Should I Choose a House Extension or a Granny Flat?

Deciding between a granny flat and a house extension can be a difficult choice. They are both effective ways of utilising your property’s extraneous block space. However, each comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages that homeowners must be aware of. Some of the important factors that vary are cost, the difficulty of the build and the versatility of each option. To understand the key differences between these options, read on.

How is a granny flat different to a house extension?

A house extension expands the living space of your home, while a granny flat is an independent dwelling on the same block of land as a house. House extensions can be additional rooms or stories that make the house larger. They complement the existing space and aren’t self-sufficient entities. Granny flats, on the other hand, are essentially their own houses. They have their own kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms, as well as independent access to utilities. This allows them to be self-reliant. And whilst they can be attached or detached, they still need entrances separate from the house.

What are the benefits of a granny flat compared to a house extension?

Granny flats provide a higher level of versatility than house extensions. They are ancillary dwellings, so they have a variety of different uses. Granny flats are great for housing elderly parents or giving young adults greater independence while not having them move out completely. Additionally, they are perfectly suited to being repurposed as hobby rooms, home offices or a place to do some exercise. Since they have such a varied array of potential uses, they can provide a higher boost in property value than house extensions.
Granny flats also work well as rental properties. They can be rented out long-term or short-term as Airbnbs to provide an additional revenue stream for homeowners. They provide a nice level of separation and privacy that tenants can appreciate. Granny flats are a sought-after commodity in the current rental market, making it easy to find renters. This can be very lucrative and potentially get you over $350 in additional weekly income!

What are the benefits of a house extension compared to a granny flat?

House extensions are a great choice if you’re trying to improve your current lifestyle without as much hassle. They can provide helpful additions to the home to make life more enjoyable. This might include expanding a kitchen or living area so that it’s more spacious. Alternatively, it could new rooms altogether such as bedrooms, bathrooms or lounges. They also have the option of being indoor or outdoor, giving you a lot of choice. You can find a range of house extension ideas for your home. The simplicity compared to building a granny flat makes this option preferable for some people.

As a result of often being easier to build, home extensions can be more affordable than granny flats. This obviously depends on the size of both the extension and the granny flat. But a simple extension typically won’t break the bank. It may be preferable if you don’t have the time and budget to invest in a granny flat build.

White granny flat with awning, outdoor furniture and garden area with potted plants.

Choosing between a granny flat and a house extension

When choosing between an extension or a granny flat, your priorities will determine which option you should go for. Neither option is objectively better than the other. It all depends on your individual needs and how they can accommodate these.

Because granny flats are ancillary dwellings, they can provide a second home – giving autonomy and independence to the resident. To allow for this, granny flats tend to require more space. And in general, they do tend to have greater planning requirements. Council permissions and logistical red tape are just some of the obstacles that need to be overcome. Luckily, a reputable builder such as GFWA will take care of this entire process for you. 

Home extensions are an excellent option for maximising your property’s space and getting more from your home. For example, if your family’s growing and you need additional living space, an extension is an easy way to get this extra area. In this instance, a granny flat doesn’t make sense as you don’t need an additional bedroom or bathroom. But it doesn’t need to be a strictly practical choice. Maybe you really like the idea of installing a pool that you can enjoy in the summer. Or perhaps you appreciate the appeal of having a patio in your backyard. Whatever the reason, extensions can provide the benefits you’re looking for.

Choosing between a granny flat and a second-storey house extension

Another important consideration is whether you want a granny flat or a second storey extension for your house. There are some similarities in the benefits provided by each. They both provide a lot of additional living space to the block as a whole and increase the value of your property. They also both add bathrooms and bedrooms for additional utility. If you prefer, a second story extension can also be self-contained, in much the same way as a granny flat. They even tend to have a similar price range (which, of course, varies significantly based on the specifics).

The main consideration to be thinking about when deciding between a granny flat and a second story extension is whether you wish to rent it out. Granny flats tend to work better as rentals since they are easier to separate from the main home. This gives tenants more privacy and allows them to get on with their own affair. As a result, they are willing to pay more. Seconds stories can potentially be rented out, especially in duplex situations. But they are generally less appealing compared to granny flat rentals.

When considering an extension or a granny flat, it pays to have a clear idea of your priorities and goals. But sometimes, it can be difficult to determine exactly what those are. If you’re not entirely sure, don’t need to worry. Just have a chat with one of GFWA’s specialists. They have years of experience helping valued customers find the option that suits them best.