From the front, it could easily be mistaken for a normal house. From the back, though, it looks nothing like any other home in this small neighbourhood. This is because there’s no one story on top of another here. Instead, this single-family home has an entirely different purpose-built beneath ground level.
This hidden basement is a granny flat, and it’s there because the homeowner has decided to bring in some extra income by renting this spare space. Granny flats are an increasingly attractive option for homeowners who want to rent out more space on their properties. They’re also sometimes called secondary suites or accessory dwellings.
Sydney Granny Flats can be a great investment, but they’re also a lot of work. Today we’re going to look at some of the things you’ll need to consider as you go about planning, building and finally managing this second property that will be part of your estate.
For many families, a granny flat is an answer to two out-of-control problems: the lack of affordable housing and overcrowding in family homes. But even though granny flats are popping up everywhere, most people have no idea how simple they are to build. Whether you’re doing it yourself or having one built by a professional.
Here are the 10 simple steps to follow.
Step 1: Draw a plan
The first step is to sit down and draw out your floor plan: How much space do you need? What room will be the bedroom and where will it be placed? How big does the kitchen need to be to feed everyone, and where will it go? Don’t worry about getting ticked off by the carpenter for making his job harder. These are just basic guidelines, not blueprints.
Step 2: Add up your materials
Then you need to estimate how much the whole thing will cost, which is a matter of adding up all the building materials you’ll need. That includes flooring, wallboard, paint, plumbing fixtures and any fixtures or furniture that aren’t included in your blueprint.
Step 3: Get a building permit
Depending on the area you live in, you may need to obtain a building permit from your local building department. In many parts of the country, however, permits are not required for smaller self-build projects such as granny flats.
Step 4: Hire a carpenter
Now it’s time to find someone you can trust to do the work — if you don’t want to do it yourself, that is. You can find qualified carpenters in your area by checking with friends or neighbours who have recently built granny flats, local contractors and even the local building department. Just make sure you get several bids so you know what the job will cost before you hire someone.
Step 5: Deliver materials and remove debris
Once you have a carpenter selected, schedule a delivery date for all the materials and move out of the way to let him or her work. You can help by moving furniture and anything else that needs to be out of the way so the carpenter can work freely. Once everything is installed, remove all debris and tidy up your granny flat so it’s suitable for habitation.
Step 6: Move in and enjoy
You’re almost done! All you need to do now is move in and settle down. It may be a while before that happens, but the sooner you start looking for a family member or friend to move in with you, the better.
Step 7: Build an accessory building
This may not be necessary if your granny flat is located on your property and has enough space to add building. But if it’s too small and you need more space, consider building a separate structure such as an accessory building. Just make sure you allow enough room to put it somewhere out of the way and away from your granny flat.
Step 8: Build a fence
If your new family member or friend’s privacy is at all important to him/her, consider adding a privacy fence around your granny flat. It’s not necessary, but it can be a big help when trying to keep out prying eyes.
Step 9: Add landscaping
Finish up the job by landscaping your property so everything looks nice and neat for everyone involved. That may mean adding some bushes or flowers along the fence line, paving over your driveway or adding a small patio for entertaining.
Step 10: Get the keys!
Now that everything is set up, move into your new granny flat and enjoy your privacy and space all to yourself. But make sure you introduce your new home to everyone else in the family as soon as possible! That way they won’t come knocking on your door at all hours of the day and night.