How To Build A Granny Flat – A Step By Step Guide (Ep113)
Ryan: How do you do it so quickly?
Wally: Doing it with all that project management at our large staff, we’ve got our systems
in place. If you’re considering investing in a granny
flat or if you want to learn more about investing using granny flats to increase your rental
yield, then today’s episode is the perfect episode for you. I sit down with Wally Gabriel
from GrannyFlatsSolutions.com.au and we talk step by step exactly the process that you
would have to go through if you decided that you wanted to go ahead and build a granny
flat on your property. We talk about how much it’s going to cost, we talk about the time
lag between each different step, and we talk about the fact that within from start to end
– from the day that you decide to build the granny flat to the day the tenant moves in
can be done in as little as 5 months and for as little as about $100 000.
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opportunity. Now Wally built 80 to 100 granny flats per
year. Not himself, his company does and he has project managers on every single build
that he does. He knows a lot about building granny flats, a lot about the design process
and the approval criteria, and getting the build done, so that’s why I wanted to sit
down and go step by step through exactly how to do it, so you, sitting on your couch or
listening to this podcast in your car or at the gym, can go home and say ‘ok, that’s so
easy – I could that this afternoon, I could do that tomorrow morning, and I could get
that done to increase the rental yield of my property’. Here we go, over to Wally Gabriel
form GrannyFlatsSolutions.com.au. Ryan: Alright, so now let’s go into the
step by step guide to – from day that I’ve decided as a homeowner or an investor that
I’m thinking about investing in a granny flat – what’s the first step that I need to take
now that I’m interested. Is it to visit your website and to talk to you?
Wally: Yeah, an owner casually gives a call first so we can sort of talk to them, find
out exactly what it is they want – what’s their intention, what’s their budget and son.
Everything we do is customized so we want to understand what the client needs first,
so yeah – first this is give us a call. We normally ask for a few documents from them,
these are things like a **sewage** diagram, **one for our planning’s meeting the council**
and so on. **…Geologist** before we go out there just to make sure there are no restriction
or anything that can prevent your building. The next step is that we go out there, assess
the site and come back with some options in terms of what can or can’t be built, pricing
options and so on. Ryan: So every site is going to be different,
so what people can build is going to be different. What are the restrictions that people need
to think about on their side, like I heard your site needs to be at least 450 meters
squared – are there any other constraints that people need to consider if they’re interested
in building granny flats? Wally: Yeah, absolutely. Minimum requirements
are 450 square meters for the property size. If you have a 450 metre squared block it doesn’t
necessarily guarantee you can fit a granny flat, so it is important to have a look at
the site first. But apart from the 450, you need to make sure have a 12 meter frontage,
which is away of the block. You need to assess whether there are any large trees in the backyard.
Generally a tree that’s greater than 6 metres tall, we need to make sure we keep a certain
distance away from it, about 3 metres. So we got to look at trees, we got to look at
whether the site is affected by any bush fire, flooding, heritage, acid sulphite soils – there
are all of these potential hazards that need to be assessed because again that could prevent
you or maybe add a lot more cost to the development that somebody wasn’t expecting.
Ryan: Ok. So how do people go about finding out whether they’ve got these hazards? At
what stage are we looking at that? Wally: We would only ask you for that initially
because that allows us to do what we are to do to make sure if we are dealing with that,
then we want to give our clients the best possible advice. We normally suggest they
go to their local council and can get a 149 application which costs $53 in most councils.
And that report actually outlines each one of ours **crossable** criteria and it says
whether or not the block is affected by it or not. That to me is the first investment
a client should make, that $53 report to council, and that way they would know before they spend
another dollar whether or not the property is going to be possible to build a granny
flat or not. Ryan: Ok. To people get that, do they have
to go in to see their local council or give them a call on the phone, visit their website?
Do you know how to go about that process? Wally: Yes, most councils now have an online
application where you can just download an application form, fill it out. Some, you can
just fill them out online and press send and it goes through, others you have to download
the form and email or fax it. Normally one page form, all they’re asking for is your
details, the property details and that’s pretty much it. It’s pretty straight forward.
Ryan: So it’s a pretty simple form and as you said really cheap – just $50 or just a
little bit over $50. So, we’ve got that form, we’ve provided you with information
– the 149 form and our sewage diagram as well – you then would just talk to us about our
needs and what we want to achieve and what’s our budget – what would then happen after
that? Would it be – you come to the site, inspect it and show us what we could do?
