Guesthouse Cost

Last Updated on December 10, 2021 | Written by CPA Alec Pow
First Published on January 11, 2021 | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popivker

Common Range: $45,000 – $100,000.

Building a modular 600-square foot guest house costs around $55,000. Expenses vary from $45,000 to $65,000 due to products, structure authorizations, and installation, however, they can quickly reach costs of $100,000 or more, depending upon the size and where you live.

If you’re preparing to build a custom-made, freestanding guest house, you should be ready to pay anywhere from $100 to $500 per square foot. For a 600 square foot home, this expense will vary from $60,000 to $300,000.

You might also like our articles about the cost to build a house, to rent an apartment, and the price of house framing.

Backyard Guest House, Casita, or Cottage Costs

A 600-square foot backyard guest house, casita, or cottage generally costs $55,000, if going the modular path. For a customized building, you should be ready to pay anywhere between $100 and $500 per square foot. Simply working with a construction supervisor costs on average $21,500; it’s great to keep in mind that 5 to 15 percent of your job costs will go to them.

While the typical expense of a building authorization is $1,200, guest house permits for this job are usually somewhere between $1,200 and $1,500. You should be ready to pay more if you live on the East or West Coast or in a larger city.

Guesthouses are known by many names, such as casitas, guest cottages, studio guest houses, mother-in-law houses, and granny flats.

Garage Guest House Cost

The expense to convert a garage into a guest house is $15,000 to $30,000 at the very least. You should be ready to go well above this cost range if you require a lot of pipes and other work to get the space up to the area building code.

Some individuals add a guest house above their garage. This house addition will cost somewhere between $110 and $120 per square foot.

The Cost to Develop a Guest House Depending on its Size

  • 600-700 square feet – $45,000 – $65,000 for Modular, and $60,000 – $350,000 for Custom Build.
  • 700-800 square feet – $49,000 – $88,000 for Modular, and $70,000 – $400,000 for Custom Build.
  • 800-900 square feet – $56,000 – $99,000 for Modular, and $80,000 – $450,000 for Custom Build.
  • 900-1,000 square feet – $62,000 – $110,000 for Modular, and $90,000 – $500,000 for Custom Build.
  • 1,000+ square feet – $70,000+ for Modular, and $100.000+ for Custom Build.

Something to remember: when professionals work on a custom-made build, they generally go for a square footage minimum or even a range in the preparation process. This is because building licenses usually require minimum square footage, so professionals go over the minimum to better guarantee the approval.

While custom-made builds are far more pricey than modular or prefab guest houses, they last longer. Modular houses tend to have a life span of just 35 years.

Guest House Building Cost

For just the labor and building you’ll pay somewhere between $18,000 and $26,000 for a 600-square foot guest house. About 40% of the expense to develop a house of this type goes towards labor alone.

Do It Yourself Construction of a Guest House vs. Working With a Contractor

Type of GuesthouseArchitects, engineers, and specialists have years of experience and licensing to carry out the complex procedure of developing a house. Unless you’re a specialist, you’re starting to work on an enormously costly and lengthy job.

Just to get authorization you’ll have to prepare a worksite plan and build your own blueprint; this can take professionals weeks to months before they get approval. If you go the Do It Yourself path and have little to no experience, there’s a likelihood the city will decline your plan, hence adding much more time to your job.

Frequently asked questions

How do you build a guest house?

Guesthouses are developed the same way as normal homes unless they’re prefab houses. For prefab or modular homes, it takes less time due to the fact that contractors are basically putting together premade pieces to form a house. Like building a normal home, housebuilders will still have to prepare a structure and get the necessary authorizations.

Can I construct a guest house on my property?
States permit you to develop a guest house on your residential or commercial property, however, each town has different guidelines and building regulations. Some states are more lenient than others for building a structure, however, every building and even renovating requires an authorized license before you get started. Contact a home building contractor near you for more information.

Two circumstances where you may not be able to build on your property are if you live in a historical district or have an HOA. Do some research in your area to learn particular guidelines.

Does a guest house boost the general property value?
Guesthouses can increase the general property value when built appropriately by a certified specialist. Some property owners are able to rent their cottage as a getaway rental and others turn theirs into an accessory residence unit for long-term occupant rental. This gives house owners a pretty fast turn-around of ROI; in some circumstances, the guest house might even pay for itself.

On the flip side, a guest house that’s inadequately made (and even some prefab systems) might really hurt your property value. Prefab or modular houses need routine upkeep to guarantee they last for a long time. If you try to sell your residential or commercial property thirty years from now with a shabby guest house that’s breaking down, it will likely lower your ROI.

Just how much are modular guesthouses?
A 600- to 700-square foot modular guest house will cost somewhere between $45,000 and $65,000 on average. If you up the square footage to 1,000 to 1,200 you should be ready to pay somewhere between $70,000 and $80,000.

Just how much is it to build a mother-in-law house?
A mother-in-law house is another term for a guest house and constructing one from scratch can cost anywhere from $100 to $500 per square foot.

Alec Pow
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