Los Angeles has great weather, so having a garage here is not a necessity like other parts of the country, especially places that get snow. In my younger years, I grew up in Minnesota. Waking up on cold winter mornings, after scrapping the snow and ice off my car was the worst! You really appreciate having a garage then.
Los Angeles is car obsessed, so even though we don’t need garages, many people want them. Fun Fact: There are more cars in Los Angeles then people! Over 6M cars where registered with DMV in 2016 and the populations for greater Los Angeles area is 4M people. For at least one or two of my clients, the first thing they look at when buying a house is the garage.
The primary function of a garage is to store cars. By housing cars in a garage- it protects the paint from fading, and provides security from scratches, dents, and dings or theft. Getting your car off the street will save you money from parking tickets!
Since real estate has become so valuable in Los Angeles, many people are converting their garages to living spaces and parking their cars on the driveway. For $10,000 or less you can convert a garage into a 300 sqft to 400 sqft living space. I call these “stu-ages” because they are studios turned out of garages. Converting your garage is one of the most inexpensive way to add sqft to your house. If you convert your garage without permits, one piece of advice- leave the garage door on, especially if it faces an alley. That way it won’t arose undue suspicion.
Assuming you are still using your garage as a garage, it does other things too, like provide storage for tools, lawn and sport equipment, and bicycles. One way to free up more space in your main house is to move the laundry into the garage.
Garages can wear many hats- they can be an incubator space for a startup company, or a rehearsal space for a band, a workshop, or just about anything else you can think of.
From a construction standpoint, building a garage is pretty much the same as building the exterior shell of a house, except there are no finishes inside. If you are building a new garage make sure you permit it with the building department.
After the kitchen, the garage is the second room in the house with the highest fire risk. Building codes have specific provisions for fire prevention in garage construction. Most fires can be avoided by using some common sense, by storing flammable liquids, and not overloading power outlets.