In your searching for garage plans, have you ever considered building a combination of garage with dwelling space beside or above the garage? There are a lot of such plans on the internet market today – all shapes, all sizes. Before you actually purchase your plans these considerations may be helpful:

1. Do you have enough area on your property to build and accessory structure?

The Planning or Zoning Department for your location is at either city or county level government. Their records have all specific information regarding your property. If you know your property tax identification number you can contact the office to get your plot diagram and legal description as well as any additional information associated with that property. You can look up which zoning category your property is in with your address. The zoning categories define allowable land use, such as residential-single family, multi-family or one of many others. Each category has limits of lot size, allowable density (allowed residential units per acre of land), dimension limitations and controlling measures like building setback from easements, property lines and other features. In addition structure types and purposes allowed are defined. Building habitable space in an accessory building or even adding a distinct unit to an existing building is more often disallowed than allowed and often requires a special use permit. In some communities, accessory dwellings are encouraged to better use existing infrastructure with minimal-impact density increase.

If you can create a garage plan view diagram of your property and surrounding features like roads, existing buildings, etc. On a scale of some type you can plan your garage building project. The technician in the office can apprise you of all limitations and controlling factors that will affect your project planning. If this is too complex to do by yourself professional planners are available and they are experts in this sort of planning. In this preliminary planning it can become clear what the possibilities are for development or if not even possible.

2. Would your new apartment be used for expanded living area or as a rental unit?

This should be researched as early in the process as possible. Expansion of living area for an existing home is very common. If as a separate structure, there may be restrictions such as no kitchen sink or no bathroom facilities. This will depend on how the code is written. If it looks feasible, then the next step is analysis of financial burden and if the investment is worth the resulting property value. If you are building a rentable living unit, then you can find out rather quickly if it is even possible or feasible for your location in terms of zoning code. And, if that all works out; you can compare all costs and debt service to expected cash flow. Furthermore, the addition of new structure to your existing property will add more tax liability based on value and/or size.

3. How important is context and design compatibility?

Apartment garage plans are often designed with no regard for its aesthetic impact on property. There are so many designs available these days that, if you prefer to build an appealing, compatible building, it is fairly easy. But, in more cases than not, there are no controls on how attractive it should be in its design. How great it looks is subjective anyway, so it’s usually your call. However, there are many residential planned communities with architectural and development which need to be met in your new garage design. These are called covenants and restrictions that come with property ownership and can control size, building shape and style, roof lines, materials, garage door and driveway locations. These rules are usually spelled out clearly so you can easily shop the many garage designs presented on the internet or in catalogs. Many of these planned communities do not allow accessory dwellings, and in that circumstance, it’s best to start inquiring at your neighborhood organization for their published requirements – at least, before buying garage plans