Last updated on December 1st, 2023 at 06:26 pm

Quick Answer

  • Yes, when a garage is converted to living space, it is usually included in the total square footage of the home.
  • This usually means garage conversions have air conditioning and it might have plumbing too.

One of the most common questions homeowners have when considering converting their garage into living space is whether or not it will count towards the overall square footage of their home.

It’s an important question to ask, as the square footage of a property can greatly impact its value and resale potential.

In this article, we’ll explore the answer to this question in detail, providing you with all the information you need to make an informed decision.

Did you know that approximately 80% of homeowners who convert their garages into living space do not include the square feet in their home’s total square footage.

The average cost of converting a garage into living space is between $10,000 and $50,000.

Approximately 10.7 million households in the United States have a garage, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Definition of Square Footage

To understand whether a converted garage counts as square footage, it’s essential to first understand what square footage actually means.

Square footage refers to the total area within the walls of a structure, this measurement is done in square feet.

This includes both finished and unfinished areas, such as bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens, hallways, and even garages.

However, there are certain criteria that must be met for a space to be considered habitable and counted as part of the square footage.

Criteria for Habitable Space

In order for a space to be considered habitable and counted as part of the square footage, it must meet certain criteria.

These criteria typically include:

    • Having a minimum ceiling height, usually around 7 feet
    • Having proper ventilation [like the rest of the home] and natural light
    • Being accessible and connected to the main living areas
    • Having a permanent heating and cooling source
    • Have the same type of construction and finishes as the rest of the house 

    Spaces that do not meet these criteria, such as unfinished basements or storage areas, are typically not included in the square footage calculation.

    The quality of materials used in the garage space should be like that of the rest of the house.

    Approximately 53% of homeowners who convert their garages do so to add living space to their homes, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

    Converted Garages and Square Feet

    When it comes to converted garages, whether they count as square footage depends on whether they meet the criteria for habitable space.

    Approximately 25% of the total square footage of a typical house is taken up by the garage.

    The average size of a garage is 18 feet by 20 feet, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

    If the garage has been properly converted and meets all the necessary criteria, it can be counted as part of the square footage.

    However, if the conversion is not up to code or does not meet the criteria, it may not be included in the square footage calculation.

    Habitable Space Requirements

    While every jurisdiction may have slightly different requirements, there are generally accepted standards for a space to be considered habitable and included in the square footage measurement.

    These include:

    Adequate Ceiling Height

    A habitable space typically requires a minimum ceiling height of around 7 feet.

    Proper Egress

    The space should have at least one window large enough to serve as an emergency exit.

    Heating and Cooling

    The space should have appropriate heating and cooling systems (air conditioning) to ensure comfort throughout the year.

    Permanent Access

    There should be a permanent and direct means of access from the main living area of the house to the converted space.

    If the converted garage meets these requirements, it can generally be considered habitable space and included in the overall square footage of the home.

    However, it’s important to check with your local building department or a real estate professional to ensure compliance with specific regulations in your area.

    A real estate agent with experience can also offer advice to a seller on a number of things including how much value can be added to the home by completing a conversion to the property. 

    The Impact on Home Value

    Converting a garage into living space can have a significant impact on the value of a home and put more money in the seller’s pocket.

    According to a study conducted by Zillow, homes with a finished garage tend to sell for 13% more than those without.

    This suggests that buyers place a premium on additional livable square footage, even if it was originally intended as a garage.

    By converting your garage, you not only gain valuable living space but also potentially increase the value of your property.

    Increased Appeal to Buyers

    Additionally, having a larger square footage can make your home more appealing to a potential house buyer,  especially in competitive markets where every square foot counts.

    It provides more flexibility in terms of room layout and functionality, allowing homeowners to accommodate their needs and preferences more effectively.

    Whether it’s an extra bedroom, a home office, a kitchen, or a dedicated entertainment area, the possibilities are endless when you convert your garage into usable space.

    Converting a garage into living space can be a cost-effective way to add square footage to your home. 

    Furthermore, converting a garage into living space can be a cost-effective way to add square footage to your home.  If you plan on selling your home in the future, it should be worth more.

    Instead of building an addition, which can be expensive and time-consuming, repurposing an existing space can be a more affordable option.

    This can be particularly beneficial for homeowners who are looking to maximize their living space without breaking the bank.

    Increased Functionality

    Moreover, converting a garage into living space allows homeowners to create a space that suits their specific needs and lifestyle.

    Whether it’s a home gym, a playroom for the kids, or a workshop for hobbies, the possibilities are endless.

    This flexibility in functionality can greatly enhance the overall enjoyment and usability of the home.

    Converting a garage into living space can provide a solution for homeowners who need additional space but don’t want to move.

    Additionally, converting a garage into living space can provide a solution for homeowners who need additional space but don’t want to move.

    This can be particularly beneficial for growing families or individuals who work from home and need a dedicated office space.

    By repurposing the garage, homeowners can avoid the hassle and expense of moving while still gaining the extra space they need.

    Considerations Before Converting Your Garage

    While converting your garage into living space may seem like a great idea, there are a few factors to consider before taking the plunge:

    Permits

    Check with your local building department to determine if any permits are required for the conversion.

    Failing to obtain proper permits can result in fines and complications down the road.

    Parking

    Consider whether losing your garage will affect your parking situation.

    If street parking is limited or inconvenient, you may need to explore alternative parking options.

    Resale

    While converting your garage can increase the value of your home, it may not appeal to all buyers.

    Some potential buyers may prefer a functional garage over additional living space, so consider the potential impact on resale before making a final decision.

    If the quality of materials used is not like the rest of the house, it can turn off buyers and create a problem for sellers. 

    By carefully considering these factors and ensuring compliance with local regulations, you can make an informed decision about whether converting your garage into living space is the right choice for you.

    How does the value of a home change when the garage is included in the square feet

    The value of a home can be significantly impacted when the garage is included in the square footage. This is primarily because the inclusion of a garage increases the overall living space, which is a key factor in determining a property’s value.

    However, it’s important to note that this doesn’t always translate to a higher selling price. 

    The value added by a garage depends on several factors such as its condition, size, and functionality.

    How is a converted garage different from a regular garage

    A converted garage is a garage that has been transformed to serve another purpose.

    • It could be converted into a living space, like a bedroom, a home office, a gym, or a hobby room, etc.
    • This usually involves improving the flooring, walls, and ceiling, installing insulation and perhaps windows, adding plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems, and re-purposing the garage door.

    How is square footage typically measured

    Here’s the step-by-step process:

    •  Measure the length of the room. This refers to the longest side of the room, wall to wall.
    • Measure the width of the room, which is the measurement of the shorter side, wall to wall.
    • Multiply the length by the width.

    For example, if the length of a room is 10 feet and the width is 10 feet, multiplying these two measurements will give a total of 100 square feet.

    What is the cost to convert a garage into livable square feet 

    As a rough estimate, HomeAdvisor reports that most homeowners spend between $5,600 and $21,200 for a garage conversion project, with the average cost around $12,000 to $15,000. 

    However, luxury or high-end garage conversions could cost as much as $25,000 to $35,000 or more.

    Final Thoughts

    Converting a garage into living space can be an excellent way to add square footage and increase the value of your home.

    Many house buyers in DFW convert spaces to increase the selling price of the houses. 

    As long as the converted space meets habitable space requirements, such as adequate ceiling height and proper egress, it can generally be counted towards the overall square footage.

    However, it’s important to check with local building authorities and real estate professionals to ensure compliance with specific regulations in your area.

    With careful planning and consideration, you can transform your garage into valuable living space that enhances both your daily life and the value of your property.