Check With Your Building Department Before Converting Your Garage Into Living Space
In my neighborhood, I would imagine that more than half
of the homeowners never even open their garage doors. If I was to stand
in front of my house and look as far down the street as possible, in
either direction, I couldn't find one home that uses their garage to
park their cars in.
About three quarters of them are full of stuff and the others are used for living space. Most of these areas haven't been converted into living space, but people do live in them. If the building and safety department ever went through every single home in my neighborhood, they would probably find building and safety violations in every single house.
If you're seriously thinking about converting your garage into living space, you should check with your local building department before converting your garage. The worst thing that you could do as a homeowner is spend thousands of dollars converting your garage into living space, only to find out that you weren't allowed to do it in the first place.
If you don't want to pull any building permits, then you're taking a chance. Later on in the future, you might need to remove all of the work that you had done, in order to sell your home. I wouldn't be writing this article, if this type of stuff never happens to anyone, but it does. I'm warning homeowners about converting their garages into living space, to save them a little financial heart ache in the future.
Some local building codes require minimum sizes for their garage. A few cities that I dealt with required a minimum width of 11 feet and a length of 18 feet, so that you could park at least one car in your garage.
Even if you're not planning on pulling any building permits, it wouldn't be a bad idea to contact your local building department for fire safety information. Find out what the minimum fire egress requirements are, in case there's a fire. Most bedrooms require an alternative fire exit, in case the interior of the home is on fire and you can't exit through the bedroom door.