How To Add A Guesthouse To Your Home
If you have enough space on your property, the thought of adding a guesthouse has likely crossed your mind. Guesthouses, also known as accessory dwelling units or ADU for short, are distinct housing units often connected to the primary house. Guesthouses feature their own bathrooms and kitchen, meaning one or several people can live in this space separate from those who reside in the main house. However, you cannot simply add a guesthouse to your home without the proper precautions and tending to the legal/tax issues of this addition. Here’s a brief look at what homeowners should know prior to making a financial commitment and commencing guesthouse construction.
Is the Guesthouse Allowed on the Property?
Some homeowners associations and subdivisions do not permit the construction of guesthouses. Your town might permit the construction of a guesthouse yet your unique subdivision might have a rule against such an addition. Be sure to check well ahead of time to ensure you are permitted to add a guesthouse to your property.
How to Build a Guesthouse: Mind the Building and Zoning Laws
Each municipality has its own unique laws pertaining to zoning and building. These laws differ quite significantly from the laws in other towns. Take a close look at your local zoning and building laws before moving forward with a construction project of this magnitude. It might even be possible to convert a garage, shed or even a barn into a guesthouse, ultimately saving you a bundle of money.
Consider the Tax Ramifications of Your Guesthouse
Connect the guesthouse to your home and you will likely pay less in taxes. Furthermore, there are not as many zoning restrictions when the guesthouse is connected to the home. Alternatively, building a guesthouse on your property that does not connect to the primary home has the potential to spike your taxes and complicate the project that much ore with zoning restrictions. Guesthouses also have the potential to hike your property tax bill. Be sure to speak with a property tax specialist to gain a full understand the tax ramifications resulting from the construction of a guesthouse on your land.
Zoning Ordinances and Variances
In some situations, it is simply unfeasible to add a guesthouse to the property. Take a close look at the zoning ordinance. Examine local government requirements for constructing the building. There might be specific conditions mandated by local government for guesthouse construction to be permitted in the first place. It might be necessary to add more on-site parking. There might be limitations as to where the disconnected guesthouse is located. In fact, a detached guesthouse might not be legal in your area.
If you are not lawfully permitted to construct a guesthouse, a variance might be necessary. Variances make this project that much more expensive and complex. In some situations, the request variance is denied. Do not rack up a single penny in project expenses until you are absolutely certain constructing your guesthouse is legal and practical.
The Moral of the Story: Sweat the Small Stuff
Guesthouses require considerable planning. If you do not submit the proper plans, obtain the right permits and adhere to all local government regulations, you run the risk of having your community leaders putting the kibosh on the guesthouse you have long-envisioned. Even subtleties such as standards for sewer connections, water lines and fire safety must also be addressed before work begins. Sweat the small stuff, take your time and it won’t be long until you have a lovely new guesthouse on your property.