Granny Flats: Not Just for the Elderly

House hunting isn’t easy. From the hustle and bustle of moving from one place to another to making a pseudo-cost-benefit analysis on whether to sacrifice location for the sake of price, most people struggle to find affordable homes on their own. Enter the granny flat: a snazzy solution to keeping your independence while living with your relatives.

Granny flats are small housing units, similar to building a little cottage in your backyard. Think of them as scaled-down houses, with all the amenities of a full-sized house made more compact for easier access. While most granny flat builders conceptualize these for elderly use, it could also be an alternative solution for those of you with extended families looking for a little room to breathe.

These accessory dwelling units (sometimes referred to simply as ADUs) don’t have to be limited to your older in-laws. For multi-generational families, it isn’t at all uncommon to share living arrangements, but some granny flats can be designed to suit young adults that want to have their own small apartment space. This setup allows for affordable homes with more leeway than what the usual landlord in the city allows.

While some of them are designed with full-sized kitchens, the often differ depending on who the flat is designed for. Traditionally, granny flats are designed for simpler living, so home builders tend to favour space-saving solutions. Larger homes may allow for cluttered interior design, but the name of the game in ADUs is for intelligent use of space.

Most are designed as bungalows (single storey homes), but the bottom line that decides the specific design is the homeowner’s needs and budget. If you’re hiring a contractor, ask for their fixed prices. Most of them have different payment schemes to suit their customers; some of them charge according to a percentage of the overall cost of materials, while others offer a flat fee at the beginning of the project. So if you’re worried about additional expenses, you could always consult them about the amount you’re comfortable with spending so they won’t overshoot your budget.

Because of the smaller scale of the project, and hence, the material expenses, builders can make the project more affordable. Homes of the “tiny home living” variety tend to be more creative than your usual multi-storey building. The design of the project can be fun to create; aside from saving space, designing them to be energy efficient or cost-effective definitely make it a niche market for builders. At the end of the day, though, having your own separate space in a granny flat could provide you with more independence and space than buying 6 bedroom homes could.

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