Some Frequently Asked Questions:
A Backyard Cottage is a small, detached residential structure that shares the same lot as a single-family home. A Backyard Cottage is self-contained, having its own kitchen, bathroom, & bedroom, and physically separate from an owners primary home. Backyard Cottages are typically limited in size to no more than 800 square feet of finished living space. Backyard Cottages have also been called ‘Detached Accessory Dwelling Units, Granny Flats, Mother-in-Law, & Carriage Houses’.
Backyard Cottages provide another type of housing that complements a community’s range of single-family housing options. A Backyard Cottage provides a smaller-scale housing choice for a family’s young adult or elderly family members, for flexible home-office or guest space, and may also be used as a rental, providing homeowners additional income. Backyard Cottages are a more affordable housing choice, help to reduce sprawl, and help climate change.
There are a number of cities in Western Washington that allow Backyard Cottages. These include: Bothell, Clyde Hill, Woodinville, Yarrow Point, Lake Forest Park, Kirkland, Issaquah, Mercer Island, Shoreline, Newcastle, Redmond, Kenmore (lots > 10,000 SF), Sammamish (lots >10,000 SF), Bellevue (lots > 13,500 SF) and NOW SEATTLE!
Costs can vary greatly depending on site conditions and decisions regarding the complexity of building design & level of interior finishes. For a modest Backyard Cottage, homeowners could consider a price range from $100,000 to $175,000. This price presumes a homeowner already owns a primary residence on a lot that can accomodate a Backyard Cottage and does not include the price of land, city permits & fees, utility meters or hookups - merely the basic costs to build the structure on a homeowner's site.
Backyard Cottages provide a number of cost-effective benefits to communities including new housing options for multi-generational housing and a housing option for aging-in-place lifestyles. As Backyard Cottages are small-scale in nature, they are more compatible to other already-built homes in single family neighborhoods.
The addition of a Backyard Cottage can increase the current and resale value of a homeowner’s property. A Backyard Cottage is attractive as a rental unit or ‘guest house’. If the construction of a Backyard Cottage is financed through a mortgage on the property, the interest payments and some closing costs might provide a tax deductible benefit to the homeowner. Backyard Cottages can provide homeowners extra income from a rental that helps to meet mortgage and maintenance costs. Homeowners living on fixed incomes may find additional rental income helpful, allowing them to stay in their homes.
The Cottage Company is an expert in creating small-scale, beautifully designed and detailed cottages. We are a development company committed to innovative housing choices and have long embraced Backyard Cottages! We are a full-service development firm & licensed general contractor, and can assist in a range of areas including: initial site feasibility, permits & entitlement, budgets & planning, design development, as well as general construction. If you are a homeowner with a property in a city that permits Backyard Cottages, please call for more information and to get started! 206-525-0835 or email@example.com.
The City of Seattle has developed a comprehensive 'Guide to Building a Backyard Cottage' now applicable in all single-family neighborhoods. This technical guide is intended to assist homeowners in building a Backyard Cottage.
Click here to download a printable pdf.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and to see if a Backyard Cottage may be possible on your property.