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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
my in-laws are like minded people. that said, the father-in-law prefers not to stay in our home when they visit. he's a private, somewhat anti-social man.

so... we want to build a small guest house on the 10 acre property we purchased. the main house should begin construction this month. it will be done by a hired General contractor.

wife and I want to build the guest house ourselves.

mother in law visits us about 3 or 4 times a year. both parents come to visit us together about once a year. usually each visit is about 3 days.

all the rest of the year, we will try to use the house as a vacation rental. though we are not in a vacation hot spot, I think it's out-of-city location and horse friendly acreage will attract people who want to experience country life for a few days, and also those who travel with horses around the country.

what size house would you reccomend for the above stated uses?

what general layout and amenities?

what would attract you if you were passing through "any-town america" and needed a peaceful place to stay for a few nights?

what would you think a city-dweller looking to experience the country weekend life would want in a rental?
 

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A 30' RV with slide outs.
Family coming to visit would have the luxury of their own bedroom, bathroom/shower, kitchen, tv, etc.
No construction needed other than a 30 or 50 amp sub panel and possibly a tie in to the septic.
Renting it out makes it a tax write off that you can hook up and take with you on your own vacations.

What would I want if I was a city mouse wanting an in the sticks experience? Local good mom and pop eateries, gift/tourist stops, maybe a state park, local entertainment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
A 30' RV with slide outs.
Family coming to visit would have the luxury of their own bedroom, bathroom/shower, kitchen, tv, etc.
No construction needed other than a 30 or 50 amp sub panel and possibly a tie in to the septic.
Renting it out makes it a tax write off that you can hook up and take with you on your own vacations.


as for the amenities what would I want if I was a cit Local good mom and pop eateries, gift/tourist stops, maybe a state park, local entertainment.
suggestion appreciated, but we don't RV ourselves, as fuel and maintenance cost outweighs the perceived savings.

plus, we are married to our homestead. we really can't vacation away from it. plus we prefer the homestead to all the crazy that is in your key vacation locations.

we also don't really do depreciating "investments". homes or living quarters with wheels or engines don't hold value and degrade faster.

we are strictly foundation and stick build in our homestead and investment properties.

the guest house will have its own septic system, and solar electrical system. it will likely have a cistern for water supply, filled when needed, from our well.

as for the amenities we were asking about, we were referring to the inside/outside of the house itself. the other things (food, parks, shopping) are up to them to find, and there are several options in our area.
 

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You should put in at least a 20' by 30' building but 30' by 30' would be better. 2 bedrooms, large bath with handicap access, kitchen/dinette area, family/game room. A screen porch would be icing on the cake.
 

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Look at Shed to House info, or you tube videos, lots of ideas, and if you build your own “shed” all the better if small is what you want.
Private patio or covered deck with a grill for guests.
Indoors, plenty of seating, I never understood hotel rooms with two beds and only one chair…
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
for reference, I once lived in a mother-in-law house. so this is the baseline of my thought and comparison.

it was maybe 15' × 15'. had one bedroom, a small "living room" a basic kitchen and a bathroom with a standing shower (no tub).

the living room was probably 8'×9' the kitchen. comprised another 6' behind my sofa. there was enough space for a drop leaf round table behind the sofa, an apartment size (14sqft?) refrigerator and an apartment sized gas range/oven. also a kitchen sink and a bit of counter space.

bedroom was probably 6'×9' and the bathroom another 6×6 or so.

some space allocated to water heater, and there was a small closet in bedroom.

I lived there, quite well for 3 years.

not saying that I want to rebuild that house, but my point is I lived there for 3 years, and was Content.

I do think anything for two adults (in-laws) should be a bit bigger. and a vacationer is not going to want to vacation in a utility closet.

that said, small is still my idea. just not too small. looking for the goldilocks cottage, here.
 

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I’m at work, so no time to read the replies yet.
I own a couple Air B&B’s. I would not go any bigger than what is needed to keep the in-laws happy while there.
Big house = Big house to clean every time it rents out. Big house also tends to draw people looking for a place to have a “party”. Small houses draw couples , maybe with a kid or two sprinkled in.
 

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I’d go with 16’ x 24’. Big enough for kitchen area, full sized bath and sleeping living area. Be sure plumbing can be easily and thoroughly drained during winter months when not in use.
 

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It depends on how aggressively you want to pursue b&b rental. 2 bedrooms will be a larger market than a one bedroom. But even if you decide you want to cater to couples only, I don’t think I would go much smaller than 500 sq ft.

if people wanted to stay in 200 sq ft., they would rent a motel room, or already be in RVs. For sure they are more likely to be there for a single night rather than a 3 day weekend.

I think there is a market for low impact agri-tourism places, so your solar set-up would suit that. The challenge is whether your solar array can support A/C. If not, some ceiling fans and large screened windows positioned for cross-breeze would be key. I think a large, tiled walk-in shower is key. You don’t necessarily need a tub, but dont get one of those tin can shower stalls. Something that is both accessible and not claustrophobic for the wide bodies is appreciated.

actually, the earlier comment by Kmac is on point. Building something accessible from the jump won’t cost more, and it gives you a marketing advantage. My wife used a scooter while she was waiting on her hip replacement, and trying to find vacation accommodations was a whole thing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Don't borrow money to build it, pay cash as you go. It may take a couple of years to finish, but you won't be paying a mortgage for twenty years.
we are 100% debt free since may 2019.

we own our current home, outright.

we don't do superfluous debt.

we will build this with cash, with our own hands.

we will have a small mortgage on the new, main home we are building. about $50,000 to $60,000 and it should be paid off in about 7 years. the homestead total worth will be around $300,000 when construction is finished, so $60,000 of "good" mortgage debt is an exception we will make to our debt-free life, since we feel strongly about getting out of the city, and having independence.
 

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Please make sure it is handicapped accessible. Larger doors. Open concept. Bedroom and bathroom large enough for a wheelchair.
I just sold one of my Air B&B’s this week. We had so many complaints about the stairs in that old house it got frustrating, even though it was clearly spelled out in the listing, along with a picture of the stairs.
The house I’m renovating is going to be handicap accessible since I had it gutted anyway. Wide hall and doorways. Ramp to front door, handicap door with no threshold to go over, ect. I figured it doesn’t really cost much more to do this if building from scratch, and we will get visitors that can’t stay at non handicap accessible places.
 

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I'd shoot for something around 900 - 1,100 SF, two bedrooms, a full bath w/ shower, small mechanical room, decent sized kitchen and a large central living, dining area, plus a covered porch. Simple stud wall construction on a slab would be easy to DIY plus economical. A good way to heat / cool the building would be a thru wall electric "motel type" combo unit, no ductwork required and very simple. Keep the building all electric so you don't have to run multiple utility sources. A woodstove would make nice supplemental heat.
 

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@Solar_Toad, one thing to keep in mind, AirBnb has changed their dynamic from one that supports the host to one that supports the renter. As they say in the STR (short term rental) business, as Airbnb goes, so do the rest of them.

To get noticed, you will have to have that pop to be listed on the first page now. Doesnt matter if you are a superhost or not now. Dont matter if you have 4.9 stars either. Look into that first and figure out which angle you want to pinpoint. If it's an old farmhouse, then make it look like one. Doesn't need to be that big either. Ample bathroom, closets and kitchen will go a long way. Gone are the days of just renting out anything you can buy. You will have to pop. Good news is, you could make 50k a year (each) with that pop if you take care of those renters like they are royalty.

Look up Avery Carl on the net. She is the no nonsense, go-to authority on STRs. She gives her info for free too. She is also self-taught from years of experience.
 
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