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Downsizing to a Granny Flat: How to Prepare for Small-Scale Living

Downsizing to a Granny Flat: How to Prepare for Small-Scale Living

Nothing screams tiny living more than granny flats: self-contained living spaces that can go as small as 15 square metres. A granny flat was once ideal for families to accommodate aging parents (hence its name), but it has recently boomed in popularity along with the tiny house movement. 

While downsizing sounds great on paper, it’s not a lifestyle that everyone can get used to. Before you start scouting for granny flats for rent, it pays to know if it can offer you an ideal living situation. 

Here, we cover the things you need to prepare before living tiny. 

Get Rid of Unnecessary Clutter

Living small means owning less simply because what you can fit in a 700 square metre home is significantly different from what you can fit in a 20 square metre granny flat. If you have a penchant for hoarding or are a bit of a shopaholic, then it’s time to re-evaluate your lifestyle and learn to let go of what you don’t truly love. 

Take the time to sort through each category of items you own: clothing, furniture, hobby items, and more. Don’t rush things–it sometimes takes a couple of days or weeks of thinking before deciding whether a five-year-old sweater stays in your closet or goes to the donation bag. 

Evaluate the Lifestyle Shift 

It’s important to know that a successful declutter is only half the downsizing journey. Living in granny flats means that you can only own the same small number of things forever. You may have to change major aspects of your lifestyle and decide whether this shift is something you can realistically handle. 

While you don’t necessarily have to be a minimalist to live in a tiny home, you also can’t buy hordes of things without turning your house into a glorified storage unit. Likewise, you won’t have enough space for six spacious rooms dedicated to hobbies and entertainment. 

Granny flats for sale come with dedicated spaces only for the necessities: a small kitchen, a small bedroom or two, and perhaps a living area if you go for a generously-sized loft. So if you believe that you can’t live without more than two rooms for yourself, then you may have to look into full-size housing options instead. 

Try Living in a Tiny Home 

There are plenty of granny flats available for short-term rent, usually for travellers. You’ll be able to find a ton of options on Airbnb–consider renting one over a weekend. Think of it as a paid trial session for tiny living. It’s the best way to really get a feel of what it’s like to cook, clean, work, and sleep in a small relocatable home. 

Secure Land

If you’re looking for a granny flat for rent, then the house will already come mounted onto land, so you don’t have to worry about purchasing foundational space. But if you’re looking to buy a granny flat, the construction company will deliver the home to you–non-inclusive of land. So before you look through granny flat designs and make your mind up about the big move, ensure that you can shell out money to buy land in your city-of-choice.

Learn About Your Financing Options

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the average mortgage on existing dwellings in 2020 was $500,000. In areas like NSW, that value swelled to over $600,000. Tiny homes and granny flats ease the pressure of high housing costs by being a lot more affordable. But as you need to consider the cost of land and other foundational work–such as electrical, plumbing, interior, and more–you may need financing if your existing funds aren’t sufficient. 

Bank financing doesn’t apply to portable homes. Because granny flats are constructed off-site and delivered to you, they don’t qualify for these traditional loans. Third-party lenders are also reluctant to lend money for homes under 50 square metres due to the uncertain resale potential. 

You can opt for tiny home-specific financing to ease the costs of purchasing a new or second-hand flat. 

Reinforce Your Decision

While the tiny home movement is quickly sweeping across Australia, there are still people who believe that going off the traditional route won’t do you any good. You might receive criticism from family and friends who question the longevity and resale value of a granny flat. It’s important to block out the criticism and move forward with living in your dream abode if that’s what you truly want. But it helps to consider a couple of things: 

  • Do you intend to start a large family in the near future? Comfort might be an issue with more than four or five people crammed into a small space. 
  • Do you intend to move away soon? If so, then looking into granny flats for rent may be more beneficial than buying a home you’ll be leaving in a few years. 
  • Do you intend to live with a partner? It’s a good idea to sit down and talk about downsizing together to ensure that both parties are happy with the idea and ready to take the big leap to a small space. 

Finding your happy space is important–and that can mean living in a 15 square metre granny flat or choosing to stay in a full-size home instead. Ultimately, tiny homes aren’t for everyone, so it’s best to be fully prepared before ordering your dream home. 

Ready to downsize to a tiny home? Get in touch with us, and let’s talk about your ideal home!