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To Add-on or Not To Add-on: Garage Edition


garage add on to home

A garage can be a versatile space — used for storage or work, or to produce income — that adds value to your home. If you’re thinking of building a garage or overhauling your current one, you’ll want to gather some basic info. Get started with our tips on estimating building costs, saving on those costs (think DIY!), and figuring your possible return when you sell someday.


How to Estimate the Cost of Building Your Garage 

The cost of a garage is based on a few key elements, and each affects the price.


Calculate Garage Cost by Square Foot 

Contractors estimate the typical cost to build a garage at $35 to $70 per square foot. Based on these numbers, a 12-foot-by-24-foot single-car garage may cost an average $15,000, and a 24-foot-by-24-foot two-car garage may cost around $30,000. These numbers can vary depending on the nature of your project. 


Calculate Garage Cost by Type 

Your cost will change depending on whether your garage will be attached or detached. For example, a larger detached garage may cost significantly more than an attached garage.

However, building a smaller, single-car detached garage can be relatively quick and easy, meaning it will cost less overall than an attached version. A contractor can provide estimates for the options so you can make the right choice for your budget.


Upgrades and Additional Garage Costs 

Lighting, heating, and water are vital utilities if your garage will be a workspace. Unfortunately, these features will make the construction and maintenance of your garage pricier. Additional living space, such as a loft space, will also add considerably to your bill, especially if you want utilities in those spaces.


Garage Cost Savings: DIY vs. Contractor vs. Prefab 

Another big question is whether you’ll save more by building the garage yourself, hiring a contractor, or using a prebuilt garage. Garages aren’t easy projects for beginner DIYers, so if that’s you, you’ll want to hire a contractor. Having the job done right will save you time, money, and aggravation.


If you have experience, you can always build the garage yourself and call in licensed professionals to install HVAC, electrical, or water. This combo option can help you cut costs while still keeping your garage in premium condition. 


The third option is to buy a preconstructed (known as prefab) garage and place it on your property. This choice will be cheaper than building a garage yourself, but you may not be able to add custom features or expand the garage in the future. 


Should You Upgrade Your Garage or Build a New One? 

If your house’s garage is in disrepair or if you just need more space, you might be wondering if it’s better to upgrade the existing unit or start with a clean slate and build a new one.


Whether to upgrade or build new depends on the how old your home is, whether there are issues with the foundation or roof, what the desired use is, and what size you want your garage to be.


For example, adding room for another car by upgrading your garage might be cheaper and easier than building from scratch. But if your garage has cracked or sagging walls that indicate foundation issues, it might be time to build a new one.


How Much Value Does a Garage Add to a Home? 

It can be difficult to estimate the added value of a garage to a house, as both detached and attached garages will affect the value differently. But there are a few general estimates to go by. 


A detached garage can add a value of one-half to one-fourth of the home’s square footage price. But keep in mind this estimate doesn’t count any potential amenities or utilities you could add.


An attached garage is a different story. On average, houses with attached garages sold for around $25,000 more nationwide than houses without. However, it’s important to remember that garage sizes, materials, and costs may vary, so there’s no way to know if that number will calculate an added value to your home.


Questions to Ask Garage Contractors 

If you decide to use a contractor to build your garage, get an estimate that includes the cost of materials, the type of garage, and all the amenities you want for your project. A good contractor will give you a proper estimate of the cost of your project, including time, labor, equipment rental and usage, and material costs. If you need help to find a quality contractor, a REALTOR®, a member of the National Association of REALTORS®, can recommend one in your area.

These days, we’re getting creative in how we use our garages. But before building a new garage or transforming your current one, do some checking. The more you know about the costs, possible returns, and options for getting the work done, the happier you’ll be with the results.

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