6 Key Tips for Building a Granny Flat in Australia
Building a granny flat is an exciting adventure! You’ll discover so many benefits as you experience life with a second dwelling – from an increased property value of up to 30%, to another potential income stream through tenancy, to having extra space for family, guests and storage.
We have been building granny flats for over 30 years and have helped countless homeowners on this journey. If you’ve decided it’s time to take the next step and build a granny flat, here are our top tips on how to navigate the process to get the best results.
- Take time planning
It can be easy to get caught up in the excitement of building a granny flat and once the decision is made, it can be tempting to rush in and just choose something you think looks good to get things happening straight away. Or maybe you find yourself with the sudden need for a granny flat and you are looking to get a quick-fix solution for your situation stat!
Either way, it’s important to slow down and take the time to put extra thought into the planning process. A granny flat is a big project and one you want to get right. Investing time into this part of the process is important. It doesn’t have to take exorbitant amounts of time but getting the foundation right in the planning stages is critical to your overall success.
Some things to consider in the planning phase include:
- Your location. In NSW the application process for a granny flat is quite simple, but other states have additional requirements, and approvals can be difficult, so you’ll need to put thought into this. Geographically, if you are near the beach this might change your building plans and needs in comparison to an inland, rural location too.
- Your space. What goes into designing and building your granny flat will be greatly impacted by the space you have available in your backyard or on your property. Questions to ask could include: Is it easy to access? Do you still want to have extra play space in the backyard for kids? If you really need more space, are you happy to consider building up to two storeys? Does your block have any slopes or features that might make building difficult? What views do you want to avoid or maximise?
- The purpose of the granny flat. The ‘why’ behind building a granny flat will have implications on the design and plans too. For example, a two-storey granny flat will likely be a poor choice if you are using it to house elderly or less mobile family members but could be a perfect solution if you want to use it as a rental space with a smaller footprint. There are also extra elements and features that you can incorporate into the design for special needs.
- Your budget. Your budget will influence everything from the size you can build to the fixtures and finishes you select.
- How are you going to power it? Did you know that you can build eco granny flats? To get the maximum sustainability out of your granny flat, this needs to be considered in the planning phase, as things like orientation, windows, insulation and ventilation all play a part in making a building sustainable.
This seems like a lot to think about, but one of the easiest ways to go through this process is to sit down and write out what your end goal is with a list of all your nonnegotiables. If you’re not sure what impact details like your location or space will have on your plans, finding the right builder will become imperative to ensure that they can help guide you in the right direction.
- Find the right builder
Your granny flat builder will make or break your building project. You need someone you can trust that has the experience and expertise to give you good advice and the highest quality work.
Even if you know exactly what you want and have already had plenty of outside consultants weigh in on your plans, you can have the best-laid plans, but if the person executing them is not properly equipped, you risk losing quality or missing the mark entirely.
A few ways to ensure you get the right builder for your granny flat can include:
- Matching the builder to your purpose. For instance, you don’t want a builder who isn’t experienced in special needs to be the one designing and building your granny flat for your elderly family members.
- Check out their awards, reviews and completed projects to ensure they have the experience and excellence they say they have.
- Talk to them and see how they respond to your questions. Are they considerate, informed and friendly? Building a granny flat will take lots of communication and you want to make sure you can communicate well with your builder.
SIDE NOTE: If you need help with this step – you don’t need to go further than our friendly team of expert builders. With over 30 years of experience, award-winning designs and over 1500 completed projects for happy homeowners, we know our team are the best.
- Be open to new ideas
After finding your granny flat builder and sharing your plans and vision with them, it’s important to keep an open mind and listen to new ideas.
Experienced builders like us who have built over 1500 granny flats will be able to give you new ideas or recommendations of how to do things or achieve your goals in ways you perhaps haven’t considered.
That’s not to say that you can’t stick to your list of nonnegotiables but being open to the input of an experienced builder will help take all the good ideas you have and maximise their potential.
- Ask Questions
It’s not just okay to ask questions – it’s important that you do! If you have concerns or don’t understand something, don’t let it go. At the end of the day, it’s you that has to live with the granny flat on your property after the building is complete.
Any good builder should be happy to explain the process in detail and operate with complete transparency. For our team, while we want you to feel comfortable enough to trust us and our experience, we still always want you to be informed and empowered with all the information about your granny flat. There are no stupid questions, and we never want you to feel ignored or unable to query anything.
- Have a budget buffer
Our granny flat builders are completely upfront and transparent with our costs, however, others may not be. Hidden costs can be commonplace with some builders and catch many homeowners unawares and having a little extra in your budget never goes astray.
Additionally, we see time and time again that there can be unexpected costs at the end of the building journey. Commonly, these include utility connections, furnishings, and outdoor landscaping extras. Having a slightly bigger budget than you need will give you peace of mind throughout the process and ensure you end your building journey without having to skimp on the things you really want.
- Plan your furnishings
Once your granny flat is completed it might be tempting to rush out and buy the best looking lounge and dining furniture set you can find. Before you start down the path of retail therapy, make sure you stop and plan how to make the most of the space you’ve just built. You want to make sure the furnishings complement the amazing building job you’ve just completed.
Some things to keep in mind include that, contrary to what it may seem, large furniture in small spaces will make the area feel small, mirrors are great to make it feel like there’s more space, and bright reflective surfaces on appliances and cupboard doors well help open up the space too. Take the time to research some interior design tips and plan your floor plan to make sure you do the new granny flat you’ve just built justice.
Plan Your Dream Flat
When it comes to building a granny flat, there is a lot to think about, plan for and know. Our team of expert builders have been building award winning granny flats for decades and know the ins and outs of everything to do with granny flats. If you want to know more about granny flats and what building one involves, our friendly team would love to hear from you and will be happy to talk you through the process.
Build with the Best & Experience the Difference for yourself!
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