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Tips For Adding Value to Your Home Using the Space Above the Garage.

Mar 03, 2021

Do you have space above your garage that you would like to convert to living space?  You picture a game room or teenage hangout.  Is it wise to spend money on this space?  It certainly can be if you understand the real estate appraisal process so your renovation dollars are used in places that will add value to the home.

There are a few things you need to understand about finished living area of a home.  The finished living area is defined as, "an enclosed area that is suitable for year round use and walls, floors and ceilings are similar to the rest of the house." So if you want the space above the garage to be counted in the finished living area the quality of the heating and cooling systems, walls, floors and ceilings must match the rest of the house.

 

Another important fact to know is that finished living areas must have a height of at least 7 feet. Rooms with slanted ceilings will be counted as living area if a portion of the room has a ceiling height of at least 5 feet if at least 1/2 of the room has a ceiling height of at least 7 feet.

A third important aspect to consider is the definition of "gross living area". "Gross living area" is the total area of finished and above grade residential space. For rooms and spaces to be included in the "gross living area" they must be accessible from other living areas.  So finished areas that are not connected to the house by a hallway or conventional staircase cannot be included in the "gross living area" number. The garage does not count as a living area.

So to simplify things, using the space above the garage is a smart way to use renovation dollars if the ceiling is at least 7 feet tall, the space is connected to the rest of the house through conventional stairway, and the space is finished in a similar quality to the rest of the house.

 

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