and a carport, but it must be present.)
So, on to your question. Yes, in order to get RESALE value from an addition, it should be permitted. Anecdotally, people add baths every day without permit, without help of a contractor. Any GOOD contractor will insist on pulling a permit, to protect his license and your project. If they don't insist, don't hire them. Do it right.
But adding a bath MAY open a can of worms if you don't have that replacement parking. Your bathroom addition may include a parking addition. That's why it's impossible for me to gauge the scope of work, or the cost. While I would love to be able to advise you, in this case this is best handles by a professional. But here are the general specs:
Converting existing floor space in an area such as a garage, basement or attic to include a bathroom cost between $3,000 and $6,000. Depending on the extravagance of the bathroom and its distance away from plumbing lines, it could cost between $7,000 and $25,000 or more. Adding a half bathroom will fall in the lower end of the cost spectrum, as a half-bath requires only a toilet and a sink.
If you have to add additional floor space to your home to add a bathroom, expect to pay $25,000 to $50,000 and up, depending on complexity and local labor rates. The nationwide average cost to add a spa-quality 10-by-12-foot master bathroom is $73,145. Doing some of the work yourself and shopping for deals on supplies are two ways to reduce the overall cost of the bathroom addition.
Paying a professional to add a bathroom to your home is ideal if you are not familiar with do-it-yourself projects. A professional will make sure your bathroom meets local building codes. The labor costs may add to the overall bathroom addition, but these costs are much lower than the cost to fix certain errors.
Of course buyers will appreciate having the extra bath, but without a permit, they will discount its value. My clients do that every day. In addition, the tax rolls will indicate the lower bath count, and appraisers cannot count the bath as permitted space.
So my final word:
If your family needs an extra bath, if at all possible, get the permits now. It pays off in the long run.

Deborah Bremner
The Bremner Group at Coldwell Banker
REALTOR, 00588885, ABR, CDPE, eAgent, CSP, SFR, HRC, CRE
(O) 310-571-1364 DIRECT
(D) (310) 800-2954
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 1, 2012
The question may be how much does it cost, after you get caught? The city can come down hard and ask you to convert the garage back to how it was originally, and write you up for any other code violations they may notice. City inspectors have been known to cruise around the streets of Mar Vista, looking for people doing work without permits. Beware!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 1, 2012
We don't live in this house--just asking theoretical questions as we consider purchasing. Assume everything is permitted and that is not an issue--what does it cost to add a legal, permitted bathroom to a legal, permitted converted garage?
Flag Tue May 1, 2012
If you don't have it done with a permit the city can make you remove it at your cost if they discover it and you don't benefit from increased resale value. Only prices from someone willing to do the work have any meaning to you.Get competitive bids from contractors. Unless you are willing to take on the risk check their license and insurance and find out if they will pull permit. You should check to see if the garage conversion was permitted. It would be odd to have a permitted bathroom in an unpermitted conversion - one risky and the other cautious.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 30, 2012
Thank you, Janey and Sona!
Flag Mon Apr 30, 2012
Get a permit to make any changes to your house or you're not adding any value and money spent is wasted.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 30, 2012
So in theory it isn't illegal? We are in Mar Vista near Santa Monica
Flag Mon Apr 30, 2012
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