If you have an empty space in the backyard just right for a granny flat or self-contained dwelling, it might be the perfect way to add some extra rental income or provide for a growing family. Here is a list of things to consider before you start building.
Will it pay off?
Depending on the size and set-up of your proposed structure, a small flat could cost $100,000 or more to build, so it’s important to do your homework on how much you can expect to charge for rent and whether that will cover your costs.
If the sums add up, granny flats can be great long-term investments, and may add considerable value to your property when it comes time to sell as both owner-occupiers and investors will see the potential for extra revenue.
Do you need consent?
If your planned granny flat will have a kitchenette and bathroom, you will most likely need both building and resource consent from your local council, so make sure you check out the rules and get your applications in before picking out the paint colours.
Will it stand the test of time?
It is important to make sure any building is properly consented, and also that you use quality materials and reputable tradespeople so you don’t end up with unexpected costs or problems in the future. This is also essential if you plan to sell the property as buyers will want to be sure the extra dwelling is safe, secure and well built.
Who will live there?
If you are planning to rent the second dwelling out on the open market, make sure you have thought through the logistics of having your tenants living (almost literally) on your doorstep. It will likely make it very important to choose the right people, and may mean you want longer leases to prevent high turnover. You will also need to consider things such as privacy, parking, visitors coming and going, and responsibility for maintenance of any shared spaces.
The same considerations might need to be made if family members will live in the flat, but being able to offer teenagers or elderly parents their own independent space so close to home can be a practical and positive option for many Kiwi families.