backyard granny flats

Top Reasons Why Backyard Granny Flats Are a Great Idea

Why Backyard Granny Flats Have Risen in Popularity Recently

Backyard granny flats have been rising in popularity in recent years, most likely due to rising housing prices. With the average home price in the United States sitting at nearly $400,000, and well over $1,000,000 in the San Francisco Bay Area, it’s no wonder this isn’t an option for many people. 

What is an option, however, is building an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) on an existing property. This keeps families close together and helps cut back on housing or nursing home costs. 

If you’re thinking about building a granny flat but aren’t sure about doing so, we understand. To help convince you that you’re making a good decision, let’s take a look at the top reasons why you should build a backyard granny flat. 

What Is a Granny Flat?

A granny flat, also called an in-law apartment or a backyard house, is an extra space on your property. The space is used for housing elderly relatives or live-in nannies. It can also be used for housing guests. 

Granny flats can be built on any part of your property, including in the basement, in a converted garage, or as a separate structure. Either way, it makes for a cozy and convenient space for families to utilize. 

Why You Should Build a Granny Flat

Now that you know what a granny flat is, it’s time to talk about the reasons to build one. There are tons of different reasons why you should build a granny flat. To help you make your decision, we’ve put together a quick guide to the top reasons why you should build one of these homes. 

Lower Costs for Senior Care Services

When our aging relatives start to get up in their years, they often need extra support and assistance. They might suffer from cognitive or physical decline and can develop health conditions. 

Many times, we end up paying for expensive elderly care costs to keep them safe. We send our parents to nursing homes or residential care services to help keep them healthy. 

However, these types of services quickly add up. You can end up paying thousands per month and tens of thousands of dollars a year, just to make sure that your aging relatives receive the proper care. 

To avoid those costs and still make sure that your senior relatives are well-taken care of, you can build an accessory dwelling unit on your property. These types of units give your family a place to live that’s close enough that you can take care of them yourself. All while being a solid long term investment for your property.

Even better, since their new home is on your property, you won’t have to pay for housing for your family member. You can keep them in a home where they’re comfortable and cared for but won’t have to worry about the huge costs that normally go with it. With the best benefit being proximity to family.

Your Loved Ones Are Nearby for Holidays

During the holidays, it can be tough for aging family members to get out to your home to see you. They might have health issues that make flying or long car rides difficult. 

On top of that, you might not always be able to visit your family members on your own. You could have responsibilities that make it tough for you to get away and spend time with a family member for the holidays. 

When you build a backyard granny flat, however, you don’t need to worry about these issues. Your loved ones will be right next door so that they can participate in holidays without any travel concerns. 

You Can Keep Your Senior Relatives Safe

As people grow old, they can become an inadvertent threat to themselves. They could become isolated, leading to mental health concerns which can cause serious problems in all parts of their lives. 

They could also run into issues where their physical health leads to falls or other dangers. Leaving them on their own could mean they suffer a stroke, fall, or injury and don’t have anyone nearby to help them out. 

When elderly loved ones live far away, it’s hard to make sure that they’re staying safe. You can spend hours of your day just worrying about whether or not they’re okay. 

That’s why one major benefit of a granny flat is that you can take care of your grandparents since they’re close by. If they suffer a fall or another health issue, you’re right next door to take care of them and address the issue. 

And, since they’ll always have you around, they won’t have to worry about feelings of loneliness and isolation. You can make sure that they’re safe both physically and mentally.  

It’s Easier for Kids to See Their Grandparents

It’s not uncommon for kids to grow up far away from their grandparents. They miss out on tons of benefits that come from having grandparents close by, not to mention don’t have fond memories of these special family members. 

When kids grow up near their grandparents, they get the benefit of an additional support system in their older relatives. And, they can learn more about their identity and sense of self because they can take advantage of intergenerational knowledge. 

What’s more, the grandparents may live longer when they live close to their children. The sense of purpose that being around their grandkids gives them can help boost their health. And, it can lead them to be more active, which is an important part of maintaining their well-being. 

When you have a granny flat, your kids can be close to their grandparents. They can see their grandparents every day and have the added support of having their aging family members nearby.

