What is a Granny Flat?

Commonly known as an accessory dwelling unit (ADU), a granny flat is an additional space in your house that can be used as a small apartment. Granny flats usually have their own living area, kitchen space, bathroom, and separate entrance. It can be attached to the main house or be a detached unit on the same property as the main house. A popular way of building a granny flat is by converting the garage or basement.

ADUs are known by a wide range of names, mostly based on the purposes they are built. It is a popular way to accommodate grandparents, which gives the term ‘Granny Flat’. Some other names for ADUs are:

  • In-Law Suite
  • Backyard Cottage
  • Mother-in-law Suite
  • Secondary Unit
  • Basement Apartment

Why Build an ADU?

Building an ADU offers many advantages to homeowners and has been gaining popularity in recent years. Some benefits that they offer are:

Space: One of the main advantages of building a granny flat is the added space it provides. Depending on your requirements, you can develop and use it for a variety of purposes. Some people use an ADU as a guest house, while others convert it into a home office. Converting garages into ADUs is becoming increasingly popular due to the rising need for home offices in this work-from-home situation brought on by Covid-19. It is also commonly used to house aging grandparents or can even be used for extended family or in-laws.

Source of Income: ADUs have proven to be an added source of income in a number of ways. They have proven to be quite a versatile resource for adding income.

Long Term Rental Income: While ADUs offer additional space for your home, they can also add to your income if used as a rental unit. It is becoming increasingly popular in California to build ADUs for the purpose of renting them out. This is helping people as a second source of income and easing the housing crisis at the same time. It is advisable to check the housing regulations in your areas to make sure you are allowed to rent out your ADU.

Short-term Rental Income: If you don’t wish to rent out your ADU on a long-term basis, you can still earn an additional income through short-term rentals. This could be month-to-month rentals or even stays offered on websites like Airbnb. This provides a flexible option for keeping the space open for personal use when needed.

Property Value: Building an ADU also increases the value of your property. It is considered a good investment that definitely benefits at the time of sale. So, you can cover the costs of building the ADU by renting it out and earning a profit if and when you decide to sell the property.

Things to Keep in Mind

While an accessory dwelling unit is a good investment for homeowners, there are certain things that should be considered or kept in mind before you decide to build an ADU:

Budget: The cost of building an ADU can vary depending on how you plan to use it. For example, a single room and bathroom might not cost as much as building an independent unit that also includes a living room and kitchen. Also, a detached ADU that needs to be built from the ground up might need a bigger budget than converting a garage.

Regulations: It is important to check the zoning regulations, energy regulations, building codes, HOA rules, and other such factors before you start your ADU project. Local development standards might not allow an additional structure on your property, or there might be size restrictions for ADUs in your area. In some cases, it might be easier to convert your garage than to build a new unit. Before you start planning your granny flat, make sure that the ADU complies with all such regulations. It is easier and cheaper to modify the plans than take down the ADU if it didn’t meet regulations.

Permit: Getting an ADU permit is an important step in the process of building your granny flat. The California ADU Program has made it easier for residents to build ADUs on their properties, but a plan approval is still needed to start the construction. Ensuring that your ADU plan meets the local requirements and follows all building codes that apply will help you get your permit easily and quickly.

Design Everest Can Help

One way to ensure that your ADU plan makes the best use of your space while following the local regulations is to hire a professional that has a good understanding of ADUs. Our team of licensed professionals has vast experience in ADU projects all across California. Design Everest can help you utilize your space through efficient ADU plans while ensuring the project stays within budget.

Contact us now for a consultation and FREE quote.

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