Despite the name, these accommodations are versatile housing options that can be used for much more than housing relatives safely. From expanding your living space to improving the value of your property and generating passive rental income, here’s everything you need to know about granny flats.
As a Sydneysider, you know finding living space is a challenge.
Between a lack of options and rising costs of living, looking for space is a challenge for homeowners and anyone looking for a chance to spread out in a place of their own. But there is hope. One exceptional way to overcome these challenges is with the construction of a granny flat.
Not only can it give you the room to expand, but they can also provide a unique avenue for wealth creation.
But what are these real estate structures and what makes them different from other apartments or home improvement options? Let’s take a closer look at what you can expect from this popular building trend.
Put simply, it is a self-contained home built on the same property as your primary residence.
For example, you might see an accessory apartment in the backyard of a larger single-family home. But don’t confuse these with the tiny home trend. They are fully-fledged independent dwellings with all the standard amenities.
Most granny flats come between 35-60m2 in size, giving ample space for one-, two-, and even three-bedroom layouts that make shrewd use of the space given to them. They can also include a garage, patio, or deck with a number of inclusions.
Originally, these homes were developed to be able to keep family members nearby while giving them privacy and autonomy for as long as possible. The most common use case for this was aging parents, hence the name granny flat, where children could grow up with their grandparents close by.
However, the use of these separate dwelling structures has expanded in recent years as well as in popularity across Australia. More and more homeowners are adding these flats to their properties as an investment decision, not because they have family they would like to house. In fact, many are built for the specific purpose of renting out and creating a new line of income.
Curious about your own accessory apartment? Read our article:Are Granny Flats Worth It [Ultimate Pros and Cons List]
They come in all shapes and sizes (within the set guidelines) and are fabricated in any number of ways.
Typically, these smaller homes are built on site and from scratch, just as any new home build would be approached. They start with a foundation, placed on a lot that is at least 450m2 with 12m of street frontage. From there, construction follows with framing, utilities, finishes, and everything needed to make a house a home.
Some builders also provide options for prefabricated homes. These are built off site in modular pieces that are then delivered to the property and assembled in place. While these can be quicker to build, they do not allow for customization or design changes to the actual layout.
Many homeowners opt for designed options that can be customised to fit their unique needs and intent for using the space. Special accommodations can be made for residents with disabilities or accessibility requirements, for example. Others may prefer to offer additional living space at the cost of smaller bedrooms. Some may plan to use the space with dual purpose as a studio or office with space for guests as needed. All of these can be accommodated with a custom plan from a qualified granny flat builder.
Interested in the construction process? Read our article:The Process of Building a Granny Flat
Speaking of builders, this is a great place to comment on the difference between a granny flat builder and a “regular” builder.
While accessory apartments are smaller yet fully functional homes, they have a specific set of requirements, council codes, and parameters that make them unique. With that said, it’s important to choose a builder specifically dedicated to building these flats. Another builder may do a decent job, but they will be unfamiliar with many of the nuances, which can slow down the build time or lead to problems along the way.
A dedicated granny flat builder will also know all of the exact pricing and tradies needed for the unique build requirements, including right-sizing the HVAC, power load, and sound proofing.
They can add a lot of real estate value to your property, giving you flexibility in how you use the space moving forward. It is important, however, before starting out to ensure that you do not need council approvals to build one. While most councils in Australia do not require approval, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
From there, you’ll be able to reap the benefits of extra space for your and your family. Sure, you can house your relatives and give them a nearby place to live. But you can also use the space as a home office, studio, or even a rental. In fact, rentals remain one of the biggest ways these accommodations are used in Australia - and they’re a sound investment. The average price for a standard, one-bedroom floor plan sized up to 45m2 is $105,000. On average, homeowners in NSW can generate typically $300-$650 per week in rental income. You can see how quickly the flat can not only pay for itself but begin to bring in profit.
Customisation is also a major benefit when it comes to these accommodations. Unless you go with a prefabricated design, you’ll be able to tailor the layout as well as all of the finishes to your unique needs, often getting more than one use out of the flat over its lifetime.
However, it’s important to consider that these apartments are a major investment. While you can, and likely will, rather quickly make back your investment if you go the rental route, you do have to put up substantial funds up front to make it work. And of course, operationally, the flat will continue to have costs for things like upkeep and utilities, which you’ll be responsible for regardless of the rental situation.
The good news here is that they also add value to the overall equity in your property, and you’re likely to benefit if you go on to sell your home in the future.
This overview only skims the surface when it comes to the versatility of accessory apartments.
If you’re considering an investment in one for your property, you’ll want to start with a consultation with a dedicated granny flat builder (like us!). We’lll be able to help you determine whether your property is eligible for construction and what, if any, council regulations may affect it. From there, the fun begins as you choose your design and finishes and watch your build come to life.
You can get more information and amazing expertise from our team. We’re solely dedicated to designing, building, and customising granny flats here in Sydney and the surrounds. That means we will be able to help you conceptualise the perfect additional space for your property at a price you can afford.
Our building projects are also backed by a 25-year guarantee, so you know your new build is made to last. All of our designs are energy efficient and use Australian-made products wherever possible. We’re a family builder that takes every project seriously and includes premium finishes as standard to make sure you have all of the comforts of home in this new unit. For more information, call us on 02 9885 0089.