If you’re one of the smart Aussies switching to smarter living, you’re in good company. Everyone’s doing it. It’s a natural response to the million-dollar medians and mega-wealthy investors cramping the market. It’s a sad truth, but regular homes are just too expensive for many people and moving into a granny flat is the only way out.
Granny flats are almost ten times cheaper than a full-size home, and cleaning them is a breeze by comparison. Before making the ‘little’ switch yourself, you’ll need to prep up. Careful planning can be the difference between a smooth, easy move and a potentially disastrous one. So, here are five essential tips to check-off before moving into a granny flat.
Choose the right place
The market is flooded with granny flats, so make sure you choose the right one for you and your family. Your options range from stylish fortress to outdated garden shed, with most being somewhere in between. If the price isn’t right, then neither is the place. If you can’t cover the rent long-term, consider a more affordable option or you’ll be planning for another move soon enough.
Make sure the place is future-proof as well. That means an extra space in the driveway for your new car, or enough room to start a family if it’s on the agenda. It’s nice to know the options are there.
Another thing to consider is your landlord. You’ll need to be able to co-exist and share a backyard with them, so keep things friendly and ask plenty of questions before moving in.
The only way to get it perfect is to build your own granny flat. Nothing else compares to that new home smell, and the greeting of a stylish interior shining for the first time. It’s truly your home. You can find some stunning designs at RESCON Builders. They’ve become the go-to for granny flats in NSW, so check out their concepts if you’re short on ideas.
Make it official
If you’re renting a granny flat (in a state that allows it), you’ll need a signed, written agreement with your landlord. Make sure you’ve got one as soon as you move in.
It’s nice to expect things to run smoothly but rental agreements fall apart often, and the resolution can take months (or years) of messy legal battles. It’s not worth the risk. The only way to protect yourself is to have a formal agreement in writing. Don’t settle for honorary handshakes or a verbal contract. They won’t hold up if things go downhill.
Your rental agreement should include the date you move in, terms of the rent, as well as any entitlements you were promised (such as a parking spot). Read up on your entitlements and responsibilities at Tenants NSW.
Prioritise your furniture
Living in a granny flat can feel like an artform at first. It’s easy to feel cluttered if you’re transitioning from a full-size home, so you’ll need to learn the craft of small-space living.
Smart storage and design hacks are a great way to free up space, but the best way forward is by decluttering. You probably won’t be able to take your collection of horded gifts and antiques with you.
An easy trick is to make a list of everything you need in order of priority. Start with the essentials like your bed, clothes, and beloved coffee machine, all the way down to the unused china sets you’ve been storing.
Then load everything into you granny flat in the order on your list until you’re out of space. Keep your list handy though, as you’ll probably need to refer to it down the line.
If you’re having trouble letting go of some things, talk to us about storing them instead. Grace can help you fit into your new home without giving up your old memories.
Update your address
This one seems obvious, but if you’ve ever lived in a rental home it’s shocking how much old mail you keep getting. With all the excitement around moving, this usually gets overlooked, so make sure you cross it off early.
Start by lodging a change of address form with the RMS (if you’re in NSW), or VicRoads (in Vic). Make sure all your bills and mail go to your new address too, especially private documents like bank statements or medical records.
It’s important to remember that living in a granny flat usually means you’ll have the same address as the property owner. If you don’t want to share a mailing address with them, you’ll have to use a P.O box instead.
If you’re worried about mail getting delivered to your old address, talk to your previous landlord about having it forwarded. Also remember to tell your friends and family where you’ve gone in case they need to find you.
Get to know your new area
The worst part about moving is having to face the unknown, but you can take the sting out by scouting your new area first. Don’t just dive in from scratch without knowing the inside nuance of where you’re going.
Do some simple research. Check out any local forums or news outlets to find out about what’s going on, such as community events or new legislations. Your landlord is also a great source of insider information, so feel free to ask them.
If you want to find like-minded people nearby, you can use an online community board such as Meetup. It lets you join local activity groups you’re interested in, such as movie lovers, yoga classes, food groups etc. You could even find fellow granny flat dwellers – just be warned that some people are obsessively passionate when talking about their mini sanctums.
It’s also a good idea to save the details of any nearby businesses you might need. It helps to know the nearest place for late-night take-out or emergency shopping.
Dom Penava is a content developer and copywriter for RESCON Builders, as well as a renowned lover of smarter living. The team at RESCON builds granny flats for like-minded Aussies looking for their dream home or investment.