Can I Convert a Garage Into a Granny Flat?

Granny flats are a great way to up your cash flow and property value. Since it is easier to renovate an existing space than add a new one, it is common to consider turning a garage into a granny flat.

Yes, you can turn a garage into a granny flat if the space doesn’t exceed 60 square metres. Anyone in Australia can have both a primary structure and one granny flat on their property so long as there are no more than one main structure and one granny flat on the lot. Before you begin renovating, you will need to submit your plans to the council for approval.

As with any kind of building, you will need the proper permits. In addition, there are some other things you need to know before you start making your plans for your garage renovation. Keep reading to find out if your granny flat project is the right choice for you!


Granny Flat Regulations

Previously, granny flats were challenging to get approved by the council. Recent years and the desire for more rental properties have made restrictions more lenient. In addition to your granny flat not exceeding 60 square metres, the total for the main house and flat cannot be greater than the approved size for a dwelling on that piece of land. If your lot was only supported for 150 square metres and your current home is 110, you can just add up to a 40 square metre flat.

Another regulation to consider is where the granny flat is located. It must be 3 or more metres from trees and the rear property line. The unit also must remain .9 metres or more from the side boundaries. Whether you are using your garage or expanding, make sure to carefully measure out where your new granny flat will be on the property.

In order to qualify for having a granny flat, a lot has to be at least 450 square metres. Most properties even in subdivisions are more substantial than this. The odds are that if you do have room on your property for a granny flat, then your property is big enough.

One other important consideration is that the property has to be zoned as residential. If your property is commercial, you cannot add a granny flat.


How Much Does It Cost to Turn a Garage into a Granny Flat?

If your property meets all the regulations and you know you are going to turn your garage into a granny flat, then the next thing to consider is cost. Remodelling any part of a home will ring up a bill. An average for converting a garage to a granny flat is $12,000. Of course, this depends on the size of the garage. Below are some expenses to consider.

  • Heating and Cooling – It’s great if you can add the granny flat on to your current heating and cooling system. However, this may not be ideal as you may not always want to be heating and cooling this portion of your home. A single-room heat pump can do the trick. You can expect to spend $500-$2,000 on your heating and cooling.
  • Plumbing – Some garages may already have plumbing for a utility sink. This makes it a little less costly, but either way, expect to put some money into this. You have the sink, toilet, shower, bathroom sink, and maybe even water to the refrigerator. The plumbing can run you $1,500 and up.
  • Electrical – Thankfully, many garages have some electricity. The most significant expense here will be installing outlets. Electrical for converting a garage into a granny flat can cost $100-$500.
  • Cabinets – Cabinets tend to be one of the more expensive parts of a renovation. Since this is a secondary kitchen and bathroom, most people are okay going with the cheaper stock cabinets rather than custom-made cabinets. This will cost at least $2,000.
  • Drywall – The cost for drywall largely depends on whether it is a one-car or two-car garage. If it’s a two-car garage, it would be typical to spend $2,000 plus when including refinishing.
  • Fixtures and Appliances– This can include everything from the sinks and toilets to light fixtures and the refrigerator. Based on the low estimates, $1,800 would cover these costs if you were planning on just a stovetop and smaller refrigerator.
  • Paint – While you don’t have to break the bank on paint, you probably want something other than bare drywall for your guests. $800-$1500 is a fair estimate for the size of a garage granny flat.

What Are Some Uses of My Granny Flat?

Why are granny flats so popular right now? One of the biggest reasons people are building granny flats is for additional income. Rentals are in high demand, and granny flats provide a unique opportunity to earn some extra cash.

A granny flat is also an ideal place for elderly parents who are too old to live on their own but still want independence. If you have family members that visit frequently or adult children, a granny flat is a great way to keep them close while still letting them have privacy.

If you work from home, you might want to have your own little office from which to work. What’s more ideal than having a room for your office and also having a kitchen for lunch and coffee? It is much easier to focus on work if you have a dedicated space used for nothing except your work-from-home job.

Granny flats also add value to homes. If you are thinking of selling, then this might be an excellent way to invest your money and get more for your home.

Maybe you’ve always wanted a man cave or a den? A granny flat is a great place to have your group of friends over for entertaining or watching the game without disturbing the family.

Other Things to Consider

We have looked at regulations, costs of conversion, and uses of the granny flat. But we aren’t done yet! What exactly will add more value to your home for a granny flat? What necessary changes will you have to make for it to work in your lifestyle? Keep reading for the answers!

Floor Plan

This applies especially if you are looking to add home value. Open floor plans are huge, and if your granny flat feels cramped and closed, this might actually detract interest and decrease the value. Being such a small space, make sure you utilize everything you have. Make the kitchen open to the living room and dining area. An open plan will also ensure that more area has access to a commodity in garage spaces: windows.


If you’re using an attached garage, then the driveway running all the way up to the house might look funny. Take about a foot of concrete out and add some flower beds. Even just some tall bushes or leafy plants will make the space look more natural. Plus, the landscaping will help your home look extra sharp.

Storage or Parking

Some people love having a garage to park their car and keep it out of the heat. Other people like the extra storage that comes with having a garage. Whichever one you are, make sure you plan accordingly for what you will now do for the additional parking or extra storage space. Maybe it’s time to organize the shed out back. Or pour some more concrete and add another parking pad.


Enjoy Your New Home Addition!

Once you’ve gone through all the necessary planning and preparation, it’s time to get renovating! Whether you are hosting a long-term parent, an in-town guest, or using your new office space, make sure you enjoy your new granny flat! It was a lot of work, but at the end of the day, it’s worth it. Show us some pictures of your granny flat remodel in the comments below!

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