Advertiser Disclosure

advertising disclaimer
Skip to main content
small bedroom

What Is a Garage Apartment, and Is It the Right Investment for You?

Airbnb made this home improvement project more popular, but the pandemic created a spike in demand to convert garages to livable space for family members -- fast.


[Updated: Apr 28, 2021 ] May 31, 2020 by Lena Katz
Get our 43-Page Guide to Real Estate Investing Today!

Real estate has long been the go-to investment for those looking to build long-term wealth for generations. Let us help you navigate this asset class by signing up for our comprehensive real estate investing guide.

*By submitting your email you consent to us keeping you informed about updates to our website and about other products and services that we think might interest you. You can unsubscribe at any time. Please read our Privacy Statement and Terms & Conditions.

Pros Cons

• More living space square footage.
• Better use of space.
• No need to add on to the house -- can just build in the existing structure. Potential rental income.
• Often has its own outdoor entry/exit in addition to the door to the main house.

• Can be pricier than expected.
• Should be done legally, which can involve some hassle -- if DIY unpermitted, can create issues later.
• Will not necessarily add value to the home, and may decrease it if done unpermitted.
• Garage parking is eliminated -- will need to use the driveway or other areas.
• One-room conversions require occupants to use other areas of the house for bathing, toilet, food, and laundry.
Pros Cons

• Comparable cost to renting a room in a house.
• Can offer more privacy (private entrance) than renting a room.
• Some garage apartments are full ADUs with bathroom and kitchenette.
• Landlords live on property for easy access when something's broken.

• Landlords live on property and are privy to all your movements.
• Some garage apartments forever retain their previous characteristics; e.g., smell, sloping floor.
• Simple one-bedroom conversions require renters to enter the main house often.
• As a popular DIY project, many garage apartments are unpermitted and therefore not up to code with electric, HVAC, insulation, etc.