How do I choose Between a Granny Flat or Adding an Extension to My Home?
If you’re struggling to choose between a granny flat or an extension, you’re likely working out how to get some more floor space in your home or on your property. Needing more room is a common problem so many homeowners have, especially when they love their home and don’t want to relocate, or when moving isn’t an option.
Whether your need for space is driven by working from home, a growing family, to house other relatives or to create additional income through renters, you’ll probably find yourself joining the ranks of many others who have asked ‘should I build a granny flat or an extension?’.
What’s the difference?
To work out what is right for you, it’s important to know what it is that you are actually deciding between.
The difference fundamentally is that a granny flat is a separate building to the house, while an extension adds to it. Even if you build an attached granny flat where the flat shares a wall with the main house, a granny flat cannot have an adjoining door and is essentially its own entity.
How do I decide?
The decision about which option is right for you essentially comes down to what you want the extra space for.
If your need for extra space is for something separate from your personal world or outside your immediate home life, then a granny flat is absolutely for you. Even though they can still be built relatively close to the main house, a granny flat creates a line of separation between your home life and whatever your granny flat is to be used for. It’s the perfect way to keep things close, but not too close, like home office solutions, older teenage retreats and housing elderly parents and relatives.
Similarly, if your need for extra space is for something close to home that you want to be connected to your everyday life, that is when an extension may be the better option. If you’ve got a young, growing family, for instance, and are trying to work out how to add more bedrooms, then a whole flat that is separate from the house may not be useful or appropriate for your younger children.
If your decision to build a granny flat is about having another source of income by leasing it out, a granny flat will again be the perfect way to keep your home more private, while having the extra space for tenants. The separation of a granny flat will help you keep your personal life private and undisturbed while giving your tenants their own space too.
If your reason for wanting more space has to do with property value, then the answer you’re looking for can vary from suburb to suburb and house to house. This is when talking to a real estate agent can be useful to find out what buyers in your market are looking for and where value is being placed.
For example, adding an extension to an already large 5-bedroom home may not add the same amount of value as the same extension on a 3-bedroom home in the same area, and a granny flat can often be the more valuable option. The answer to whether a granny flat or extension is right for this reason will always vary based on each property and set of circumstances.
Remember that this is a big decision
Making permanent, structural changes to your house or adding a new granny flat to your property involves major work. Neither option is the ‘easy way out’ and both have complex building processes involved. These types of decisions shouldn’t be made quickly or be swayed by singular details like budget or timelines.
The danger of choosing something just because it’s cheaper or fits into your schedule is that the temporary convenience can end up being a long-term disadvantage to you.
We know, for instance, that your budget is a critical factor in your building planning process, but there is much more to consider than the bottom-line building cost. You’ll need to weigh up the future investment potential and changes either option will make to your house value. If you’re considering a small extension as a ‘cheaper’ alternative to your dream granny flat, you’ll likely pay the price later by missing out on the rental potential of a granny flat.
Take the time to think through what it is you need and the implications it will have on your lifestyle and property value. Get advice from experienced builders like us, and ensure you are making your decision fully informed on what’s involved. You might be surprised – building a granny flat isn’t usually as hard or expensive as people think it is!
Still not sure?
Whatever your reason for considering a granny flat, our expert granny flat builders always enjoy talking about them and are here to help answer your questions about what’s involved. With over 35 years of experience building granny flats, we know all the council requirements and varying steps that are involved in granny flat building as opposed to adding an extension and can help you navigate the process with ease to make your final decision.