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Garage conversion to room

Discussion in 'General Property Chat' started by IIIusion, 27th Jul, 2016.

  1. IIIusion

    IIIusion Member

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    Hi All, I used to have extremely helpful and friendly answers on this forum. Therefore I will annoy you with one more question which I am desperately trying to resolve.

    Short story: My younger brother died oversees :-( and I am the only descendant. So I've brought my parents to Australia (legally of course, paid 110.000$) and now I need to provide some accommodation for them. We need one bedroom and one bathroom for them even in our own house.
    3 options are available:
    1. Granny flat approximately for 100k
    2. House extension approximately for 100k
    3. Garage conversion - price ?
    Unfortunately after 110k rip-off I don't have any serious money and after careful consideration we decided to investigate 3rd option.
    I am completely new to that business and I've opened few web-sites and found some rough cost estimates for example: Approval Pricing & Process Sydney NSW | Garage Conversion | Garage Conversion - 8380$
    This looks to me as extremely expensive fee just for approval. Am I right? Or this is common price and I should suck it?
    Can someone recommend me any proper way to approach this problem or recommend proper builder to deal with in Western Sydney? I am really scared by all this stories about dodgy builders.
    I would really appreciate any help and any way to reduce the total amount. Thank you very much in advance.
     
  2. dabbler

    dabbler Well-Known Member

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    To use a garage as a room should not be too hard, it is when you start doing plumbing and bathroom work that your going to need the council approvals etc.

    Can they use the bathroom in the house ?

    That company only shows images of a garage converted to a games room, no showers, toilet, kitchen etc, if you pay them money that is not actually building anything.

    Ask the council in your area what would be required to convert garage to living space.

    If it is long term, you can probably only upgrade your house, or do a proper granny flat, doing a conversion on garage may actually lower the home value if not able to easily be made a garage again.
     
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  3. Joynz

    Joynz Well-Known Member

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    You have to be careful with these sorts of conversions as the slab may not include the normal moisture barriers, not being a habitable room.
     
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  4. bob shovel

    bob shovel Well-Known Member

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    Talk to council first and see what they have to say. Take in any plans or info you have or order them from council. Plus go to the dial before you dig website to get the sewer plans.

    Is it a stand alone garage?

    That figure seems ok or a touch high but they probably want to get you in for the building work too

    Pick a few builders out and get them around for advice and rough costs
     
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  5. Inov8ive

    Inov8ive Well-Known Member

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    If it were me:
    Firstly I wouldn't engage council at all, you are not renting it to the public so they really don't need to know. That's just me though.
    I would start with a plumber. I don't know if your house is on a slab or a raised timber floor but if on a slab, then your biggest expense is going to be getting the waste pipes to the garage for shower, toilet and sink. The water feed will be minor. This is the first and biggest issue.
    Next get a carpenter in. You will need natural light and ventilation and a carpenter will be able to advise on this. What I have seen done commonly is to remove garage roller door and insert sliding door with windows either side into space to provide entry point, security and good natural light and ventilation. Carpenters will also be able to put down a floating floor, frame up a bathroom and add a wardrobe and kitchenette.
    Get an electrician at some stage also to add power and lighting as needed, maybe an AC and then give it a lick of paint.
     
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  6. Tonibell

    Tonibell Well-Known Member

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    Agree with @Inov8ive - best to see if you can just do it.

    We have just converted our garage into a separate bedroom with a kitchenette.
    Also converted the back window to a door and put a shower and toilet in the laundry.
    It probably cost around $30K but has made a big difference to the living area for the teenagers.

    We mainly just had carpenters do it.
     
  7. alexm

    alexm Well-Known Member

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    Think a bit beyond the immediate needs. Will you increase/decrease the value of your house by removing the garage?

    My guess is that you'd reduce the value of your property as any potential buyer will generally view the loss of a garage as a negative. You may not live in the house forever so your decisions now will affect its future value.
     
  8. dabbler

    dabbler Well-Known Member

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    In many areas if there is no garage it would decrease. If you can put other such as carport that may work.

    I also disagree about the council and approvals part, any such changes could be ordered to be removed, which may not be likely, but if I was buying, I would be checking if changes were council approved (viola, council now knows), also a neighbor could inform the council even if not selling, if you have spent a lot of money this would be no fun having to remove.

    I know people who were stuck after trying to sell places with un approved changes. So say in this case if no garage dropped the place by 20k, unapproved works may drop another 20, maybe you already spent 20k to do the work, so now your out 60k, but if you spent 60k on an approved flat, you may have improved the property price by at least that much (this is just an example).

    So yeah, it requires a lot of thought.
     
  9. big max

    big max Well-Known Member

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    Curious what was the payment of the 110k for exactly?
     
  10. Special order

    Special order Well-Known Member

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    Cost of Bringing the family over
     
  11. Joynz

    Joynz Well-Known Member

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    I also thought there had to be some family sponsorship arrangement for medical costs etc?

    Looking into it, there is a visa cost of approximately $50,000 for each parent through the faster contributory parent visa. It looks like there are cheaper options but they take a lot longer. I imagine some of the costs go towards future welfare payments and Medicare.

