Converting Garage into ADU

Converting Garage into ADU

With over 25 years of experience, we are the 1 Smart Converting Garage into ADU Services. Our fully customized designs, outstanding customer service, inspirational showroom, and incredible craftsmanship make us the top choice for all your Converting Garage Conversion Services needs.

We are fully licensed and insured and all work is guaranteed and comes with a warranty.

We’ll Turn Your Ideas into a Reality

You start and end each day in your Converting Garage into ADU. It’s more than just a place to get ready; it should be where you allow yourself to refresh and relax.

Our team of professional designers and craftsmen is ready to turn your ideas into a reality. From small adjustments to a major Converting Garage into ADU overhaul, from transitional to contemporary designs, we’ll transform your current Converting Garage into ADU into a space that meets your vision and your needs.

Converting Garage into ADU

Is it legal to convert my garage into ADU?

If you own a single-family home anywhere in California with residential zoning, then yes, you can build a Garage Conversion ADU. Each city and county have slightly different requirements for converting your garage into a rental. Still, thanks to laws passed by the State of California, as of January 2017, every California homeowner can convert their attached or detached garage into a livable, rentable dwelling unit.

What is a Garage Conversion ADU?

Los Angeles City Ordinance No. 186481 dictates what an ADU is and where you can build one. The definition of an ADU as described by the City of LA states,

Los Angeles City Ordinance No. 186481

An attached or detached residential dwelling unit provides complete independent living facilities for one or more persons and is located on a lot with a proposed or existing primary residence. It shall include permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking, and sanitation on the same lot as the single-family or multifamily dwelling is or will be situated.

ADUs include efficiency units as defined in Section 17958.1 of the Health and Safety Code, manufactured homes as defined in Section 18007 of the Health and Safety Code, and Movable Tiny Houses.

converting garage to adu california

Accessory Dwelling Unit (A.D.U)

An ADU is an attached or detached residential dwelling unit that provides complete independent living facilities for one or more persons and is located on a lot with a proposed or existing primary residence. It shall include permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking, and sanitation on the same lot as the single-family or multifamily dwelling is or will be situated.

Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit (JADU)

A Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit is a unit that is no more than 500 square feet in size and contained entirely within a single-family residence. A JADU may include separate sanitation facilities or may share sanitation facilities with the existing structure. The JADU or single-family residence shall be owner-occupied.
A JADU uses existing home infrastructure systems like HVAC, electricity, and plumbing. It may contain a basic kitchen and share a bathroom with the main home, all to reduce the build costs.

Converting Garage into ADU

Development Standards and Requirements

2 car garage adu conversion

ADUs, JADUs, and MTHs are allowed in any zone that allows for residential use by right. Parking for a newly constructed ADU is not required when it is located within one-half mile walking distance of public transit. Replacement parking is not required when covered parking is removed in conjunction with the construction of the ADU.

ADUs are required to comply with all applicable Zoning, Building, and Residential Codes. Fire sprinklers are not required if they are not required for the primary residence. Solar panels will be required for newly constructed, detached ADUs.

Should I convert my garage?

Whether or not you should convert your garage into ADU depends on many factors, and all homeowners will have their unique motivations for considering a garage conversion. When building a rental unit, guest home, or home office, you must thoughtfully weigh the pros and cons to decide if a garage conversion project is right for you.

Conversion Garage vs. Detached/Attached ADU

Many homeowners consider the advantages and disadvantages of converting their garage vs. building a new ADU somewhere else on their property. There are two main advantages to converting a garage vs. building a new stand-alone ADU.

  • Advantage #1 – Cost

    The price for a garage conversion ADU is substantially less expensive than a new detached or attached ADU. Since the garage already exists, a conversion saves money on the foundation, framing, and roofing portions of the construction project.

  • Advantage #2 – Time Savings

    A garage conversion is typically quicker to permit, and the construction timeline is much faster than building a new unit from scratch.

    Many garage conversion ADUs can be designed, permitted, and built within 6 months. That is a really quick way to add liveable space to your property.

But there are also disadvantages you must consider. The two main disadvantages are…

  • Disadvantage #1 – Loss of Covered Parking

    You are not required to replace the parking you lose when you convert your garage. But, when the garage conversion is complete, you will have less covered parking on your property or less storage if you do not park cars in your garage. This lack of parking and storage could be a turn-off for potential buyers.

  • Disadvantage #2 – Lower Return on Investment (ROI)

    When you convert your garage to an ADU, you increase the property value in most instances because you add habitable square footage to the overall property. And since single-family homes are appraised based on the home’s characteristics and the useable square footage, the ADU will increase the property’s value.