Wally: Yeah, pretty much spot on. We go out there, have look. Just look at all those other
restrictions – where the sewer line runs, whether there are any trees, whether there
are any access issues and so on. From there we’d give you some advice on where we think
the building would sit nicely. We’d then come back, put together a proposal for the clients
based on what they’ve asked us to provide and from there once they’we got that **quote**,
it’s pretty detailed, it’s pretty lenghty **quengly playful**. When you’re building
a house or a granny flat you’re not spending $10, you’re spending a bit of money so you
want to make sure what you’re getting is what you want so. Our **quotes** are quite detailed,
there will be no mistakes in what you’re getting. Ryan: So that first inspection that you do
with the property – does that cost people any money?
Wally: No, not at all. Ryan: Ok so, so far it’s been pretty simple.
All we’ve had to do is get $53 report if we didn’t have it already and then you’re helping
us through every step of the way and you’re helping us understand exactly what we can
fit within our budget, and what our site can offer. So let’s say, ok we’ve spoken to
you, you’ve come and assessed our site, you’ve provided us with a quote of property that
we’re happy with – what are the next steps to going about getting the approval and getting
the property built? Obviously guys, we’re talking about New South Wales here, who has
recently had these restriction on granny flats and become a lot more linear, so for other
states this may not apply. Wally: So the next step is ***happy to go
ahead and start what we call design process where we send surveillance to the property
and surveys comes back to us with all the property details, boundaries levels, neighbouring
properties, easements, all those things which are important for a design. We then get the
clients to fill out a quick check list and terms what it is exactly they want will they
come up with some concepts, sit with a client, make sure they are happy with it. So basically
as I said, because it is custom design, we’re putting in our thoughts plus their thoughts
and try to come up with something that they are happy with ultimately.
Ryan: So just to clarify that initial when you initially visit the site and you do a
quote ,we haven’t gone through design options with the customer yet is that correct?
Wally: We sort of briefly touched on where we think you could treat, what shape might
the building be, how many bedroom, that type of information in you know how many initially.
Ryan: Okay and so then we go through the design process with you in more detail after the
survey is done and what sort of design options would a customer have with a granny flat?
Wally: It really is a limited because as I said what we like to set ourselves a part
where everyone used to say that you don’t have to pick a standard a design. Let us look
at your property, let us design something that we think is going to suit you. We are
basically starting on a blank canvas on every project, you can tell us whether you want
brick whether you want cladding, whether you want toad roof, or coloured one, or carpet
or tiles and really it is endless. All you are limited is with clients budget, it is
just the space. Where we can’t go any larger than 60 square meters so let’s be clever
with our designs as well in terms of putting materials and trying to get maximum exposure
in terms of North and South and things like that. That’s something that we hope that we’d
**** whole process. Ryan: So 60 square meters which is the limitation
for a granny flat, what can we feet in 60 square Meters and is it like a good size property
or is it bit nooky and difficult to live in? Wally: Finding is 60 m2 sounds small and when
you compare it to a normal house it probably is small but when you will actually be quite
surprised. At 60 m2 you’ll feet two decent sized bedrooms with wardrobes, kitchen; I
can play in kitchen, dining, living space, bathroom, laundry. It’s a fully self-compatible
homes so that pretty much that can fit. Ryan: It’s all about being smart with your
design I’m guessing and not taking space where you don’t need space and taking advantage
of open plan living and stuff like that. So it’s exciting to think that you could build
a granny flat that is two bedroom granny flat for around a hundred thousand dollars or just
a little bit more. Let’s say, so we go through the design process with the customer, obviously
that’s going to vary from person to person as to exactly what they want in the property.
Let’s say that we agree on a design with you what’s the next step after that?
Wally: Next step is will they go through that with them make sure that you know it’s still
*** I’m sorry, I”ll take a step back. What would you do in that design process is we
are trying to stick to the brief that they’ve given us initially so that quite we give you
initially and then what it ends up being designed and not *** completely different buildings.
So for example if we *** you on a club building and then *** you to design on which side you
want to get a brick then obviously that is going to affect your price so what we did
before, when the designs is complete will they look back at that price just to make
sure that we are still on budget. We haven’t… your $100,000 budged doesn’t all of a sudden
come 150,000. That’s the first step. Once you are happy with that the price and offer
we then go to the approval stage whereby we are now consulting all the engineers, Prada
certifiers, all the relevant consultants, authorities and so on just to get through
the whole process and get everything approved. Ryan: Yeah so without approval process as
the home owner or the property investor who owns the property is getting this built, is
there anything that we actually need to do? Do we need to go to council and get this stuff
approved or is it is all done through your builder?
