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Granny Pods: The Best Retirement Home



|Last Updated: 26 Jul 2022

Granny Pods: Living Independently At Home Turns into Younger Age. There is a growing trend for old-age housing developments as the country grays.

Some of these communities are so popular that they create new suburbs and cities. Although these developments are designed to be master-planned communities with amenities and activities the residents can enjoy, some concerns have been raised. Are they isolating seniors or displacing their need for friends? Many believe that getting older in place should be an option instead of being forced to move.




Granny pods are a relatively new trend in real estate. They are small homes built in the backyards of family members' homes so that elderly family members can live nearby and have the security of being close to loved ones.

Granny pods are an alternative to traditional nursing homes or assisted living facilities. The idea is to have aging parents or grandparents still live independently yet be close by if they need help. They allow them to maintain their dignity while being near children who can help them with tasks they no longer can do on their own, such as grocery shopping or driving.




Just because you're a senior citizen doesn't mean you have to depend on others. Although many retirees and seniors have a hard time taking care of themselves, many more would rather live independently than live in assisted living facilities.

Granny pods are not just for the elderly either; they can also be used as temporary lodging for an adult child coming home from college or even a place for grandparents to stay when they visit.

Many people love the idea of being close to their aging parents or grandparents but don't want them living in their house. A granny pod can be a compromise that allows you to spend quality time with your loved ones while giving them the independence they desire.


If you are considering buying or building a granny pod for your parents or in-laws, there are certain things you need to know before making this permanent move. The first thing is that you will need to clear it with your homeowner's association (HOA) if you live in a neighborhood that has one. If the HOA allows it, there may be some restrictions on where it can go and how big it can be. You will also need to check with local authorities regarding permits and zoning regulations.


How Much Does a Granny Pod Cost?


Granny pods are generally defined as approximately 400 square feet and include a living area, bathroom, and sleeping area. They can be used by a family member or rented out to tenants. Granny pods vary in cost depending upon what's included with them. 


The upside of purchasing a granny pod is that they are less expensive than building an addition onto your home, especially if you can build the unit on the same property as your home.


Some downsides to consider when purchasing a granny pod include:


  • Granny pods are likely to be built alongside your home, so you should check with your local zoning department to ensure this is allowed.


  • Granny pods must also meet building codes; therefore, you'll need approval from the county or city where you live before moving forward with this project.


  • Granny pods generally take up a large portion of your yard, which may impact your landscaping plans for the future.








1-ADUs can provide extra income in the form of rent.


When a family member needs to move in with you, or you need a place for an elderly parent to live, an ADU is perfect. The person living in your ADU can pay rent or pitch in around the house to help keep costs down. And the extra income from renting out your ADU can be used to pay down debt, save up for a vacation or other big purchase, or take care of everyday expenses.


2-ADUs may add value to your property.


Looking for a way to add value to your property? One of the easiest, most cost-effective ways is to build a granny flat.


Granny flats have become extremely popular in recent years, and for a good reason. They are a great way to house older family members or young adults to have their own space while still being close enough if help is needed.


Granny flats also allow you to increase the value of your property by providing an additional income stream.


3-Granny Flats add more space, such as a workshop or a guest suite.


Accessory Dwelling Units, or ADUs, are also known as secondary units, in-law units, granny flats, or cottages. ADUs are generally developed using an existing garage, attic, basement, portion of the house, or backyard.


ADUs add more space to your home and can serve many purposes. Some people use them to accommodate guests, while others use them as a rental unit to help with their mortgage. ADUs can also be used to house extended family members.


Some homeowners may add an ADU if they need more space for a workshop or studio to pursue their hobbies or side hustles. You can even use your ADU as a makeshift office to get away from distractions at home.




1-An ADU might take up space that otherwise would be used for another purpose.


There are a handful of downsides to building an ADU, though. For one thing, an ADU might take up space that otherwise would be used for another purpose — such as a garage or yard.


Also, the costs of building an ADU can easily outweigh the benefits. Depending on where you live and what kind of structure you want, the cost could vary to build out your ADU. In some cases, you might even have to pay for an architect and other outside help if you need to get a special permit.


2-An ADU that is used as a rental will require maintenance.


Maintenance is a fact of life. Even the most well-built home will require maintenance over time, and an ADU is no different:



If you have a rental, you should be prepared for routine maintenance and repairs to the ADU. A good rule of thumb is to budget 1% value of your home for maintenance and repairs each year. For example, if your home is worth $500,000, you should expect to spend about $5,000 per year for ongoing maintenance and repairs. If you don't anticipate having this money on hand from year to year, perhaps consider creating an escrow account that accumulates interest so that it can be used when needed without impacting other budgets in your life (like vacations!).


3-An ADU costs money to build, may increase property taxes, and utilities will add to monthly expenses.


An ADU costs money to build, may increase property taxes, and utilities will add to monthly expenses.


"That's why it's not necessarily a good idea for everybody," says Michelle Winters, a real estate agent in Portland. "It can be a great investment if you're going to do it right, but if you think you're just going to throw something up quickly, it might not be that profitable."



A city-conducted survey of the Portland area found that owners rent out their space for an average of $1,200 per month. That revenue could cover much of your mortgage payment. But even without a renter, having a separate area on your property could increase your home's value.




Adding an ADU to your property is a lot of work. It is crucial that you know the laws in your area and what sort of permits, if any, you will need before you start planning your project. The first step is to find out if ADUs are allowed.

Many of the laws governing granny pods are related to the type of unit you choose to add to your property. Many communities require a minimum amount of square footage for a property to be considered an ADU, and some do not allow for RV conversions at all.


The laws on adding an ADU to your property vary from state to state and from municipality to municipality. The first thing you should do if you are thinking of adding a granny pod to your property is to research to see if they are allowed in your area.


Zoning regulations


In many communities, zoning regulations will determine whether or not you can build an ADU on your property. These rules can vary widely based on where you live, but most will have specific requirements that must be met before you can begin construction on an ADU.


Building Codes


Although there are many rules about building a structure on your property, the most common concern for homeowners is whether or not they need to get a permit. This cannot be very clear because many people assume that if something is not attached to their home, they do not need a permit. But that is not the case.


In general, any construction project that takes up over 200 square feet will require a permit. That includes detached buildings like granny pods. This means that even if you are just building a detached shed, it would require a permit if it was big enough. However, there are times when you might not need one, so it is important to check with your city's code department before starting construction to avoid fines and delays.




You're in luck! You can build a granny pod on your property if you live in a new development. However, there are some things to keep in mind before starting.


If you live in a new development, covenants may prohibit you from building a granny pod even if zoning and city codes allow such construction. Be sure to check with your neighborhood association if you belong to one, and keep in mind that you will also need permission from the board of your homeowner's association if that applies to you.




The Granny Pod is ideal for people with insufficient space or those who want to downsize and move into a less-costly home. They are a convenient solution for those who wish for the retirement home lifestyle without the "cramped" feeling of rooms so prevalent in the senior community. There are many reasons why these pods are a great choice, from cost to consistency with the rest of your life.


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