Expert Tips to Reduce Garage Conversion Costs in 2024

BusinessExpert Tips to Reduce Garage Conversion Costs in 2024

Garage conversions are all the rage in Los Angeles right now, as folks try to make the most out of every inch of their homes. Instead of shelling out big bucks for a new place, converting a garage into extra living space is a wallet-friendly option that can really pay off.

Take turning a two-car garage into an additional dwelling unit, or ADU, for instance. It’s a smart move that not only bumps up your property value but can also bring in some handy rental cash. Right now, the garage conversion cost you’re looking at for a project like this in 2024 is between $70,000 and $107,000 on average. But why such a big range? Let’s break down what drives the cost of turning your old garage into a shiny new space.

What Affects Garage Conversion Cost

Fixed Costs

No matter how big or small your conversion, some costs just don’t budge. These include the fees for permits and designing your space, which are essentials to make sure everything’s above board and in line with local building rules.

Construction Details

If you’re planning to add a bathroom and kitchen, prepare for the price tag to jump. These aren’t just any rooms; they need proper plumbing, electrical setups, and some pretty pricey bits and pieces to work properly. This part of the build can really push up your overall spending.

Size and Scale

The size of your garage also plays a big part in how much this is all going to cost. Smaller garages might end up costing more per square foot because you’re cramming in all those costly essentials into a tinier area. On the flip side, if you’ve got a larger garage, the cost gets spread out a bit more, which could lighten the financial load.

Utilities and Infrastructure

Converting a garage is more than just a simple makeover. You might need to bring in new utility lines for water, electricity, and sewage. Plus, don’t forget about any structural changes that might be needed to support a new roof or foundation. These additions are important but can add a significant amount to your final bill.

So, there you have it! Converting your garage can be a clever way to expand your living space without buying a new house, but it comes with its own set of costs and considerations.

Breaking Down the Costs of a Garage Conversion

Design and Permits

Getting started on your garage transformation comes with its own price tag. For all the paperwork, including detailed designs and site plans, you’re looking at spending about $6,500 to $7,000. This step is crucial and can even involve speeding up the process to hit specific deadlines if you’re in a rush.


Costs Here’s where the big bucks start rolling. The average building cost is around $200 per square foot. So, if you’ve got a typical two-car garage, your total construction costs could swing from $60,000 to $95,000. It all depends on how big your garage is and the materials you choose to use.

City and Additional Fees

Don’t forget about the city fees! These are needed to get your plans approved and make sure your new space sticks to local regulations. These fees usually hover around $5,000 to $6,000. And if you’re in an area that’s a bit more sensitive environmentally, you might also have to shell out some cash for environmental impact assessments.

When you add it all up, converting your garage into a new, usable space isn’t just about sprucing up an old storage area—it involves quite a bit of planning, investment, and compliance with local laws. But the end result? Totally worth it if you’re looking to boost your living area without buying a new house!

Cost Trends for Garage Conversions in Los Angeles: A Look from 2020 to 2024

Garage conversions in Los Angeles have definitely gotten pricier over the last few years. Back in 2020, you could convert a two-car garage for somewhere between $56,000 and $84,250. Fast forward to 2021/2022, and those numbers had jumped to between $62,000 and $95,000. This spike mirrors the general trends in the market where both materials and labor costs were climbing.

Now, in 2024, the sticker price has reached $70,000 to $107,000, which means costs have shot up by about 25% since 2020. This steep climb is thanks to a mix of factors like a higher demand for housing, the rising price of construction materials, and tougher building regulations that demand more detailed planning and construction work.

Return on Investment (ROI)

Despite the steep upfront costs, turning your garage into living space can really pay off. In Los Angeles, homes can fetch about $714 per square foot. Compare that to the $225 per square foot it costs for a converted garage, and you can see how the added property value might really outweigh the initial spend. Then there’s the bonus of rental income. A smaller converted garage can bring in around $1,750 each month in rent. This extra cash can make a big dent in your mortgage payments, adding another financial upshot to the project. All things considered, while the price tag for converting a garage has gone up, the financial benefits—both in terms of increased property value and potential rental income—keep this option attractive for many homeowners in LA.

Case Study: Transforming a 2-Car Garage into a One-Bedroom ADU in Los Angeles

Imagine taking a standard 450 square foot, two-car garage and turning it into a stylish one-bedroom apartment. Here’s how the costs break down for such a project:

  • Design and Permits: $7,000
  • City Fees: $5,500
  • Construction Costs: $90,000 (this comes out to about $200 per square foot) 
  • Total Cost: $102,500

Once the makeover is complete, this ADU would bump up the property’s value by an impressive $321,300 (that’s 450 sq ft multiplied by the going rate of $714 per sq ft in Los Angeles). And that’s not even counting the extra income you could pull in if you decide to rent it out.

Considering Other Options

Of course, converting a garage isn’t the only way to add an ADU. Some folks might opt to build one from scratch. Although this usually costs more, it offers a fresh slate for customization. For example, building a brand-new 499 square foot ADU could set you back between $137,750 and $163,700. This route allows for more design freedom and can sidestep some of the typical hurdles you’d face when remodeling an existing structure.

Wrapping It Up

Garage conversions remain a smart choice for adding extra living space or earning rental income in Los Angeles, despite the rising garage conversion cost. The potential increase in property value and the opportunity to make extra money from rent are hard to overlook. Still, it’s very important for homeowners to think about their budget, the state of their current garage, and their financial goals for the future before diving into a project like this or going for a new build. Consulting with experts like Levi Construction can provide valuable insights and help ensure a successful project.

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