ADU Knowledge
June 8, 2024

6 important steps before you get your Garage ADU Plans

Argi Avetisyan
Argi Avetisyan
Gather ADU expert
6 important steps before you get your Garage ADU Plans
Not sure where to start with your ADU project?

Schedule a free appointment with one of our ADU experts.

Book a call

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are becoming increasingly popular among homeowners, offering a versatile solution to a variety of housing needs. Among the different types of ADUs, garage conversions stand out for their practicality and potential benefits. Whether you're looking to add living space, generate rental income, or increase your property value, a garage ADU can be a smart investment. But before you dive into the planning phase, it's crucial to understand the essential steps to ensure a successful project.

The Benefits of Adding a Garage ADU

Adding a garage ADU to your property comes with several advantages:

  1. Increased Living Space: Transform your garage into a functional living area, perfect for accommodating guests, family members, or even creating a home office.
  2. Rental Income: By renting out your ADU, you can generate a steady stream of passive income, making your property work for you.
  3. Property Value: An ADU can significantly boost your property's value, making it more attractive to potential buyers should you decide to sell in the future.

6 Important Steps to Consider Before Getting Your Garage ADU Plans

Garage Conversion

Step 1: Talk to an ADU Designer

The first step in your ADU journey is to consult with an experienced ADU designer. A professional can help you understand the potential of your garage space and guide you through the initial planning stages. They can also provide insights into zoning laws, design restrictions, and other regulations specific to your area. Schedule a consultation

Step 2: Come Up with a Layout

Once you've discussed your ideas with a designer, the next step is to create a layout. Consider how you want to utilize the space; whether it's for personal use, as a rental unit, or for another purpose. A well-thought-out layout will ensure that your ADU is both functional and appealing.

Step 3: Consider Construction Costs

Understanding the financial aspect of your project is crucial. Construction costs can vary widely depending on the complexity of your design, materials used, and labor fees. It's essential to have a clear budget and explore various financing options if necessary.

Step 4: Get Structural Engineering/Calculations Done

Before any construction begins, you'll need to have structural engineering and calculations completed. This step ensures that your garage can support the modifications you're planning, and that it meets all safety standards and building codes.

Step 5: Get Your Title 24 Report

In California, a Title 24 report is mandatory for any construction project. This report assesses the building's energy efficiency and ensures compliance with state regulations. An energy consultant can help you obtain this report and make any necessary adjustments to your plans.

Step 6: Finalize Permit Application

The final step before breaking ground is to submit your permit application. Ensure that all your plans, calculations, and reports are in order, and be prepared for possible revisions based on feedback from your local permitting office.

Schedule a consultation

Real-Life Examples and Case Studies

The Creative Studio
The Creative Studio

Let's look at some real-life examples of successful garage ADU projects to understand the process and potential challenges:

Example 1: The Gym Transformation

A homeowner wanted a dedicated space for her workouts without cluttering her home. She converted her garage into a fully-equipped gym, complete with an elliptical, treadmill, and free weights. Now, she enjoys distraction-free workouts and has regained her living room space.

Example 2: The Home Office

A remote worker, struggled with distractions at home. He transformed his garage into a home office, providing a quiet and dedicated workspace. This change boosted his productivity and work-life balance.

Example 3: The Creative Studio

An artist, needed a space to unleash her creativity without disturbing her family. She converted her garage into a creative studio, allowing her to paint and create in peace. The separate space also helped her maintain a better work-life balance.

Example 4: The Family Member’s Home

A homeowner's brother-in-law needed a place to stay while finishing college. She converted her garage into a small apartment, giving him a comfortable and independent living space. This arrangement has been beneficial for both Karen's family and her brother-in-law.

Example 5: The Renting Space

Another couple wanted to generate passive income. They converted their garage into a rental unit and have since been renting it out to tenants. This additional income stream has been a financial boon, and they manage the property themselves since it's so close by.

Schedule a consultation

The Main Purpose of Your ADU

Before you start your garage ADU project, it's essential to have a clear purpose in mind. Here are some potential uses for your ADU:

  • A Gym: Create a dedicated workout space with all the equipment you need.
  • A Home Office: Establish a quiet and productive environment for remote work.
  • A Creative Studio: Design a space where you can pursue your artistic passions.
  • A Guest Room: Provide a comfortable and private area for visiting guests.
  • A Family Member’s Home: Offer a temporary living space for family members in need.
  • A Renting Space: Generate passive income by renting out your ADU to tenants.


Undertaking a garage ADU project is an exciting venture that can bring numerous benefits to your property. However, thorough planning and understanding the necessary steps are crucial for a successful outcome. By talking to an ADU designer, coming up with a layout, considering construction costs, getting structural engineering done, obtaining your Title 24 report, and finalizing your permit application, you'll be well on your way to transforming your garage into a valuable asset.

With careful planning and execution, your garage ADU can become a versatile and profitable addition to your home. Ready to get started? Schedule a consultation and begin your journey today and unlock the potential of your property with well-thought-out garage ADU plans.

gather adu team

Not sure where to start with your ADU project?


Not sure where to start with your ADU project?

Book a free call