Build a guest house means you are going to create accessory dwelling units (ADU). ADU is popular as a companion unit or mother-in-law apartments. In some areas, we call it as granny flats. You can build an ADU as a separate housing with attachable design to the main house or separate from it. An ADU building comes with its own bathroom and kitchen. It means that the tenants are independent, not using the rooms from the main house.

How many ADUs you should build? It depends on your needs. If you, as the homeowner find an excellent opportunity to rent out the small unit to the renters, you can build, as you want. Even most owners make this building to support family members, doting grandparents, and recent college graduates

“A house in Japan is considered differently from one in Europe. It is more transient, sits more lightly on the ground”

Although an ADU is a small building, of course, it can be a big undertaking. It is similar to the other construction project. To build it, you need a serious thought and careful planning to start its construction. Below are the things you need to know about guest house plans.

build a guest house
gust house photo courtesy : Daniel

Build A Guest House That Makes Sense

A perfect guest house should provide the guests with a private and comfortable room. When you invite friends to stay, they have their own privacy without sharing any important rooms like kitchen and bathrooms to each other. The guest house can be the place to put up adult children or use it as a rental property to get more income.
In fact, some guest houses are available as a traditional building while others are modular. At this time, the popular option is modular guest homes because they are the cheapest way to build a guest house.  They are less expensive in a condition that you want to deal with the design and size.

An ideal modular guest home is available between 600 and 1,500 square feet of its size. It has one or two bedrooms, a living room, and a kitchen. If you want to build guest houses, you must have a big concern on creating a comfortable environment, not about increasing the resale value. Most homeowners agree that they have more interest in the people who are planning to stay there for many years. Therefore, they do not put their concern on return on investment (ROI).

The Right Way To Plan And Build A Guest House :

  1. Understand about zoning and construction laws

    Each city or town comes with its own zoning and building laws. It means that you need to read the regulations thoroughly. Make sure that you are reading the latest regulation. There are possible changes occur to its policy. Some cities allow the homeowner to convert an existing garage or shed into an ADU, to save time and budget. If you cannot find any regulations in your city or town, you can search for your official city’s website. Or, you can call and ask to get more information on the regulation to build a guest house.

  2. Care for the Subdivisions

    Understand not all subdivisions and homeowner associations allow ADUs. Do not be happy if your town allowed you to build an ADU. Make sure that your community also allows it. Therefore, you must check it first. Otherwise, you have to deal with some problems.

  3. Hire an architect.

    It is good to hire an architect since he can help you to deal with the initial planning steps. To build a guest house, you will need an experienced designer. His job is to draw up the plans so you can submit it to the municipality’s planning department in your area for the appropriate permit. Besides, an architect is important to make sure that you can get what you need.

  4. Read carefully The Laws

    We recommend you to read up on the locality’s building laws in your area because it helps you to get information about the restrictions. It can be the ADU’s dimensions, the distance from the property lines, the parking space, and general requirement. By following the regulations, you do not have to make changes to get the permits to build a guest house. In this phase, you also need to consider people, especially for your tenants, guests, neighbors, and yourself. Who is going to live there? If it is for grandma or grandpa, make sure that it has senior-friendly design elements including ramps, not steps.

  5. Consider for the Best View

    Others than that above, you should have some good thing to consider to build a small guest house. The building should not block your favorite view, or not too close to the main house. Here, you can try something like skylights. It is better to reduce the size or change the location if it only blocks your view.

  6. Prepare Some Extra Cash

    Understand that building ADU is not cheap. You can make back your money when the ADU is ready for the renters. To achieve that goal, you need to shell out some serious amount of money during the planning and the building phase. The cost to build a guest house can be expensive, and it can be difficult to get a bank loan to finish the construction. Therefore, you must plan it carefully.

The Effective Steps Of Building A Guest House In Your Backyard

Build a small guest house backyard is something possible if you have completed the regulations in your area. There are three important steps when you are going to do this project.

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1. Work on the basic layout

You do not have to work too much with a lot of details for the guest suite, or granny flat. Start this project with a general plan on paper is a good thing to do. For this reason, you need your builder to work with. Your builder can guide you to get more details when it is about the design and the dimension of backyard guest house.
To make a basic layout, you have to include some important parts as below:

  • Ask yourself whether you need a single level or split level
  • Calculate how many bedrooms you need
  • Include the exterior features you want such as a deck or a garage
  • Estimate of many square feet for the property
  • Consider the dimensions of each room

Since your builder will tell you about the details, choosing the right builder is very crucial. Make sure that your builder has many experiences on a guest suite or granny flat projects. The more experience he has, the more advice you will get for your layout. Furthermore, a well-experienced builder can give some adjustments to your design. This starting point is important to make sure that your project goes smoothly.

