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Ever since starting this blog, I’ve received some really interesting questions from crazy stories of roommates to whacky ideas on converting some obscure place in their house to make some extra cash.

In this weeks post, I have a question from a reader who’s thinking about converting his garage space to living space so that he can rent out the two rooms in his bedroom.

Hey Mike.

Just bought my first home. 2 bed 1 bath. I’m renting out one room to a college friend ($550/mo)and I’m getting ready to renovate my garage into a living space (plumbing, electrical, insulation, new floor)

My mortgage is below my means. I pay 1288 (including taxes and
mortgage insurance) I’m not sure if I should move into the garage myself or rent the garage out and stay in my second room.

I’m looking to maximize my profit.


First off, I want to say good work taking the initiative to rent out one of your rooms! The personal financial gain earned will be huge as long as you set a goal and use the extra money towards that goal rather than squandering it to increase your lifestyle.

Assuming your current roommate doesn’t have an issue with another roommate moving in after converting the garage space, I’m all in favor of your idea.

Your current mortgage is $1,288 and you’re earning $550, which is a little less than half of your mortgage, collecting another $550 would cover a substantial part of your mortgage. That to me would be a huge motivation to convert the garage to living space.

Here are some thoughts to having three bedrooms and 1 bathroom. Depending your schedule and your roommate schedule, you could experience some bottlenecks when it comes time to use the bathroom. You might want to consider putting in a half bath if it is possible anywhere. This will be helpful if you have one roommate that takes especially long to get ready and help increase the house value.

My abode consists of 3 bedrooms and 1.5 bath. With three people, I don’t often have any bottlenecks because we each have different schedules that don’t overlap – I’m usually out the door before any of my roommates are even awake. So there’s plenty of hot water to go around.


With the assumption the garage converted to a bedroom there’s going to be some minor inconveniences such as being removed from the rest of the house. I anticipate the garage space being slightly less desirable to live in than one of the original bedrooms of the house. The question that arises is: will you live in the convert space or rent it out?

When I moved into the basement after I renovated it, I decided to live in it and rent out the master bedroom because I figured I could get more money from the master bedroom since it is a real a bedroom. The basement room has a make shift divider, making it less private, add the fact that the washer and dryer resides in the basement, it makes it less than ideal if a roommate wants total privacy. I took the basement room to live with the aforementioned inconveniences in exchange for earning more money from renting out the two legitimate rooms.

Going back to your situation, you could rent out the converted garage space for $500 and one of the original bedrooms of the house for $550. This scenario has you earning $1050($550+500) assuming you have two roommates.

Alternatively, if you live in the converted garage space and rent out the two rooms, you can theoretically get $1100($550+$550), which will earn more money at the sacrifice of living in the less desirable room of your own house. Based on my personal story, you can probably venture what I’ll suggest, but the decision is entirely up to you.

{ 1 comment }
  • jazzzj April 26, 2014, 10:55 pm

    Hi there.
    I became separated after 27 years. The mortgage went underwater like many others. Also my two kids have left to do their own things ( Tho I am paying some college loans for them). Well, I rented one room in the 3 berm house happily for a year. Then my ex lost his job and couldn’t pitch in on the mortgage at all. So now I have moved out of the master bedroom and into the smallest bedroom. I’m renting the master to a couple. They have their own BR. And the medium bdrm to a nice young Frenchman who shares his wine and cheese with me. This is all fine and brings my personal portion of the mortgage down to only 700 per mo! I’m squirreling away money for retirement.
    The quandary arises about what to do next. My mortgage is at a lovely 2% due to a modification I got when my ex moved away and the place was so underwater. Now it’s almost back to what it started at! ( this is a very desire ale area). The mortgage will jump to 4.5 or so in another 2 and a half yrs. it will become kinda expensive for me. And what will I do when I want to stop working in about 10 yrs? I also kinda want to join the peace corp juts before retirement which I have the skills to do. I THINK I WANT TO MAKE MY GARAGE INTO MY OWN TINY HOUSE. The house is in my name alone so I don’t have to sell it in a divorce. I don’t think I could afford much around here now even if I were to sell and get something smaller. So. That’s my idea. Turn my garage into a studio apt. Btw. A friend of mine is in a similar situation. She actually ready has a little free standing office / cabin. She found a friend to BUY IN to her main house as an investment rental. My friend will still have part ownership and add a tiny kitchen and bath to the detached structure.
    I think that’s brilliant and resourceful. Any thoughts on my situation? I can’t decide if I should do this or just sell it when the mortgage goes up. It’s 2100 per mo now and will go up to 2850 or so. If I rent just add a room w/ o a kitchen and bath I could just rent the garage fixed up as a bedroom and end up adding 500 per mo to the mix. It would pay itself in about the time the mortgage goes up I think. Hmmmm. I like my neighbors so much. I moved to this house because there’s a community of people next door. I share chickens with them and occasional meals or their hot tub etc. these are my peeps!


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