Your Elderly Family Members Are More Comfortable

While residential homes and nursing home situations can be convenient, they’re not necessarily comfortable for your aging family member. Your family members will be out of their own space and can feel as though they can never fully relax. 

Worse yet, many nursing homes resemble hospitals. That can stop them from feeling as though they’re living a comfortable life and can lead them to feel depressed or micromanaged by the nursing staff. 

When you build a granny flat for an elderly relative, however, you’ll be able to make your family member feel more comfortable. They’ll have their own space that feels like their own home. 

What’s more, they won’t have strangers taking care of them. Instead, they’ll have you, their loved ones, by their sides and taking care of them when they need assistance. 

You Can Cater to Your Relative’s Needs

Every aging individual has different needs depending on what their situation is and what their limitations are. They could have issues with their cognition, eyesight, mobility, or any other issue. 

One of the best aspects of a granny flat is that you can create a space that caters to those needs. You know that you’re able to build a granny flat that works for your aging relative and isn’t just a one-size-fits-all solution. 

A few examples of ways that you can cater to your family’s needs include installing doorbells for people who are hard of hearing. Or, you can include wheelchair ramps that make it easy for them to get in and out of the home. 

Your Elderly Family Members Can Keep Their Independence

One of the hardest things for aging adults to deal with is giving up their independence. When they get older, they can feel as though they’re going back in time because suddenly they need help taking care of basic tasks. 

What’s more, when aging family members give up their independence, they often end up feeling very old. That can be difficult for them to come to terms with. 

When you build a granny flat, all these issues go away. Your aging family member gets to keep their  independence because they’ll be living in their own space. 

Better yet, you can keep your independence. You still get to be near your aging family member but you don’t have to worry that they’ll take up your privacy and independence in your own home.  

What to Consider Before Building ADU Homes

With all these amazing reasons why you should build backyard granny flats, we’re not surprised if you’re wanting to rush out and build one yourself. However, before you build a granny flat, there are a few things you should keep in mind. 

Consider Your Space Requirements

When you’re thinking about granny flat designs, you need to make sure that you’re keeping your spatial requirements in mind. You need to consider how much of your backyard is actually usable and how much you won’t be able to utilize. 

What you might find is that you could be able to use more of your backyard than you thought. ADU specialists are experts at helping you build on sloping land, narrow spaces, or even over the top of old swimming pools. 

Before you start getting started building your granny flat, make sure to speak with your family. Talk to them to see how much space they’ll need in order to be comfortable. 

Accessibility and Lifestyle Requirements

Another thing to think about before building a granny flat is accessibility and lifestyle requirements. Even though you might be excited about having your aging family members close by, they may need more privacy than you were anticipating. 

Or, perhaps your family member may be looking for more space in their kitchen. Regardless of what kind of lifestyle your aging family member enjoys, you need to think about their requirements and how that will affect the space. 

Lifestyle requirements aren’t the only things to think about when adding a new granny flat. You also need to think about what accessibility requirements your aging family member will need. 

If they have difficulty walking, you may need to install a wheelchair or a ramp to help them get into the home. Or, they may need special installations in the bathroom to make it easier for them to take care of themselves. 

The Size of Your Budget

Another thing to consider when building ADU homes is the size of your budget. Since it’s so exciting to build granny flats, it’s easy to get carried away with building plans and go over your budget. 

Before you start building your granny flat, it’s important to speak with other members of the family to find out what contributions they might provide. See what the total budget for housing your elderly relative will be. 

If you’re building a granny flat on your own but are concerned about the size of the budget, there are several things that you can do. For one, you can take advantage of financing options to help you build the flat. 

The Granny Flat Agreement

Before you start construction on a granny flat, you need to come up with a granny flat agreement. Even though most arrangements for granny flats and aging family members are informal, it’s a good idea to put something down on paper. 

The reason for this is so that you can avoid misunderstandings and disputes. It lays out exactly what the purpose of the granny flat is and what the details of the arrangements are. 

It’s especially important to write a granny flat agreement, considering how popular these types of dwelling units are becoming. In order to protect both yourself and your loved one, it’s important to make sure you write down how the arrangement will be laid out. 

