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Building a granny flat: What you need to know

Posted: March 14th, 2020

The typical Australian family is going through a bit of a lifestyle shakeup. In the past, the average home consisted of a couple and their children, who would out in as they came of age. More recently, the Australian housing market has shot through the roof, making it near impossible for young adults to enter the market, thus forcing them to linger under their parent’s roofs well into adult life. As a response to this change, a trend has emerged. Enter the granny flat. 

A granny flat has become a popular option as the need for alternative living spaces has risen. Installing one in your backyard could solve your lifestyle kinks, giving your family the room it needs to breathe. Here’s everything you need to know about how to kick start the project. 

1. Advantages of granny flat

The reason for building a granny flat changes for each homeowner. In some cases – depending on the state – granny flats are a secondary source of income built by those who are planning on capitalising on their land value. Other times the flats are built intended for young adults who are saving to enter the housing market. Or even elderly parents who require family assistance. Homeowners might build a flat with intentions to later downsize into the space or as self-contained guest quarters.  

2. Can my granny flat increase the value of my property 

Yes and no, this entirely depends on who views your property at the time of sale. Some people will specifically be looking for places that comprise of a granny flat, others may see the addition as an added bonus. But then, some buyers would prefer to have a larger yard over the additional developed space. If it’s increased property value you are after, check out our blog Home improvements that add value, to get an idea of some other modifications to consider to boost the worth of your home. 

3. Conditions to comply with

Technically, you can’t just begin building a granny flat yourself. Councils around the different states of Australia have put various conditions on the erection of granny flats, or secondary dwelling construction. Regulations and conditions vary from state to state so the best way to cover yourself is to work closely with your own local entity.

4. Can I rent out my granny flat?

The use of a granny flat can change as lifestyles change, but it’s important to be aware that if you no longer have a use for your granny flat, you may not be able to rent it out. In Victoria and Queensland, various restrictions apply, making the process somewhat complicated. Airbnb you ask? It’s possible but is still a grey area with councils and aren’t unified on the requirements or rules.

5. Construction methods

In recent years, the creativity of granny flats has exploded. With a plethora of options to chose from such as custom-built, pre-fabricated, transportable, flat packed and of course, the old favourite, building it yourself.