05 Jan 2018

Granny Flats - Not Just for Little Old Ladies!

Granny flats are popping up on residential properties around Australia quicker than Nanna can knit a scarf. The rise in popularity is most likely because homeowners are fast catching on to the benefits that granny flats can bring, such as accommodation for extended family, providing a home office, or generating rental income. So what exactly defines a granny flat? Well, it’s basically just a term used for a secondary dwelling on the property. They can be either an attachment to the main house or a separate, independent structure. And if you’re one of the many homeowners considering building one, here’s a few things you should know about getting the most bang for your buck with granny flats.


Get permission

First and foremost, you need to speak to a planner to find out council by-laws for allowed sizes in your zoning. Most residential lots are usually permitted a secondary dwelling of up to 60m2, whereas rural blocks are allowed up to 90m2.


Make sure it’s worth your while

Granny flats can be a great source of rental income, but before you go ahead with the building process, ask a trusted property manager to give you some idea of the potential rental return. Surprisingly, smaller, cheaper properties often rent faster and for a proportionately higher rate than larger homes, but there are a number of factors which determine this figure. So make sure the extra building costs are likely to be returned through rental income – your investment must be worthwhile.


Consider your location

Location drives the target audience. Granny flats that are close to hospitals and universities often mean a constant demand for a self contained space. If your location is not in close proximity to high-frequency areas, your granny flat may not be best for investment purposes, but could still be beneficial for personal use and adding value to your property.


Maximize accommodation

When designing your granny flat, consider how many people might be living there. To broaden demand, plan to accommodate a couple not just a single – don’t leave Grandad behind! Making a living space with enough room for a fold out sofa for additional guests is another great way to maximize accommodation.


Sensible access

If building, it’s important to consider that people of all abilities are provided easy access to bathrooms, driveways and all other access points of the residence. Granny flats are often occupied by the elderly, or a parent or caregiver, so these conveniences can make a world of difference to their lives.


Pet friendly

Don’t forget Fido or Chester! If you’re planning to accommodate an older family member, there’s plenty of research that suggests people are happier and tend to live longer when they can keep their furry, four-legged companions.


Key takeaways

The benefits of granny flats are endless. Whether they’re used for housing elderly parents, home offices, adding more bedrooms, independent accommodation for teenagers living at home, short-term lodging for newlyweds, hobby space or rental income, there’s no doubt that these separate dwellings can be purposed time and time again. The most important thing is to be well-informed on laws and regulations for building an addition to your property, and to talk with your property manager about whether building a granny flat is the right decision for you.


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