If you're a landlord, you want to make sure that your property is as attractive as possible to potential tenants. You may be keen to improve your property by converting a garage into a liveable space. The idea is that you can then advertise an extra bedroom, and this could also be used as a home office or gym.
But although this may sound tempting, it's not always the best option. Why not? There are actually a few situations when you could be hurting your chances of renting the property.
Would Your Tenants Prefer a Garage or an Extra Room?
Some tenants may be more than happy to have an extra room. But then again, some will prefer a garage, either for their car or for easy-access storage.
For example, a family may be happy with the extra room, whereas a professional couple may not need any extra space but would be very happy with a garage.
Before you make any decisions, it's always best to speak to a local real estate agent to find out what your target tenants tend to prefer in your area.
Is There Sufficient Parking Space?
One of the big issues is whether there is sufficient parking space in the drive, and this will be an important concern for some tenants. Keeping the car on the street may not be an attractive option, and it can also increase insurance premiums. There may even be restrictions when it comes to long-term parking.
It may not be a great idea to get rid of a perfectly good parking space in the garage if there is not enough space on the drive.
Will It Increase the Monthly Rent?
Garage conversions are often fairly inexpensive, at least when compared to adding an extra room in an extension. But can you afford the conversion in the first place? And, most importantly, will you really be able to command a higher rent as a result?
Even if a garage conversion is seen as desirable by tenants, they may not be prepared to pay much extra in rent. Sometimes tenants will not see the garage as a real extra room because it is not as comfortable.
Again, this is something to ask a specialist about before you decide to go ahead with your conversion.
Could It Lower the Property's Value?
One of the biggest mistakes a property owner can make is automatically assuming that a garage conversion will increase the value of the property. This may not be the case, and it could even lower the value.
As a landlord, you want to ensure you can command the highest price when you come to sell your property, so this is something that you will have to think over carefully.
Garages Are Useful
At the end of the day, a garage is a useful room in any home. People like to store their vehicles, bikes and tools inside them, and they like the fact that they can access them from outside.
While garage conversions can be fantastic, don't assume that a conversion will allow you to get more rent or to sell your property for a higher price. Always ask estate agents in your area for their advice before you make any big decision, and you may find that you are better off leaving it alone.