Converting your garage or lovely screened-in porch into a dumpy looking family room is generally a bad idea. The only way I would approve it is if you are building a big detached garage and really take the time, money and energy and make the conversion a really good one that fits into the style of your house seamlessly. Also, if you decide to convert your garage into more living space and build a garage in your yard – don’t go to all the trouble unless you build at least a 2-car garage. It’s what everybody wants and you are going to be spending lots of money anyway.
To be fair, I have seen a few nice conversions, but the vast majority of them aren’t so great. I know I sound bossy, but I see so many older homes with strange, uncomfortable rooms that stick out from the rest of the house and no garage and they are very hard for sellers to sell. I’m just looking out for you! You won’t get as much money out of your house, and it might take longer to sell. Same goes for screened in porches that have been finished off. Why do this? Generally you aren’t gaining much by doing this – the room will generally remain cold in the winter and hot in the summer because of insulation and because they are usually built on a separate slab foundation. Each time I view a house with one of these situations, the buyers always say – “why would they do this” or “gosh, I sure wish they wouldn’t have done this” or “we really wanted a porch” or “we need a garage”. If you really need the extra space, then move to a different house; don’t turn your house into something it is not – you aren’t fooling the buyers out there.