Building a Guest House: What You Have to Know

Guest House

For decades, the Great Australian Dream has long been to have your own home and land. As a nation that is a leading proponent of renovations and the DIY movement, many Australians, once they have purchased a home, often begin to ponder on how they may build and improve it. For those who do look beyond their home and into their yard, often the construction of a guest house or a granny flat proves to be an appealing idea.

This is especially so as Australia continues to be a nation with an aging population (meaning many homeowners now find mum or dad expressing a desire to downsize and move in with them), while also many younger members of the Australian family struggle to get their foot on the property ladder and obtain independence. A guest house or granny flat can make a great fit here. Let’s now look at some of these types.

Types of Guest Houses

Depending on whether you are referring to a guest house in Australia or other nations around the world, the sort of structure that represents a guest house can vary significantly. While in the UK, and a number of European nations, a guest house is essentially akin to a Bed and Breakfast – by and large, a full-sized home that has all an immense array of features and amenities – within Australia a guest house is far more simple.

Unlike a conventional granny flat, however, a guest house can maintain some features of the European style. Though designs can vary, a guest house shall typically place a focus on the number of bedrooms — it must be the chief design consideration when planning a construction. 1, 2, or even 3 bedrooms can be designed, but the common areas of such accommodation are typically reduced.

Just like a conventional bed and breakfast, those who seek a guest house will usually do so placing a premium on bedrooms and sleep amenities over using the rest of the construction for day-to-day living. This is often done with an intention to have residents use the main house for their main cooking and recreational needs, but this can prove a drawback when compared to a typical granny flat design.

Can I build a granny flat?

Guest Houses vs Granny Flats

Granny flats bring with them the advantage of being a full-service and fully detached abode. While a guest house can offer some amenities similar to the main home on the property – such as a shower or kitchenette – a well-designed granny flat can quickly come to serve as a ‘second home’ on the land; offering a rich variety of amenities from shower to bath to kitchen (and even add-ons like a spa) that a guest house rarely offers.

Furthermore, while it can vary by state and territory law, as the installation of a guest house or granny flat can often require a similar process of proceeding through applications and paperwork (either with your local council, your state government, or potentially both), many Australians find once they begin the process of building a new construction on their land they often desire to seek out a larger or fuller construction to maximise the potential return and enjoyment they receive from the new addition.

In this regard, a granny flat can quickly come to outperform a guest house in terms of the return on investment, both in real terms (such as rent and land value), as well as the day-to-day enjoyment and compliment it offers the main house as a second living space.

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