Z Real Estate Beat – Making Room for Mom

Read to find out Allison Goodhart's top suggestions for converting a garage into living space, and other ideas for adding that extra bedroom.

(Photo courtesy of the Goodheart Group

By Allison Goodhart

We all know life is full of surprises. We can plan all we want but sometimes we’re still caught by surprise. One of the most common scenarios is when a family suddenly needs an extra bedroom in their home. Perhaps an ailing parent needs to move in or you’ve decided an au pair is the best childcare solution. Or maybe you’ve downsized but now an adult child needs to move back home. What do you do?

Below are our top suggestions for converting a garage into living space, and other ideas for adding that extra bedroom.

Converting a Garage into Living Space

To make a garage livable, the garage door must be replaced with an exterior wall, insulation must be installed, the floor must be made level with the rest of the house, and the entire space must be drywalled. Converting a garage to a living space costs from $15,000 to $20,000, depending on size. (That figure doesn’t include plumbing work).

Putting Up a Wall

If you have a large room, consider dividing it into two smaller bedrooms with a non-load-bearing wall. Keep in mind, in order to be considered a bedroom, the new room must have a window. This common method of dividing a room is a fairly easy do-it-yourself project or a low-cost contractor job. The main issue is re-routing electrical lines and changing overhead lighting, if necessary. These jobs should be done by a licensed electrician. Installing a new wall costs close to $2,000 (national average).

Converting a Living or Dining Room

Today’s homes often have vaulted rooms that, while beautiful, never get used. These rooms present the perfect opportunity to repurpose the room into the living space you need. For example, if you have a living room that’s off the beaten path, you can easily create an extra bedroom. One of our clients converted her living room into a bedroom suite for her ailing parent. When it came time to sell the home, she converted it back into living space.

Finishing an Attic

You can easily create a guest suite by finishing an attic. A complete rehab typically involves installing insulation, ventilation, HVAC, drywall, paint, electric, flooring, stairways, windows, and a bathroom. The average national cost for such a renovation is $64,000. (As a rule of thumb, you should not invest more than 15 percent of your home’s value into converting your attic.)

But this isn’t all. Other ideas for adding a bedroom include:

● Building on top of an existing garage

● Converting an addition into a bedroom

● Converting a basement or a loft

● Adding on to the back of your house

● Enclosing a porch or patio

Research all your options before making this investment, to be sure it will both provide the extra space you want and add to your home’s value.

ICYMI: Selling a Home Where the Kids Still Roam: Our Top Tips

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