A few key items to include in your granny flat arrangement include: 

  • Who will be maintaining the granny flat
  • Who will be cleaning the granny flat
  • Whether home support or home care service will be helping out
  • Who will fund the granny flat
  • What future plans are for the granny flat arrangement

The best way to secure your granny flat arrangement is to speak with a lawyer. He or she will be able to give you the best legal advice surrounding creating an ADU on your property. 

The Builder of Your Granny Flat

Building a backyard home is an exciting time. However, it’s not going to be a very enjoyable process if you wind up working with an ADU building team that you don’t like. 

Before you start building your granny flat, make sure that you look for a team that you’re compatible with. Read reviews and check out what other customers are saying about the company before you make a decision. 

You should also take a look at a few different designs that each company makes. That way you can make sure that you like the work that the company does.

On top of that, you should ask for a few different quotes from granny flat builders. Check out the different pricing options that granny flat builders are offering and choose one that gives you the best value for the job.

Inspiring Granny Flat Designs

Now that you know why to build a granny flat as well as what to consider before you sit down and start construction, it’s time to talk about what designs you should have for your home. Let’s take a look at a few inspiring granny flat designs. 

Cottage Style 

If your home has a more classic, traditional design, you might want your granny flat to follow suit. A great way of doing this is to build a cottage-style granny flat on your property. 

Cottage-style flats make great use of your environment as well as your flat, all while blending in well with your property. You can even create a porch or deck attached to your granny flat. 

One great decor idea for these types of granny flats is to place flowers outside the flat. This makes it look and feel more like an independent home for your senior relative, rather than a house extension. 

Swimming Pool Flats 

A swimming pool flat is a great idea for making the most out of your backyard. With this type of flat, you can place your ADU close to a new or existing swimming pool on the property. 

The benefit of this type of space is that you can use it as an entertainment nook as well as a granny flat. That makes it great for anyone who enjoys holding pool parties or outdoor gatherings. 

Modern Designs

Sometimes you want to create a real wow factor that makes your granny flat a beautiful addition to your home. One easy way to do that is to build a modern granny flat. 

Modern granny flats can incorporate any design ideas you like, since these property additions are versatile. Add stone backdrops in the kitchen or bathroom or use sleek metallic accents throughout the home to bring out the modern design!

Another great way to create a more modern-looking granny flat is to use neutral color schemes. Plus, add marble benchtops and wooden floorboards to create some unique modern-style decor. 

Coastal-Style Flat

If you live near the ocean or have a waterfront property, a coastal-style granny flat could be the ideal choice. This style home brings the beach straight to your property and creates a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere. 

For coastal-style flats, you can add soft blues and light greens to the design of the home. Adding colored fabrics and natural stone is a great way to lighten up the space and create a tropical, oceanside feeling as well. 

You can add to your decor by adding a few pieces of driftwood and seashells to the property. Sprinkling these around the home or placing them strategically outside is another great way to add to the coastal feel of your granny flat. 

Plus, you can use classy wicker furniture. You can place the furniture around the exterior or interior of the home for a comfortable and breezy atmosphere.

Minimalist-Style Backyard House

Sometimes, what you’re looking for is a more modern-style granny flat. And, with so many cladding options, you can come up with a unique, minimalist-style house that elevates your property. 

Timber cladding is a siding style that creates a clean, modern, and sophisticated look for your home or granny flat. And, when paired with beautiful gardens, it creates an inviting space that welcomes your aging family member. 

On top of that, these types of homes are durable. They’re great for withstanding colder climates, especially for those who live at higher elevations or in northern areas. 

Vinyl cladding is another design style you can use on a granny flat. Vinyl cladding is more cost-effective as well as more insulating than timber cladding. Its thermal properties make it the perfect choice for both warmer and cooler climates. 

Since vinyl cladding locks the temperature into the granny flat, you can ensure that your aging relative is comfortably cool in the summer and wonderfully warm in the winter. 

Finally, vinyl cladding is easy to maintain and easy to install. Once you’ve got it set up, you’ll find that it’s a pretty durable material that can weather just about any storm. 

