Is It Worth It to DIY a Granny Flat?


A granny flat is a detached home that’s located inside your premises. Many families are now turning to granny homes to provide a home for elderly relatives, teenage kids, or older kids who are struggling with the rising prices of rent. For many, it’s also a way to generate cash flow from rental income and increase the property’s value.

Whether you intend the granny flat for relatives and family or rental income, it’s a good way to boost the value of your property when you are ready to sell it. But granny flats aren’t cheap. Though home improvement stores already have granny flat kits, you still have to spend on the costs of the permit, licenses, and the labor. Fortunately, if you are a little handy around the house, you can build a granny flat by yourself in no time.

First Considerations

The first things you have to decide on is the design of the granny flat. Do you want it attached to the main house or detached? Some families decide an attached flat is better so that they can look after their aging relatives. It is called a granny flat because it intends to accommodate aging parents. If you want it attached to the house, it should have the same architectural design as the main house. That might be more expensive since you will not have the freedom to choose more affordable materials.

Another thing you have to worry about are the permits and licenses. It can take up to 20 days to process the paperwork. Make sure you plan for the processing period. Check that it complies with the zoning restrictions and building code of your state so that you won’t have to worry about the approval of the permits.

Tools and Rentals

You need a lot of tools if you are going to build a flat on your own. Get your toolbox out and determine what else you need. You can borrow or rent some that you don’t have in your box. Some of the most common tools you will need to construct your home are hammer and nails, power drill, screwdriver, saw, level and tape measure, and electrical tester.

Check out a rental equipment business near you, too. You might need a warehouse forklift rental to help you with carrying and lifting wall panels, roof shingles, and many other things. Make sure to schedule the rental at the exact date you will need it because equipment rental is not cheap.

granny flat


Before you even begin working on the granny flat, you have to prepare the site. What do you have there? Is there a little vegetable garden growing there? How about a garden shed where you keep your home and car tools? You cannot clear only the space where the flat will be built. You have to provide extra space for the construction materials and tools.

Lining and Utilities

Sure, you can build the house from the foundation to the frames, but how about the important utilities and fixtures? Can you also install electrical lines and pipes for the plumbing system? How about the toilet and the shower drains? Although it is money-saving to build the house by yourself, you should also recognize when your abilities can endanger the people who will live in the granny flat.

Call a certified electrician and plumber for your utility needs. They should have licenses to operate in your area. Check if they have insurance, too.

Does It Take a Lot of Work?

Certainly, building a granny flat is a lot of work for anyone, even professionals. Think long and hard before you start planning one because it’s not an easy task. If you can, consult with a builder so you can at least have a guide before you start the construction process.

So is it worth it to build it on your own? On average, granny flat builders can charge between $60 and $110 per hour. The labor cost of building a granny flat can reach tens of thousands of dollars. It’s not a surprise that many homeowners prefer to build the flats on their own. If they will hire contractual workers to build it for them, it will take years before they can recuperate the labor costs through rent.

A granny flat is a great way to improve the value of your home. If you are planning to sell it in the future, this is the best way to give its value a little boost. The additional space is a welcome treat for potential home buyers.

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