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Building for home and income

Home and income properties are a popular choice for those seeking a supplementary and versatile income stream, particularly during a challenging economy. Whether a full-time rental or an occasional Airbnb listing, there are many ways to benefit from a house with a little extra space.

In this article, we explore the range of home and income options available in New Zealand and the advantages they bring. If you’re planning to invest in a new home, consider the gains that will come with an annex, self-contained unit, or second dwelling.

What is home and income?

The term ‘home and income’ refers to any primary residence with additional opportunities to generate income. In the eyes of the council authorities, this consists of liveable spaces with a separate entrance and independent amenities from the main house. 

While some people do list a ‘private room’ on sites like Airbnb, these won’t fit into the home and income definition. These are generally limited to short-term visits and guests use the same kitchen, bathrooms, and access-ways as the homeowner. 

By the official definition, home and income dwellings consist of two separate and private living spaces. This can include the following: 

Benefits of home and income properties

If you are looking for a new home or exploring house plans, don’t miss the opportunity to get a second income and add value to your property. These properties are highly sought after, with benefits that can appeal to any prospective homeowner, including the following.  


On top of the steady income, secondary dwellings also offer flexibility. As your needs and circumstances change, you can adapt the extra space to suit you. For example, one month you may like to rent it to holidayers and the next offer a place for your own guests to come and stay. Or, as more people opt to work from home, why not use it as a home office? 

Potential uses for your second dwelling include: 

  • Short-term rentals during your absence.  
  • Independent space for your teenagers or young adults. 
  • A private guesthouse. 
  • Convenient space for ageing parents. 


With a second dwelling on your main residential property, you can easily maintain it and manage the changeovers between guests. It’s also much easier to resolve problems as they arise when you don’t have to travel to another property. Whether it be a tenant requesting a repair, a one-night visitor with questions, or an elderly parent in need of extra care – minimal travel time is essential. This is particularly useful for frequent short-term stays that require cleaning and refreshing between each guest. 


A second dwelling is a perfect way to provide privacy, independence, and solitude from the main home. With its own amenities and separate entrance, a second dwelling is ideal for teenagers, parents, and guests. Individuals can live independently or communally as they see fit without feeling isolated.

Easier financing with banks 

With the demand for home and income properties, banks are much more likely to provide financing for this type of house. If you are building a new home, take this into account when choosing a house plan because it will likely benefit you in the short and long term. If you live in the larger part of the house, banks will lend up to 80 per cent of the loan amount for a home and income house. This allows you to increase the value of your home as well as earn an income and pay off your mortgage faster.

Home and income house plans

If you are considering building a second dwelling or incorporating a private space into your primary home design, there are several options available. 

Self-contained units

A small standalone building will generate a lot of income, be easy to manage, and won’t detract from the appeal of the primary home. These smaller units also lend themselves to being a home office or studio. Use it yourself or rent it out to professionals looking for a local workspace.

New Build Home | 1-bedroom self-contained unitFor inspiration, check out Cottage 1 which is 35 sqm, simple, practical, and fully functional. If you prefer a contemporary style with sleek lines, the Kiwi offers 29.64 sqm with everything your guests need. 

Private downstairs dwelling

If you find an existing property with a basement or downstairs flat, this could be an opportunity for a second dwelling. With some renovations and upgrades, a downstairs space could be a viable way to generate income. However, these spaces do tend to get less sun and are often less accessible. 

To get the best price for your second dwelling, you may be wiser to opt for a Genius Homes prefab that is designed to maximise natural light and functionality. 

Homes with a private annex

Particularly for smaller sections or people wanting to live close to family, a home with an independent annex is ideal. These house plans consist of a primary residential home with an adjoining self-contained wing separated by a wall or garage.  

Kingston 3-bedroom prefab with 1-bedroom annexFor example, our Kingston design is a 3-bedroom home with a private 1-bedroom flat attached. Everything is readily available in that space including a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, and even a separate deck. 

Multi-bedroom houses 

If you have extra space on your property, take the opportunity to build a second house with 2 or 3 bedrooms. Houses with 3 bedrooms are in demand because they are suitable for a range of tenants. From families to students to young professionals, there’s no shortage of prospective tenants. To get started, take a look at the Sefton, Tasman, or Oxford 3 house plans.  

Building with income in mind ensures that you not only have a place to live but provides a great long-term investment. Browse our range of house plans or talk to one of our experts today. We can discuss your options and guide you through the process, making it rewarding, simple, and hassle-free

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