Granny Flat or In-Law Suite? Which is More Prudent?

If you need to house aging parents or adult children, or if your family is multi-generational, what’s better — an in-law suite or a little granny cottage in the back yard? Either one give us a call today and let us design build for you.

Our data says you’ll spend less remodeling the basement or adding an in-law suite to your attic. But a USA Today feature suggests you consider building a small house or cottage in the back yard.

For instance, the article notes that in Vancouver, detached cottages or “laneway houses” have become popular: “[Architect James Tuer] … designed several, including one that cost $200,000 and rents for about $1,600 monthly. He says the owners have aging parents who may live there, or they may use it themselves at some point and rent out their main house.”

A Seattle builder is also building backyard cottages in the neighborhood of 800 square feet and at a cost of about $125,000.

Building a second house on your property means a trip through the zoning process versus the much simpler permit process you follow when you remodel existing square footage.

And if you don’t live in a trend-setting metropolis, zoning rules will likely keep you from building a second house on your lot unless you physically attach it to your existing house and put a family member in it rather than a renter. If that’s the case for you, maybe grandpa or the kids can make do with an apartment in the space over the garage.