What to Look for in a Granny Flats Professional Builder

Are you ready to get started building your own backyard granny flat? Good for you! Let’s take a look at what you need to look for in a builder so that you can build the granny flat of your dreams. 

Cost of the Project 

One of the first things to consider when looking for a granny flat builder is how much your potential team will charge. You need to make sure that you find a team that can work with your budget and that’s offering you great value for the job. 

Make sure to ask your builder about any hidden costs or extra fees. That’s especially important if you get a low quote, as they usually have extra fees hidden in the contracts that cost you more money in the long run. 

Find an Experienced Builder

There’s no such thing as having too much experience. You should look for a builder that has extensive experience in the industry and that has built multiple granny flats in the past. 

When you work with someone who’s experienced, you know that you’re finding someone who will do a great job. They have the hands-on knowledge needed to create a great building on your property. 

Look at their work

As you’ve seen from our earlier discussion about granny flats designs, there are tons of different options out there. 

Each builder has his or her own experience and niche. When you look for a builder, check out the design prototypes that each company offers. That way, you’ll be able to choose a team that is experienced in creating your chosen design. 

Read Reviews and Testimonials

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times. You have to read customer reviews before you sign on to partner with a specific granny flats builder.

Reviews offer valuable information about past customer experiences. They show you what it’s like to work with a builder, what costs you can expect to pay, and whether or not the work was high quality. 

Keep in mind that people are 2-3 times more likely to write negative reviews than positive ones. A lack of negative reviews can often be just as good of an indicator as a ton of positive reviews as to the quality of work a team provides. 

Licensure and Qualifications

Before you sign any contracts, make sure to ask your chosen builder about their license and qualifications. They should be able to provide these documents on request. 

It’s important that they have recognized accreditations and that they have an active builder’s license. Not only does this ensure they’re performing good-quality work, but it also makes sure that you’re not getting into any legal tangles. 

Make Sure the Team Has Warranty Insurance

Another major concern for homeowners should be whether or not their chosen team has warranty insurance. This is a layer of protection that makes sure you don’t lose your money thanks to sketchy home builders. 

With this type of insurance, you’re protected if the builder doesn’t complete their building contract, if the design is faulty, if inadequate or unsuitable materials were used, or if the finished product contains poor workmanship. 

Having this type of warranty insurance is a great way for you to ensure that you’re getting a job well-done. And, it’s a great way of protecting your investment into your new granny flat. 

Find Someone Who Is Transparent

Transparency is important in any type of project, but especially in building projects where your property’s looks depend on good communication. If your team can’t properly communicate with you about the work, the materials, or the costs, you’ve got a big red flag on your hands. 

You need to look for someone who is open and communicative at every step of the project. That way, you know that you’re not being taken for a ride and that you really are getting fantastic work for what you’re paying. 

Look for Longevity

Has the company been around for over 10 years? The longer granny flats professional building companies have been around, the more experience and knowledge they accumulate. It’s a valuable attribute that speaks volumes about the quality of the company’s work. 

When you choose to work with a granny flats professional builder, look for teams that have at least a few years of experience under their belts. If you notice the builder is new to the space, it might be an indicator that they’re not as trustworthy. Companies that have been in business a long time generally have a good track record of success and happy customers.

Find a Team That Is Willing to Listen

Regardless of whether you’re building a home for your family members or a space for the kids to hang out, you need to find a builder that is willing to listen to your needs. 

If your team isn’t willing to listen to you when you begin the project, there’s a good chance they won’t be willing to listen further down the line, either. That could lead to building granny flats that’s far from what you had in mind. 

Acton ADU is a team that always listens to what our customers are saying. Working with us means knowing that you’ll be taken care of and that all your needs and requests will be met in your final design. 

Build the Best Backyard Granny Flats Today

Now that you know all about the various reasons for building backyard granny flats, you’re ready to construct one of your own. You can put your granny flat ideas down on paper and create the perfect space for your aging relatives. 

Are you ready to get started? Get in touch with the team at Acton ADU and we’ll help you build the perfect granny flat for your elderly loved one. 

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