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Increase the Value of Your Home – and Your Wealth – With a Granny Flat Addition

Increase the Value of Your Home – and Your Wealth – With a Granny Flat Addition

Why a Granny Flat?

The appeal of a granny flat or accessory dwelling unit (ADU) on a property instantly brings an elevated value-add to potential buyers. Not to mention, the opportunities for the space are ample – from guest quarters or rental units to your new work-from-home or fitness and recreation destination. Whether it truly becomes a place for a family member like “Granny” to call home is up to you and the season you are in; however, new 2020 laws have made it easier than ever to increase the value of your home with this addition.

New 2020 California Laws Ease Ordinances

The laws enacted in January of 2020 expanded the ability of Californians to construct a second dwelling in the backyard of their residentially zoned single-family residence. This can either be attached or detached from the primary residence, or by converting a garage. The laws also limit the city’s ability to prevent homeowners from building second and third units that are less than 16 feet tall, given there is at least 4-ft of space between them.

This is a “win-win” as this provides an additional rental unit opportunity for much-needed housing in Southern California. Depending on the area, rental fees could range from $900 – $1400 per month and supplement incomes. (I can share specifics per neighborhood, upon request. Email me for a local zip code survey of estimated rental income.)

How to Navigate San Diego’s Granny Flat Ordinances

If you live in San Diego County, there are a variety of government-led initiatives that support the investment and construction expedition to add this type of dwelling to your property. Here are some key points and resources to consider if interested in adding value with an ADU.

San Diego County’s regulations allow granny flats to be up to 1,200 square feet in size. They can be attached to, or built separate from, full-sized homes on the same parcel and include kitchens, bathrooms, living areas, and private entrances. Of course, a building permit is required before all construction in order to ensure that the new structure meets all state and local zoning, building, health and safety codes.

Looking for inspiration? A great place to start – the City of Encinitas has created a “Permit Ready Program” for inspiration, architectural design and approved floor plans. This great resource includes customizable options to allow for variations in exterior design to express individual owners’ tastes while respect community character.  You can explore them here: https://encinitasca.gov/pradu. Or start the ideation and be inspired by Houzz’s design examples here.

Don’t hesitate to reach out if you’re looking for San Diego listings that include a granny flat or have space available to create one of your own. I’m glad to set up a virtual meeting to discuss market opportunities.


Garret Milligan

A lifelong resident of Rancho Santa Fe, Garret was raised in a family deeply integrated in the historic and vibrant community. Garret developed an affinity for the real estate industry at a young age by observing his mother—one of the community’s most successful real estate agents for more than 30 years—and learning the secrets to becoming a personable, yet results-oriented Realtor. He became the youngest partner in an elite luxury real estate legacy in ‘the Ranch’ in 2012 and quickly honed his skills, developed a vast network of industry resources, and built an impressive list of satisfied clients.

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