    But the other side of the coin is that you are converting your garage, which is a valuable amenity in California. A loss of a standard two-car garage will most likely decrease your home’s value, offsetting some of the property value increase you gain with the new ADU’s addition.

You will need to evaluate whether your garage’s loss is a big deal and how it might affect your property’s desirability for a future owner.

Converting Garage into ADU

1 Smart Build specializes in ADU solutions.

Building ADU is a great way to increase your home value!

We manage the project from start to finish, handle city permitting, draw building plans, clear environmental regulations, handle city inspections, and procure appliances, fixtures, and finishes. Our job is to make this as easy as possible for you.

building a new room from the ground up is an expensive and complex project.
The easier and more affordable alternative is to convert your garage into a great living space. After all, your garage already consists of a foundation, four exterior walls, and a roof.

Just Sit back and in just a few months, we’ll hand you the keys.

There are a few types of ADU car garage to adu

Converting Garage into ADU

1 Smart Build offers a one-stop shopping experience to help our customers stay on track and on a budget and Converting Garage into ADU!

A Converting Garage to ADU can make a huge impact on a home’s comfort level, not to mention its resale value. Converting Garage to ADU ideas and features that could work for your space also must fit within your budget and offer functionality as well as style.

We offer solutions for space limitations, and desired materials and explain pricing options and costs associated with a successful Converting Garage into ADU project.

Our team at 1 Smart Build of Converting Garage to ADU project managers, designers, Cabinet makers, Countertop installers, plumbers, electricians, and installers allows us to transform your outdated, tired Garage into a beautiful and well-thought-out space.

Trust our team of experts to take your bathroom from an outdated space to a functional showpiece within your home!

When hiring 1 Smart Build you can have peace of mind that all Converting Garage into ADU is performed to exceed your expectations!

ADU Garage Conversion Plans

Converting Garage into ADU

How much does it cost to convert my garage into an ADU?

converting garage to adu cost

Most garage conversions cost between $120,000 and $275,000+. The size of the new ADU and the quality of the finish materials will influence the final price.

As examples, we can look at three different garage conversion projects and the approximate cost of each.

  • Garage Conversion #1 – Modest and Simple
    Estimated budget $120,000+

    The fastest and least expensive garage conversion type is to leave the existing garage structure 100% intact. This means no additional square footage added and no changes to the overall structure of the garage.

    In this scenario, you would add an efficient kitchen, a small ¾ bathroom, a mini-split HVAC system for heating and cooling, and bring the electrical up to code for a living unit. Additionally, building finish materials would be modest and simple (i.e., No designer plumbing fixtures or fancy kitchen cabinets and countertops).

    A project like this will end with a nice, clean ADU that will be safe and livable but without any bells and whistles.

  • Garage Conversion Example #2 – Big Structural Upgrades
    Estimated budget $160,000+

    You may find that a straight garage conversion is not exactly what you need. Maybe your garage is old and needs structural upgrades. Or perhaps you want to create vaulted/lofted ceilings or small addition to make the ADU feel larger.

    In this scenario, the ADU would have a larger kitchen and a full bathroom. The electrical and gas services will be individually metered so that the ADU will be billed separately for utilities. And your contractor will alter the roof structure to create a lofted/vaulted ceiling.

    A project with this budget will feel like a small custom home, and the interiors will feel larger and more luxurious. A separate bedroom area adds privacy to the conversion.

  • Garage Conversion Example #3 – Full Custom Rebuild
    Estimated budget $250,000+

    The next and final level of ADU garage conversion is the fully custom rebuild. The rebuild will include the demolition of the existing garage, and the rebuild will consist of a much larger floorplan or a 2nd story addition.

    In this scenario, the owner can choose a genuinely custom floorplan to match their lifestyle. The new ADU will retain no evidence that it was ever built initially as a garage. The ADU will feature luxury finishes to match any taste and can include multiple living and sleeping areas.

    An ADU project like this will add substantially more value to the property than it will cost to build and is a perfect option for homeowners wanting to create a beautiful home office or guest suite on their property.


If your in-laws are moving in or you have a teenager outgrowing their bedroom, an ADU is a great way to accommodate them without sacrificing your own space.


Building an ADU on your property is one of the best investments you can make to increase its value and make it more attractive to future buyers.


One of the fastest growing trends among homeowners is building an ADU to rent it out and make extra income from their property.


With more of us working from home than ever before, an ADU offers a private sanctuary where you can focus without leaving your property.

Family & Guests Visiting

You will have privacy while they stay with a comfortable bed to sleep on, as well as their own space if desired for some alone time during their visit.