Skip to content

If You Can’t Pay the Mortgage, Live in Your Awesome Garage


Here’s a novel idea. If you’re having trouble paying the mortgage, and you can’t get any assistance from your lender/servicer, you don’t need to give up your home.

You just can’t live in the main house anymore. That’s what one guy did out in Palmdale, California, although he wasn’t actually struggling to pay his bills.

He simply felt he had too much home and didn’t want to be wasteful.

Chris Aune was looking for a smaller home for himself and his dogs, but found that most properties in the Antelope Valley were larger, single-family tract homes, something he wanted nothing to do with.

So he opted for an older 1,400-square-foot home in a more central location. But even then, he thought it was too large for his purposes.

Rent Out the “Front House”

Because he didn’t need all that space, and partially for financial reasons, Aune decided to rent out the “front house,” aka his entire home less the garage.

And thanks to recent zoning law changes, he was able to fully convert his spacious garage into a comfortable living space that was up to code, referred to as an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU).

He pointed out that he didn’t need a “home for his car” because there was driveway parking and the neighborhood was safe.

Aune spent about $30,000 converting his two-car garage into a 575-square-foot living space with all the essentials, including a bathroom, complete with toilet and shower, a washer/dryer, sitting room, bedroom, and a full kitchen.

We’re talking full-size stainless steel appliances, giant stove, microwave, nice big kitchen sink, and plenty of storage.

He’s even got a small walk-in closet and a doggie door that gives his dogs access to the backyard, which he still appears to have access to himself.

Meanwhile, he’s renting out the main house for $1,200 a month. His monthly mortgage payment is only about $800, so he’s cash flowing and living in the home he loves.

Paying Off the Mortgage in Five Years

Aune expects to pay off his mortgage in as little as five years, which will provide him with financial independence while not sacrificing anything (in his eyes).

Funnily enough, one of the dogs still prefers the main house and keeps trying to go back. So I guess it’s not for everyone, but it is an option now for those struggling to keep up with mortgage payments.

Or simply for those who want to live with less, pay off their mortgage faster, or keep more cash on hand for other expenses/investments.

And best of all, you get to keep your house and you can always move back into it and rent out the refurbished garage. You’ll just need to make sure everything is up to code.

You can see his place is this video. It’s pretty swanky.

In related news, a new survey from the MacArthur Foundation revealed that more than half of all U.S. adults (52%) had to make at least one sacrifice in order to pay their rent or mortgage over the past three years.

So we’re clearly buying more home can we can afford, which kind of explains the trend toward smaller living spaces. There’s also a growing trend to ditch the suburbs for urban city centers, which is exactly what Aune did.

At the end of the day, you don’t want to be stuck in a giant, obsolete home in a sprawling suburb that no one wants to live in anymore.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *