Convert Your Garage To An ADU: A Guide To Turn Your Garage Into A Living Space

Have you ever wondered if your garage could be more than just a place to park your car or store old boxes? An ADU garage conversion could be the project you’re looking for.

Converting your garage into a living space is the best option to unlock your home’s potential

Marco Hernández

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on the ins and outs of garage conversions! Garage conversions offer a versatile solution for homeowners looking to make the most of their space and increase their property’s value. Whether you’re located in a city such as San Diego or Los Angeles, you’re probably eager to explore the process and the various transformation options. Let’s get started!


Understanding ADU Garage Conversions


Garage to ADU: Conversion Steps


Costs, Additional Income And Alternative Uses

Book a Free Consultation to see how you could benefit!

Understanding ADU Garage Conversions 

A garage conversion involves transforming a house’s garage, initially designed for vehicle storage, into a functional living space, such as bedrooms, offices, game rooms, and even fully equipped apartments like Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs). The main appeal of a garage conversion lies in its ability to maximize property space without the need for extensive construction or expanding the home’s footprint.

ADU Garage Conversion in San Diego

Types of Garage Conversions

Garages have surprising potential to become livable and functional spaces: from an art studio, a personal office, a gym, or even a guest space, which are living areas equipped with amenities such as a bathroom and a minibar; however, these types of renovations sometimes exclude full kitchens and are not designed for rentals activities.

But if you’re looking for a more independent living solution that can generate an extra source of income, a garage converted into an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is the best option! These standalone apartments have all amenities, from a private entrance to a kitchen and bathroom. It’s important to note that recent 2020 regulations have expanded the potential for ADUs, allowing them in single- and multi-family properties.

Garage to ADU: Conversion Steps

For a garage complete conversion, the process involves property evaluation, obtaining designs and permits, selecting the right contractor, and overseeing construction. So, can a garage become an ADU? Absolutely!

A good ADU should have a bathroom, bedroom, a separate entrance, and a small but functional kitchen. If you’re wondering what to do with your driveway, you can keep it or transform it into an outdoor terrace, and if you live near public transportation, you might not need to replace your parking space. Consider finding a trustworthy contractor and using second-hand appliances to save on costs. You can also do some finishing work yourself to stay within budget!

ADU Permits and Requirements in San Diego

  • There are numerous permit specifications for San Diego residents:
  • Drafting plans, local jurisdiction approval, ensuring the structure meets the building code for the new use, and local inspector approval.
  • Specific standards must be met if you’re modifying parking areas.
  • Architectural restrictions based on zoning codes are also crucial.
  • Water heaters or gas stoves are prohibited in bedrooms for occupants’ safety.
  • Buildings with historical significance, especially those over 45 years old or in historic districts, require particular scrutiny.
  • When near universities, the construction has its own set of parking rules.
  • Strict compliance with California and San Diego codes and adherence to the state’s Title 24 energy standards are non-negotiable.

Design and Construction Considerations

Now that we’ve reviewed some requirements, you must remember there’s more to consider beyond permits.

If your garage conversion affects the driveway, modifications might be necessary. Electrical and plumbing installations have their criteria, and any alterations to the roof structure require planning. Budget is essential, too, as there will be various fees, like plan reviews, permits, and potential charges from educational institutions or the San Diego Water Authority.

Additionally, it’s essential to consider whether the foundation and structure walls need replacement or repair, which can significantly increase project costs. In some cases, it might make sense to demolish and rebuild the structure with the exact dimensions in the same location.

Review and Approval Process

Turning plans into reality in San Diego follows a structured process. From setting up appointments to grasping the costs involved, each step in the plan review process is crucial. Why? Because following building codes, fire safety rules, and local zoning laws is necessary. Unauthorized changes are more than just legally problematic; they can also be unsafe!

Construction of an ADU

Costs, additional income and alternative uses

People often ask about the cost. Transforming a garage into an apartment is an investment. The price can vary based on where you live, the land’s features, and your garage’s current state. But generally, you can expect it to start at around $100,000. This information comes from the California Department of Housing and Community Development’s Guidelines for Garage Conversions ADUs. From design fees to construction costs and appliances, the spectrum is broad. However, the long-term Return on Investment (ROI) is usually positive. Conversions can increase property value, especially for home flippers, and offer a viable avenue for investors seeking additional rental income.

Family occupancy

Lastly, a garage conversion can transcend functionality. It can serve as an assisted living space for elderly relatives, a space for young adults looking for independence, and more, considering universal design for accessibility. And if you’re seeking some inspiration, read this case study to find out how one of our clients transformed his garage into a wholly functional ADU!

 The owner standing in front of their ADU

Don’t let your garage gather dust any longer! Garage conversions offer more than just space; they enhance both value and functionality. With a focus on local regulations and the essential aspects we’ve discussed, you’re well on your way to a successful garage renovation! Careful planning and execution can turn an often underutilized space into a valuable asset that meets your lifestyle needs and provides a return on investment.

Take the first step toward transforming your space and unlock your garage’s potential with Multitaskr’s expertise.

Book a Free Consultation to see how you could benefit!

Multitaskr blogs

This might interest you

ADU City Permits

Homeowners Face Delays for ADU City Permits

ADUs recently had gone through a boom in Californian cities thanks to government initiatives, but why does their permitting process approval take so long?
The White House, ADU and the future of affordable housing

The White House: ADUs and The Future of Affordable Housing

The government agrees that building ADUs are the best option to provide affordable housing and maximize the income of every homeowner.

Multitaskr Construction Gets A Grip On Industry Shortages

With the demand for construction not calming down anytime soon, the team behind the builds have put together a plan to avoid high bids, delayed timelines, and project cancellations.

100% ADU





We make ADUs easy for you!