Meet the Resale Value-Boosting Feature Known as a “FROG”

published Sep 3, 2023
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A Bonus Room Addition Above a Garage
Credit: KAD Photo/Shutterstock

Despite the many twists and turns that have befallen the world in these past few years, the 2020s are proving to be an era of control and customization. Perhaps the major unprecedented events lurking around every corner have left people searching for major unprecedented avenues of comfort. And so people customize their storage, they hack one-of-a-kind furniture, and they buy weird things. It’s about cultivating homes that work specifically for you.

That cultivation doesn’t begin and end with decor — it expands to the layout of your home. In the past, “flex” space didn’t matter to homeowners as much as it does today. Now, a bonus room can serve countless purposes. Spare bedrooms become dressing rooms, and nooks become home offices or homework zones. At times, making room to expand a living space can be challenging. For those with the benefit of a garage space, one doesn’t have to look far for the place to start: “FROG” spaces.

Credit: Solomon Kraner/Shutterstock

What Is a “FROG”?

FROG stands for “Finished Room Over Garage” and it’s exactly what you’d expect. Whether a garage is attached or detached, adding a formal bonus space above it can serve many purposes. According to Chicago-based Realtor Amy Wu, one crucial benefit is a boost in resale value. 

“If the garage is attached to the property and there is a FROG that is connected with the house and up to code (such as having the appropriate ceiling height, a heating source, etc.), it would be included in the above-grade square footage and add value,” Wu says. 

And that value can add up quickly, depending on the size of the garage. The average two-car garage is around 400 square feet or more, Wu reasons, so that’d add at least 400 square feet of living space.

How Does a “FROG” Boost Resale Value?

Once additional space becomes available, the use cases for FROGs manifest instantaneously. Obviously, home offices continue to be hot-ticket items, and depending on a neighborhood’s particular zoning, FROGs boast potential for rental accessory dwelling units, or ADUs

“One of the ways to have an ADU is to build a coach house over a detached garage,” Wu says. “In a large city like Chicago and with housing costs on the rise, ADUs diversify housing stock by creating opportunities for homeowners that need extra income or creating more living space for multigenerational families.”

Aside from rental income sources, FROGs can serve as guest rooms for visitors, mother-in-law apartments, or homes-away-from-home for adults who move back in with their parents

Here’s What to Consider Before Getting a “FROG”

Before placing an order for insulation and plywood, there are key factors to consider. FROG construction must adhere to zoning restrictions — especially with regard to their height and intended use. For some, HOA compliance also limits the size, design, or rental opportunities. 

Builders should be mindful of the particular household’s use of the garage as well. Do people access the garage frequently? If so, noisy garage door mechanisms might disturb home office workers or visiting relatives. Also, is the region’s temperature particularly stifling or frigid? Heating and/or cooling is paramount to comfort no matter the FROG’s intended use. Once you zero in on the details, the fun (and trials and expense, of course) of building begins. But thankfully, the extra space for whatever you have planned will come with a solid resale value increase.