    Coalition's new visa laws make family reunion a preserve of the rich
     
    Last edited: 30th Jul, 2016
  12. Inov8ive

    Inov8ive Well-Known Member

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    What would they ask you to remove? Essentially you are not extending anything or adding anything to the building. No council is going to tell you to remove a bathroom you have added inside the walls of your own house. People turn their garages into utility rooms or 'teenagers retreats' or 'sleep outs' all the time without council approval all the time. This is very common and seeking council approval to turn this into a granny flat would incur a whole heap of unnecessary costs.
    There is a good point you raise though about devaluation, which is why any changes should consider making it very easy to swap back to a garage for potential buyers in the future. A further reason not to seek council approval other wise a future buyer would need to seek approval to convert back to a garage.
     
  13. bob shovel

    bob shovel Well-Known Member

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    It would be unlikely council would make you remove it but they will make you go through all the da application and process plus fees (important part)! If it doesn't comply or possibly if the original garage isn't approved or to spec there could be a lot of headaches
    You will also need to show council the materials used and may be required to pull off sheets of gyprock or other requests to prove what's there and that it meets spec.

    I'm all for bypassing council but really depends on the circumstances which haven't really been made clear yet.
     
  14. Inov8ive

    Inov8ive Well-Known Member

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    Council can't make you go through a DA process, especially when there is nothing for them to approve. And make you remove gyprock from the walls? They can't do that- why on earth would they do that? They would only ever do something like that if you were building something structural where the framework needed approval. You can add a non structural partition wall in the walls of your own house without anyone's approval.
     
  15. dabbler

    dabbler Well-Known Member

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    Whether you are renting it or not, you make changes to the sewer system and lines etc and create habitable space, they need to know, nothing to do with rent & if there is a fire, you better hope it is only your family that is effected if you have done the dodgy. Also no one is hurt during the building, unlikely maybe, but.....

    There is a difference between making a rumpus room etc, and making a permanently habitable space.

    People can do as they like until they have a problem I guess, in some places the council will inspect, I mean, if I was buying and the sewer was different to what the council shows, well someone is going to have to answer, the council will become aware, they will check on this sort of thing, you have developed without a DA and disregarded all regs, if you can make good, then maybe all ok, if you can't, they can force you to do a number of things. They can also say it is not at all suitable as habitable space.

    I think it is poor advice after he said short on funds & not wanting dodgy builders, only a dodgy builder would engage in such a conversion ignoring council and following regs.
     
  16. Inov8ive

    Inov8ive Well-Known Member

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    First off, I said that this is what I would do- not advising him on what he should do. There are far more unapproved conversions than approved of this type. He is not wanting to spend 100k on a fully approved granny flat as it is just for his parents. He doesn't have the money- should his parents live on the street because of council approvals? You can jump on your ethical high horse all you want but the average punter is gonna spend a quick 20k and set the garage up. Happens every day. I could not tell you how many properties I have looked at for sale with unapproved additions- literally hundreds. The council would never have the resource to pick at these. This goes for pergolas, sheds, decks etc. Very very common. So for you to say is poor advice, is quite frankly poor advice. A carpenter who comes and builds a wall for someone is not dodgey he is just doing his job. It's not his responsibility to recite council codes and issue DA's.
     
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  17. dabbler

    dabbler Well-Known Member

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    lol...hope I never buy anything you have touched. I am not on any ethical nothing, you can do as you like, as the OP can after mulling it all over, but your reasoning is warped & frankly, idiotic, but I agree, you won't be alone, but it surprises me you think this way if investing, people often talk of DD.

    Council can do lot's of things to property owners, technically your in breach of many mortgage docs as well if you make changes to a property without advising the lender, and they won't say.....have at it bob the builder, do as you like, basically they want to make sure the place can be sold ok. They will want things done properly.

    You seem to be ignoring many facets of making a habitable space. This is not the wild west of the USA 100 years ago, where you get to do as you like or shoot it out with those you disagree with.

    It is pretty clear, there is a right way, and a dodgy way.

    You can continue to be ignorant of all that can happen, but I would suggest it would be bad advice for this guy, but he can take away from this thread what he wishes, you are free to think what you like.

    I won't argue it out with you, nothing to be gained by it, I do not like all the regulation and red tape and costs either, but the alternative is a free for all.

    Have at it Bob !
     
  18. Inov8ive

    Inov8ive Well-Known Member

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    Very classy. Call me an idiot, call me ignorant and then say that you don't wish to get into an argument with me all for giving the guy my opinion which he asked for. We are not talking about building that Taj Mahal here- we are talking about putting a toilet in a garage. I mean get a grip with reality champ.
    I had some drainage problems at an IP of mine the other day. Got a plumber in to dig out a trench and run some pipe into the sewer to create another drain and fix the problem. Guess what? I didn't tell the council. And the world didn't stop spinning. And I can give you the plumbers name as well cause I know you would never use such a dodgey tradesman.....
     
  19. dabbler

    dabbler Well-Known Member

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    I do not make the rules, your reasoning is not improving, I do not think I can help to correct that, and so I see no point in discussing it with you further :)

    As I said, have at it ! Do as you like :p
     
  20. big max

    big max Well-Known Member

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    Oh I see. Well I guess it's fair enough to charge older immigrants if they are also to be getting benefits like healthcare etc. I brought mine over - was just the cost of the flight. But if this guy can barely afford the cost of a small renno makes me wonder how wel positioned he is to actually look after his parents. I'd be inclined to set the parent immigrant visa cost a little higher personally.