From Vet Surgery to Granny Flat

OK, Its taken me years to come back to the forum and months to upload my reno photos. Here we go:

Bought our PPOR in Dec08. Much too big for our needs but the thing that convinced us was the huge ex-Veterinary surgery attached to the side. Easily convertible to a 2br Granny Flat. (Not so easy after all). Planning started even before settlement with some drawings & plans scratched out in MS Visio. Planning approval and permits took about two months. Demolitions, new walls and new plumbing in March. Kitchen & bathroom fitouts in April/May. Undertile heating and wall / floor tiling caused some delays and not completed till July. Painting & carpeting completed August '09. Rented Sep '09. Sure, most of the delays were caused by me wanting to play handyman and holding up the tradies but I saved a stack of $$$. Kitchen was bought from Magnet Mart and assembled on weekends and after work. Paving nearly killed me and I wont do it again. Ditto for the screen fencing. But The result is pretty awesome I think.

In the end it wasn't as easy as I thought, but it sure was worth it. The way I see it I have about 1 quarter of the floor space in the house paying for 2 thirds of my mortgage. I'm pretty rapt. Check out the photos in the Gallery.


great job!

That is just FANTASTIC!
Could I ask what size is the granny flat? It looks HUGE...
Also, what was the cost for the reno?
Again, excellent work, and now you can move on the the next one :eek::)
Nice work on the granny flat.

just wondering what the dimensions of the rooms of the house are like (including kitchen and bathroom).
Granny Flat

Thanks everyone,

Give me a day or so to work out my new multi-copier-scanner-coffee maker-printer-rocketship thingy and I'll post some plans. In the meantime here's some stats:

House is 2 storey with approx 240 sqm (4br plus rumpus) left for us to live in (more than enough). Granny Flat is an extra 52sqm. I used wide angle on he photos thats why it looks huge. Its not. Reno costs were $75k (plus the original purchase costs when we bought the house obviously). Qty Surveyor has apportioned the granny flat as a certain % of the cost of the purchase. Getting $350pw. So for it to be a fairly normal investment by comparison to the rest of the world it (the granny flat that is) would have to have cost me about $350k ($75k renos + $275 original purchase cost) give or take a goats hair. Rest assured that the purchase cost as assessed by the surveyor was not even half of $275) so on a rental return basis its a GREAT investment. On a depreciation basis only the renos are looking good, the initial cost part would have been nicer to be valued higher, but hey you cant have both.

But thats why I say that less than 1/4 of the floor space of the property is now paying for over 2/3 of my mortgage.

The work that I did was the demolition of existing walls, exterior paving (Back breaking), Screen fencing, Kitchen (including a stone look benchtop using polished porcelain floor tiles), irrigation system and minor landscaping. I was going to paint also but time was getting on and weekends alone weren't enough to move things along so for $3000 I bit the bullet and paid a guy to do it in 3 days.

The best thing about this project (besides the great income it now brings), is that in dealing with the planning authorities, builders, plumbers, sparkies etc I now have an itch to move onto something bigger. Maybe a dual occ on an older and large Canberra lot. If things go well, who knows, but in the long term the thought of buying say 3 or 4 lots together to put 8 or 10 townhouses does appeal. I need to learn lots still though.

Floor plans coming.
Plans are up

I've just uploaded three images of plans for the Granny flat. I'm not sure how to connect this message to the photos though. Can you make a link for people to click on? Otherwise its just three images in the huge melting pot of images.


Hey Pedro,

That is very impressive.

If I read your post correctly your original purchase price for the property was $275K?

If you dont mind me asking which suburb is the property in?

Thanks Joshyboy, I guess its just a question of pasting the url when you are looking at the image.


I guess was trying to keep some confidential info back, but what the hell - here goes:

The Property purchase price was $600k. Loan was (is) $510k Stamp duty about $29k from memory. My renos $75k. Thats an almost $710k outlay.

My current mortgage at 5.79% is $2460 per month (Int Only)
Rent received is $350 pw ($1500 per month)
I reckon the rent will probably be pushing $400 in the next couple of years.

I cant be happier.

My accountant has a hell of a mess to sort out next week when I go see him with this arrangement but I'm hopeful of a good result. Most of the renos were completed before Jun30 (but unit not rented til Sep09) so I can claim the capital costs now but not pay any tax on the income til next year. I think I'm in for a good return this year.


I've seen Pedro's place, and I was really impressed. He's done a great job- best of all was the lateral thinking to see what was possible.

Just so that the pix are shown on the thread;

Hi Pedro

Great work with an impressive result.

You mention 'authorities' so I assume that the right approvals were sought. As such how did you go with fire rating this granny flat? What extra work did you need to do? Also what sound proofing did you use to ensure that noise is isolated?

Now that you have had tenants in place since Sep 09 has there been any impact +/- by coexisting?

Found those drawings. Visio is awesome isnt it.

Are you able to supply dimensions? Im trying to design a granny flat too, but the 60sqm rule is a pain, so im trying to optimise space where possible.
Hi HandyAndy,

The authorities were the ACT Planning and Land Authority - ACTPLA (Read council here). They initially didn't like the idea of a granny flat and spoke using words such as "separate title", and "dual occupancy". When they showed me the forms I needed to fill in to lodge a Development Application, I was ready to get the box trailer to carry them all home.

A DA was not something I wanted to consider to be honest. I then continued to speak to builders and came across one who put me in touch with a draftsman here in the ACT. Between the two of them, they basically confirmed my belief that a DA was a massive overkill for the project I had in mind. Basically they got the job. The draftsman is a guy who deals with ACTPLA all the time. He managed to convince them that in fact it was not a Granny Flat, but an "attached entertaining area", and that its purpose was as a "getaway" for me and my wife.

See the second of the attached drawings. The yellow area is now the Flat. The open doors from the study and laundry into the rest of the house implies that it is one dwelling. Well naturally these are now plastered over (see the next image). The builder knows the inspectors well, so at the final inspection, they had some friendly words, and the occupancy certificate was signed.

Wether I have broken the law or not I'm not sure. But my dad always said that it was very difficult for councils to knock down something once it was built, and my now divorced mate once said that it was easier to ask for forgiveness than permission (she never forgave him).

What the hell do I know, except that my granny flat has taken a huge burden off my shoulders.

Nothing was ever mentioned about fire rating. Sound proofing is just standard plasterboard over stud walls with Rockwool inside the timber, Works fine for the time being. We're pretty quiet aND SO ARE THE CURRENT TENANTS. (BLOODY cAPS LOCK :mad:) But I have the option of putting in a double layer of wall with more studs, rockwool and plaster if it all gets too much.

Other than that its all been smooth sailing.

NeK - Check out these drawings. My granny flat is about 48.5 sqm.
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A fire rating would have been required for a separate title. One of those does require extra paperwork and cost, and there are not many places in the ACT where it can be done anyway.

But what it does do is give the ability to sell the unit separtely from the house. Plus add value to the property.

I went through the process with one of my properties (dual occ on one title already existed from before rule changes), so it took about $5K to do. But added $50K to the value of the property.

The way you have done it is fine. The only problem may be that it would be a little more difficult to sell than a normal house.

Which if you're into buy and hold would not be a problem.

And the cashflow will help you hugely with servicability.