How to Add a Bedroom for House Hacking

how to add a bedroom for house hacking

House hacking is an excellent way to make your living expenses more affordable. But what if your house doesn’t have any extra rooms or units to rent?

If your house has the square footage, and you want to take your house hacking game to the next level, here’s how you can potentially add an extra bedroom to your house.

How to Add a Bedroom for House Hacking

Adding a bedroom for house hacking requires ample research into zoning and building code restrictions.

You also have to consider the options available to you from adding a new room altogether, to converting a room already present in your property.

With a little bit of creativity (and a lot of research!) you can increase your house hacking profits, or create an extra income stream to begin with, by adding a bedroom to your house.

Before You Start: Zoning and Building Code Restrictions

Before you start planning to add a bedroom for house hacking, it’s important to understand the zoning and building code restrictions that affect your property. This will save you time, money, and legal trouble.

You’ll need to make sure that your property is zoned for the additional bedroom or unit that you’re wanting to add.

You’ll also need to check your local building code restrictions to see if there are any limits on the number of bedrooms that can be added to a single-family home.

Often times, bedrooms must have a specific number of exits, a window, and closet to legally be considered bedrooms. Though every local code is different.

Keep in mind that the size and location of the new bedroom will impact the overall value of your home. If placed well, it can often increase the value of the property significantly.

Whatever the case, you should probably hire an experienced contractor rather than attempting the rehab yourself. Not only will you have local code and permit issues to navigate, you’ll want someone who has done this sort of project before to make sure it’s done correctly.

Of course, you can do it yourself, but you’ll have to be extra careful to make sure things are done both legally and well!

That said, let’s review some options available to you to add extra rooms in your home.

Dividing a Room

One of the simplest and best ways to do add an extra bedroom is by dividing an existing room.

If you’re going to chop up a room, make sure that you both sides have enough closets, windows, and doors to legally make each a bedroom.

Sixty square feet is typically the minimum.

How many windows a room needs – or whether it needs them at all – also depends on local codes in the United States. According to the International Residential Code (IRC), a bedroom must have at least one window that is at least 8% of the floor area of the room.

Windows are important for emergency egress. And they’ll also make your room more appealing to prospective renters, in any event.

The room also should be big enough and laid out in such a way to fit a bed and dresser.

But, in a best case scenario, dividing a room can be as simple as throwing up a wall. More often, you’ll have to add an additional closet and entrance while you’re at it.

Though it should be your most cost effective way to add a room for your house hack.

But what if that’s not a viable option for you? Let’s talk additions.

Building an Addition

Building an addition, or an accessory dwelling unit (ADU), means that you’ll be constructing an additional room to your existing property.

As with before, this will first require checking your zoning and building code restrictions. 

The next step is to decide where to build the addition. Adding a room or unit onto an existing structure will be less expensive than if you’re starting from scratch. But you’ll still need to factor in the cost of foundation work, framing, and exterior finishes.

Once you’ve settled on a location and budget for your project, and you or your contractor has pulled the necessary permits, it’s time to start construction. 

If you’re not experienced in home improvement projects, it’s best to hire a contractor to handle the work. This is especially true for building additions as doing so can mean significant construction work and complications.

But the addition can be a still cost effective way to add rentable space to the property and make your house hack that much better.

Just be sure the actual rental value justifies the expense of adding the room or unit, as that’s not always the case!

Converting a Garage

converting a garage

If there’s little space to spare in your house, and you’re still keen to figure out how to add a bedroom for house hacking, consider your garage!

By converting the garage into a bedroom or its own unit, you can create an affordable and convenient space for a potential tenant.

Some states are increasingly encouraging garage conversions as a way to provide more affordable housing. It’s definitely an option worth exploring for house hackers.

Before you start your conversion, however, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. You’ll need to insulate the space in order to make it comfortable year-round.
  2. Wiring and adding plumbing to the space may be complicated depending on the layout of your home.
  3. You may need to install additional windows in order to meet egress requirements.
  4. You should work on soundproofing the room so that your tenants can enjoy some peace and quiet.
  5. As always, make sure to carefully follow the local code and pull permits as necessary. A contractor can help you with this.

With a little bit of work, and the help of an experienced contractor, you can often turn your garage into a comfortable unit.

Needless to say, to say, this option does eliminate some parking for your house, so make sure you can get by without it if that’s an issue. That goes for your potential tenant’s parking needs as well!

Adding a Bedroom for House Hacking

In conclusion, adding a bedroom for house hacking is very achievable in most circumstances. It’s a great way to maximize profits from your house hacking investment.

Regardless of the approach you take to reach this end, here are a few important things to keep in mind:

  1. Always research your local building codes and zoning laws before you start any construction work.
  2. Hiring a general contractor can save you time and hassle. It’s often one of those expenses that ends up saving you money in the long run.
  3. Make sure the numbers make sense before starting the project. Not all additions will make sense financially.

Once your project is complete, you’ll have an upgraded property and an even stronger house hack.

An effective addition can turn a so-so deal into a great one.


How do I add a bedroom to my house?

Depending on the layout of your home, there are a few different options:

If you have any unused rooms or open spaces with enough areas to be converted into a bedroom, then you’re in luck! Most of your work would be ensuring adequate closet space, enough windows, and other building code requirements. If you’re converting an open space, then you’d need to have walls and a door built.

If you don’t have an extra space for converting, you’ll need to get creative and consider things like loft conversions or building an addition.

Either way, it’s best to consult with a professional before undertaking any major renovation project.

How much will it cost to add a bedroom?

This will vary depending on the extent of the work required. A simple conversion may only cost a few hundred dollars, whereas a more complex project like building an addition can easily run into the tens of thousands.

Be sure to get quotes from multiple contractors before committing to a major project.

Do I need local planning/zoning permission to add a bedroom?

This will depend on your area, so it’s best to check with your municipality before starting any work.

In some cases, you may be able to proceed without permission if the work is considered minor in nature. What’s “minor” varies from city to city.

This website, and any communication stemming from it, should not be taken as financial or legal advice for your specific situation. Consult directly with a licensed financial professional should you need investment advice and consult directly with a licensed attorney directly should you need legal advice. Assume all links are affiliate links. I am an Amazon affiliate.

Jack Duffley

Jack Duffley is a real estate investor and attorney based in Houston, TX.

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