Tips for Adding a Guest House to Your Property

The global pandemic has changed the way many of us work and live.

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You might have found that you’ve made the transition to working from home full time now and will stay that way long-term, or you might have decided to invite an elderly parent or other relative or close friend to move in with you. 

Either way, it may be necessary to expand your property’s living and sleeping areas by getting a guest house addition. Here are some tips for creating an addition that ticks all your boxes.

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Consider Budget

It’s wise for your first step to be determining a budget for the work on your property to ensure you can actually afford to do it in the first place. Working out what you can spend will help you see whether it’s feasible to build a whole new structure in your yard or if it would be better to expand on your current home’s footprint or renovate a barn or some other dwelling that’s already there. You might also investigate the costs involved with buying a ready-made modular structure.

Focusing on a budget will reduce the risk that you spend more than you can or want to afford for the project, too. Plus, once you have the total final figure in mind for the building, you can work back from there to understand what you can allocate to the initial construction and what to spend on fixtures and fittings, interior design, and the like. 

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Research Builders and Contractors Carefully

You don’t want to have issues with the work dragging out, going over budget, or not ending up as you’d hoped, which means you need to select the right builders or contractors for the job. Research options carefully, focusing on those with experience in the type of guest house you’d like to build. It pays to ask family members, friends, colleagues, etc., for recommendations since this can be a great way to find experienced, reliable workers. 

Also, check out online reviews such as those on blogs, forums, and social media sites, among others. Pay attention to what people say about the quality of the work and if individuals and companies complete projects on time and have good communication skills. As you research, search for contractors who are appropriately licensed, too. 

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Get Planning Permission 

Don’t get too far into your guest house project before ensuring you have the necessary permissions to add or extend a dwelling. Learn the local laws in your area related to zoning that cover factors such as the maximum square footage allowed, the necessary distance between the main house and guest house, and the minimum number of parking spots. Find out if short-term or long-term renting of the structure is allowed and the permits needed for building and usage. 

Note, too, that you might be fine regarding zoning rules but find that your homeowners’ association vetoes your guest house plans. Always run plans by the association before beginning work to see what you can and can’t do. 

Consider Who Will Use the Building and How

Before work begins, get clear about who will use the guest house and how, so you can design the perfect structure with the most effective floor plan and inclusions. Its purpose will significantly influence many different design factors. For example, will you have an elderly parent or other family member move in, or will your teenage children use the area? 

Perhaps you want a separate guest house to run a business from home or to set up as additional living and library space. You may also want to rent the area to students in your local area or via Airbnb or another outlet to generate cashflow each year. Weigh up your personal desires against what’s realistic and achievable for the land, market, your finances, and more. 

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Consider Practical Needs

When adding a guest house, consider practical needs in the dwelling, such as having enough lighting and electrical outlets, and wiring for the building. You’ll likely also want to install heating and cooling options so users can be comfortable year-round. 

For instance, it pays to put in attractive, modern ceiling fans to move hot air around plus air conditioning if you live somewhere that gets very hot in summer. You also want a working fireplace or gas or other heating. 

Even a tiny guest house takes a lot of planning and consideration. However, this time and energy should come back to you in spades when you can enjoy the result you’ve been looking for. 


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