How to Evaluate Your House for a Garage Addition

How to Evaluate Your House for a Garage Addition

This is for informational purposes - always check with your permitted authority or regulatory body first.

In the US, 80% of homes and condos have a garage or carport. Garages are a huge selling feature and add to the value of your home. But it is easy to outgrow your garage, and many homeowners need more garage space to store more than just their cars.

Building a garage addition to your home is a smart decision. But you’ll want to evaluate whether your property will allow you to add a garage. We’ll explain how to potentially evaluate your home for a garage addition and help you determine if it may be worth it.

How Do I Plan a Garage Addition?

To evaluate and plan for a garage addition, you must do a few things in the early design stages before starting the build.

Define Your Garage Requirements

First things first, you need to choose the type of garage you want and the number of desired carports. If you build an attached or detached garage will significantly affect the cost of the garage addition:

  • Attached Garages: The average cost of adding an attached garage costs $26K, but it can range from $10K to $43K, depending on the number of car spaces and where you live.
  • Detached Garages: The average building cost of a detached garage can vary significantly. You can buy a no-frill prefab garage for a single car for about $1500. And to build a custom separate structure garage with a mother-in-law suite can cost upwards of $50K.

You’ll want to determine how much space you need and a budget for what you plan to spend on the build.

Related Link: My Site Plan Frequently Asked Questions

Determine The Accessibility to the Garage

When designing where to build the garage, you need to consider accessibility and how it will affect the current driveway. Depending on the size, orientation, or shape of the garage can significantly impact your driveway. Depending on your garage design, you may need to alter or replace the driveway.

You’ll need to determine your exact property boundaries to see if your property allows enough space to accommodate the garage design.

Find Out Your Local Zoning Laws, Ordinances, and Requirements for Building a Garage

If you use a building contractor for the project, then they will be able to help familiarize you with the local zoning laws and what the laws will allow. A contractor will also get permits for the build and inspections, if necessary, to ensure the garage is legal and compliant.

You can find information and documentation about local zoning laws and ordinances in your city building. They may also provide this information on the local government’s website for easier access.

Related Link: What Are the Steps to Renovating a House?

Get a Site Plan to Design and Ensure the Garage Addition is Possible

site plan illustrates an aerial view of your property, defining boundaries and features that can help visualize the garage addition. Many local governments also require them for building and zoning permits.

You may need to provide a site plan for the garage addition when your builder submits the permit applications. If so, you may want to consider our site plan and floor plan services for quick and accurate plans.

Decide if You Want to Add Mother-in-law Suite Above Your Garage

Even if you don’t do it as part of the initial build, you may want to mock up a floor plan for an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) above your garage. Then you can evaluate the costs and include them as part of your build.

If you decide you don’t want to add the ADU now, you may want to incorporate building all the necessary utility hookups. This way, the garage is prepped so that it is easier to add the ADU later.

Note: You’ll want to find out if your local zoning allows for ADUs on your property to ensure the living space is legal before you build it. You’ll need to submit floor plans for building permits if you decide to build it.

Does Adding a Garage Add Value to Your Home?

There are lots of benefits to adding a garage to your home:

  • It creates extra space for doing work like a workshop.
  • It can double as a man cave or a place to escape.
  • Garages provide much-needed extra space.
  • A garage can add property value when you go to sell.

How Much Value Does a Garage Add?

A garage addition can add, on average, $5k-$25K to the value of your property. Adding custom features or a mother-in-law suite will also add more value, but this value can vary, so it’s difficult to estimate what it will be for your particular design. If you are concerned, you could get an appraiser to value the garage before you build.

Building a Garage Addition is A Smart Way to Add Value to Your Property

A garage addition provides your property more storage, space, and curb appeal. You’ll want to evaluate zoning, design, and costs to ensure you can build the necessary garage space that you need.

Related Link: I Want to Renovate My House? Where Do I Start?


FAQ Answer
What should I consider when choosing between an attached or detached garage? The choice between an attached or detached garage largely depends on your specific needs and property layout. Consider the cost difference, the space available on your property, and how the garage's placement might affect existing structures and accessibility.
How can I determine the best location for my new garage on my property? When deciding the location for a garage addition, consider the accessibility from the main road, the impact on the existing driveway, and proximity to your home if you opt for an attached garage. You should also check for any utility lines or septic systems that might affect the placement.
What are the typical steps involved in obtaining a building permit for a garage addition? Typically, obtaining a building permit involves submitting a detailed site plan, demonstrating compliance with local zoning laws, and possibly a review by local authorities. It's crucial to consult with a building contractor or a local government office to understand the specific requirements in your area.
How do I find out about the zoning restrictions related to garage additions in my area? You can usually find zoning information at your local city building office or on the local government’s website. Alternatively, working with a local contractor familiar with these laws can provide guidance and help in acquiring necessary permits.
What should I include in my budget for a garage addition? Your budget should include costs for materials, labor, design, any necessary demolition, site preparation, and additional features like electrical and plumbing if you plan to include a living space. Also, factor in potential costs for altering the driveway or landscaping.
How can I ensure that my garage addition complies with local building codes? Work with a qualified contractor who is knowledgeable about local building codes and permit processes. Ensuring compliance typically involves having detailed plans, obtaining the right permits, and scheduling inspections during and after construction.
Can I build a garage if my property is on a slope or uneven ground? Building on a slope or uneven ground is possible but may require additional groundwork and engineering to ensure stability and compliance with building codes. Consulting with an architect or builder who has experience with similar terrain is advisable.

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  • Ryan Crownholm