Wally: We do actually everything. So it’s all done in house, so we obviously got contact
to engineers and so on. We organize all of that, get all the paperwork done launched
and then basically come back to you at the end of the day with the whole paperwork all
signed and approved and ready to go. Ryan: So if people wanted to do it themselves
and then they have to get in contact with all these different people who could do the
correct surveys and lodge the forms and stuff for the. I guess that’s the benefit of a Granny
flat solution, is that you guys have all the contacts. You do 80 – 100 per year so you
got to have it down pal you got to know what you are doing. So what are we looking at the
time frame for getting the approval process done?
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09 455 604. Wally: So generally from the time a client
accept the proposal and we stop the designing till the point where we hand over the approvals
before we stop building. That process is about six to eight weeks. They used to be the *** order
10 day approval process in New South Wales as of the 22nd February, it was only two weeks
ago. That was scrapped. So it’s still a quick process still the same process bit it’s no
longer a quick ten-day approval. It’s more like when the application is launched, neighbours
have to be notified for 14 days and even after that certify approves up to forty days, we
then got to give them another seven days’ notice before we can start building. That
10-day approval process no longer exists. It is more like, it is more like 3 – 4 week
process for approval and then the design process itself is usually two to four weeks as well.
So depending on how many changes and so people want to make it could be done as quick as
about six weeks from the time they set the proposal till the time everything is stamped
and ready to start building. Ryan: IOK so that’s still… it’s not an extremely
long period of time. Obviously it’s not as good as ten days but it’s a very short period
of time. So our proposal thing goes through, you obviously do that for us and then we get
approval and then building starts. How long… what happens throughout the building process
what should people expect with building site , living on a building site and so forth?
Wally: OK so *** building site *** we’re not building something in a in a factory and shipping
it at site so it is going to be *** ten to twelve weeks. What we do is obviously to try
to minimize disturbance. Again much of our clients are investors so they got tenants
up in the front. We do sort of fence off the backyard of the existing house so if there
are tenants in there they’ve still got access that side. **** the house. We’re creating
sort of a separate access that works out toward the back so we try to minimize the service
as much as possible. We run leads over the fence hoses and everything else, we try not
to impact the tenancies what so ever . It is a whole construction ***your home, you
go to expect there is going to be concrete-slab lead, carpenters on side, all your typical
tradesman and so on. Ryan: Yeah and so the building process from
the day that you start building to the day you finish is about 10 to 12 weeks so you
are looking in around about the three months. So for people who have built their own house
they will know that ten to twelve weeks is actually not that long a period of time to
it get a property built. How do you do it so quickly?
Wally: **doing that with all that project manager and our large staff and everything
else. We’ve got warrant systems in place where before a job starts we’ve got a program for
each project, every tradesman knows when he is going to be needed and it sort of allows
a process just to flow quite smoothly. Ryan: So because you do so many each year
I guess each time you do one you get a little bit better and a little bit faster and so
that allows you I guess to turn them over. Alright so, we go through our building process
and obviously the slide is poured and then we go through a different stages. Now that
the building’s finished what’s the sign of process and how quickly can we get tenants
in? Wally: Generally toward the last week or two
of a construction we start wrapping up everything by doing it following especially to the owners.
Also getting all our paper work documentation waiting till it certifies, doing all of final
inspections. So generally by the time that week 10 or week 12 is done, usually within
a week from there we’ve got all the follow approvals done and occupation certificates
and the owners tend to move in general in about a week of us finishing.
Ryan: OK, the ten to twelve wake period and then you’ve got people moving in I guess the
week after you finish which is quite… again I’m still surprised by just how quickly this
process is completed. Look I think that that provides a great overview for anyone who is
thinking about potentially investing in a granny flat. I know in all aspects of life
sometimes we just get so overwhelmed at the idea that we never go ahead and take the first
step but understanding that if we get in contact with you then obviously you will help us through
every step of the process. We are going to give you a call, you are going to help us
through the design process, you are going to do all that applications for us, if we
don’t have that 149 form we can go to our council and we can get it. And then the build
is going to take ten to twelve weeks and then we can move in or have a tenant in. So the
whole process you are looking at around about five months is that right? From the day I
call you to the day I have a tenant in the property?
Wally: That’s right, as quick as that. Ryan: So for anyone who has been thinking
about doing it, then in New South Wales now is a great time to do it. Is this granny flat
building restricted to Sydney or can we do it in other areas or is a restricted to just
urban areas and not rural areas, what’s the deal?
