To help you decide whether a garage conversion is a wise move, Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa lists the various gains and losses of this sort of project:

Gain: extra space

“The most obvious advantage of this sort of renovation is that it allows you the additional living space you’ve been wanting. It’s a far more practical use of space if your garage has been sitting empty for the last few years – just bear in mind that future buyers might not share your sentiments on this matter.”

Loss: covered parking 

“While garage conversions have greater appeal globally, the lack of reliable public transport locally makes this option somewhat less appealing. Of course, you could work around this by creating an alternate safe parking spot by building an awning over your driveway and installing an electric gate around your property.”

Gain: lower renovation costs

“Understandably, renovating a pre-existing space will be much more affordable than building an entirely new structure from scratch. Just be cautious not to under-budget on this renovation. 

Garages are often not well insulated and can sometimes have dampness issues. The bare bones for a room might be there, but it can take a lot to make the space habitable.”

Loss: storage space

“Garages are often people’s warehouses for things that do not belong inside the house – most of which, if we’re honest with ourselves, should have been dumped ages ago. 

Nevertheless, that unused kayak that still has its price tag from 2003 needs to go somewhere; and, unless you plan on using it as a wall-mounted piece of ‘modern’ art for your new living space, it’s going to have to find a new home.”

“If you’re uncertain about whether to renovate your garage, get in touch with a local real estate agent and ask them for their advice. An experienced estate agent will know if others in your suburb have done the same and whether it helped sell their property. 

You can even ask them to prepare two valuations on your home for both pre and post renovation to help you decide whether the conversion will add or detract value,” Goslett concludes.