2. Consider the decorative elements

It is a more crucial step you need to consider carefully. It is a tentative plan since you can find that as you are about planning your project to build a guest house in your backyard and then, you suddenly change your mind for some things you think more interesting. Again, the starting point helps you to figure out about what you really need, not what you want to.
Build a guest house is right if you include the decorative elements at the very first beginning. In this part, you should include:

  • The type of flooring that you want to use from hardwood to carpet
  • Consider the style of the property’s hardware such as the kitchen cabinet colors
  • The appliances you want to use such as white or stainless steel
  • The bathroom style you love, from the sink to the toilet
  • The blinds and windows style
  • Consider the roof style

In this step, you are dealing with the elements to decorate the interior permanently. Moreover, this stage will decide the feel and the overall look of the building. So, you should think about lamps or pictures frames later because these pieces are easy to remove.

Forests were the first temples of God and in forests men grasped their first idea of architecture.

3. Get more ideas by checking out other projects

Although you have a good knowledge of building a guest house in the backyard, it is still a good idea to check out other people’s designs. There, you can get more ideas to solve your doubt. By checking out other projects, it helps you to see how features look. At first, you may want to have carpeted floors, but you can change your mind when you see other people’s project for something better.
These are the easy tips on how to build a small guest house backyard you should consider to help you have an easier process to plan and build it.

backyard guest house by Daniel

How Much You Need To Build A Guest House?

It is important to know that site-built guest house has different price dramatically. It depends on the size, materials, layout, finishing options, and location. Build a guest house cost can be around 100 USD, even 500 USD per square foot, so you have the guest house designed, constructed, and completed.

How to build a small guest house for those who need to produce a  big return on investment (ROI)? We recommend you to consult with the professional. Most guest houses somehow do not offer a high ROI. It is possible to get that if you are living in a high-end neighborhood. Therefore, if you are going to invest your money in building a small guest house with this goal, make sure that you are choosing the right location. Or if not, you only get a few tenants.

Remember that, when you are choosing the wrong location, it can contribute to the value of the house from seller. Sellers will not give you a high price if you want to sell the house. That is why the chance to get a return from selling or renting the guest house depends on the location.If you think that modular guest houses are ideal for you, you need to prepare some amount of money.

How to build a guest house in modular design may require the starting cost about 30,000 USD to 40,000 USD. This cost is only for modular guest houses in size of 600 to 700 square feet. It is the cost of the building only. In short, you need to spend the additional 15,000 USD to 25,000 USD for the permits, installation, and foundation. If you like to add more items like porches and decks, you need to spend more of course.

If you are going to build an average modular guest house, the size should be from 1,000 to 1,200 square feet of space. The cost to spend is from 60,000 USD to 70,000 USD. It is the cost to complete the construction and installation.

Hire The Professional

Good communication between you, your architect, and your builder is crucial when it is all about to build a guest house. Your designer can provide you the total project cost as their initial estimation. We think that it is good to talk with your architect with a starting point. You can tell him about the money you have and the dream of your guest house. In fact, your architect is a real engineer if he knows the regulation in your city. After the layout is complete, he will send it to the city’s department to get the permission.

We need houses as we need clothes, architecture stimulates fashion. It is like hunger and thirst you need them both.

Believe it or not, he can be a good source to provide you some possible things to cut off the budget for individual parts. If you do not want to have any experience with bad architect or builder, you can use your friends and neighbors as the biggest source to find the best person.

Besides, it is possible for you to have an inexpensive guest house by looking online to install SIP kits, having a modular factory-built approach, go with minimal lighting, minimal heating and cooling, cheap doors, and windows as well. Other things you can do are to use a second-hand appliance, have DIY cabinets, reclaimed coffee table, and more.

The Conclusion

We can say that, build a guest house needs a lot of plans, budget, energy, time, and worker. If you are busy that you afraid cannot handle this project, make sure that you have a well-experienced architect to create the basic layout who can provide you the feedback of the decorative elements.

So, do you have any experience of building a guest house? You can tell your story to us by leaving your comments just to share something good with other people who may think that your information is valuable.


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