Wally: Yeah the according to the requirements *** go to be residential zone so although
it’s applicable on all avenue in New South Wales, if you do live in a rural area you
may not be able to do it or you might still be able to do it but you have to get approval
for councils so it would be a longer approval process. Otherwise the areas like the ACT
but different planning requirements that what Sidney does.
Ryan: And I know you specialize in New South Wales but just for those people who are outside
New South Wales, is this something that is still possible for them with just obviously
a longer approval process and more difficulty or is it something that’s not really available
in other states yet? Wally: I believe it’s a Baddow in Queensland
that *** a top of all that just yet and that’s as far as I know. Sorry, Melbourne as well.
Melbourne was always being well before Sidney was doing it, granny flats have been a bit
more traditional in Melbourne than they have been Sydney. More on the eastern side , you’ve
got Queensland ** as wells as Melbourne do allow it but they do have all different requirements
in legislation so check with your council. Ryan: So if you are in New South Wales then
get in contact with Wally by going to GrannyFlatSolutions.com.au and checking him out and then if you’re in
other states maybe just do a Google search to find a granny flat providers. Lastly I
just last want to ask one final question, with a company like yours- someone who specializes
in doing granny flats, what’s the advantage of using your company over say a local builder?
Wally: I guess with our buying power and the fact would have been this is what we specialize
in. And all our consultants and drawings, documentation is pretty spot-on so you know
that from the initial design stage to point when you start building there is no discrepancies.
We do a lot of construction with using other people’s plans which is great, no problem
with that but there have been times when something’s missing it could create some confusion during
building and so on. So at least we ask you you’re picking all your materials, you’re
picking everything from the beginning, there is no grey areas and again part of that fact
is that what we do best, that’s what we specialize in, and the fact that we can do
it in 10 to 12 weeks. We’re not just jumping onto your job and come back to when we’re
ready. You know you got your own designated project manager and you got a contact person
throughout the whole stage in state job to make sure **** time frame. So you know it’s
pretty safe. Ryan: It’s going to be a using the granny
flat company like yours it’s going to be a smooth transition from the design because
you guys do so many lodgements with counsel to get these approves that you know what designs
are going to get approved and what’s not. So throughout the design process the owner
who is getting it built can know that you’ve got the right layout, you’re picking the right
materials. I’m guessing with the limitation at the 60 square foot you know that the layouts
are going to be a great living space as well because without constraint if you get things
wrong you know it could be a difficult property to live in. And then the construction phase
with your own project manager is going to be extremely fast, ten to twelve weeks. Well
thank you so much Wally a for talking us through exactly how to get a granny flat built and
obviously it’s an extremely valuable thing that people can do to increase their rental
income or to turn a negatively geared property into a positive cash flow property. Lastly
are you finding that most people doing this are homeowners or do you find it’s more investors?
Wally: I would say a larger portion are investors, probably about 60/40. 60% reinvests and the
other 40% would be home owners. Ryan: And we talked about in the last episode
if people want to check that out, when getting your property revalued what you’re finding
is that with the bank, you are going to get dollar for dollar for your granny flat. So
getting that property revalued you are going to… if you had to turn around and sell it
tomorrow then you probably going to get a dollar for the dollar that you spent on the
property. So at this point in time we’re not clear whether it actually increases the value
of your property but obviously having that extra rental income for someone who is buying
that property and holding it can be extremely valuable and can pay off from the day someone
moves in. So guys if you want to get in contact with Wally just head over to his website GrannyFlatSolutions.com.au
and Wally thank you so much for having you on and if I get questions and stuff like that
I’ll probably hit you up again so we can talk about this in more detail.
Wally: That would be great. Thank you Ryan! Ryan: Ok, well you enjoy your day!
Wally: Thanks mate, you too, cheers! Ryan: As you can see who is amazingly shocked
and how quick a granny flat can be built, how cheaply it can be built and how easy the
process was. I came into this interview and I didn’t know the process behind getting a
granny flat built so hearing from Wally in hearing from exactly how to do it if I had
a property where I could build a granny flat then I would almost certainly go ahead and
do it because it just sounded so easy. I’m sure it’s not as easy as it sounded but the
good thing is when you get someone like Wally to build it for you, they deal with all the
issues, not you! And so I hope that you enjoyed this. If you want the full transcription of
this episode then go to OnProperty.com.au/113 which is for episode 113 and you can get the
video there, you can get the downloadable podcast or you can get the full transcription
as well. So until tomorrow remember your long-term success is is only achieved one day at a time.
And if you’re building a granny flat by months…