You can save a lot of money if you do a garage conversion on your own, and you can get it done on your own time. But you do need to realize the amount of work involved and temper your expectations.
Start with Plans
You don’t just want to dive right into tearing out things and putting in new things on your garage. Otherwise you are going to end up with a Frankenstein’s monster of a living space that you likely won’t be happy with. Instead, start at the beginning and lay out some plans. Draw up plans for how your current garage looks and make modifications on those to show what you plan to do with it.
Only start once you have a clear vision of what your new garage should look like and you have listed in detail everything that you plan to do with your garage.
Work within Your Limits
If you are going to do everything yourself, then you need to keep your plans in the realm of possibility. Know what you are capable of and try to limit yourself to your personal experience. What this means is that if you don’t have much expertise in electrical work, wiring, heating and insulation, then you may not want to attempt these kinds of modifications on your garage.
Instead, go with makeshift fixes that can provide similar results. Instead of rewiring the garage into a living space, just hang up lanterns. And instead of installing internal heating and cooling, just set up a space heater or a fan. You could even opt for portable heating and cooling units.
If you do attempt to do things that are beyond your abilities, you could end up seriously harming yourself or the area in which you are working. Instead, make due with substitutes until you can afford a professional to come in and install lights, wiring and heating for you.
Get Your Permits and Building Plans
You may be required to have building permits and professional plans drawn up before you can begin converting your garage. The fewer modifications you are making the lower the chance there will be that you have to meet these requirements. But you should always check with your local council to see what kind of modifications to your home would require that you have plans drawn up and submit requests for permits. You may even need to hire an engineer or architect to either draw up or approve the plans for your conversion.
Starting the Work
Once you have decided that you are ready to start the work and have gotten all the prerequisites out of the way, you should make sure that you have enough time off to finish your project. If you are doing this kind of work for the first time, then give yourself some extra time. You may end up needing it if you make a big mistake and have to redo some of your work.
And the work you do will vary depending on what you are trying to convert your garage into. A bedroom is going to take different materials and different types of changes to make it work than a dining area will. Don’t feel like you cannot use anyone to help either. If you have friends or family members with some construction experience, you should try to make use of them when possible to hurry along the conversion and ensure that you are doing it properly.