One of the features of a more expensive home in Carlsbad and surrounding communities is a casita.
A casita is generally defined as a small house or guest house. In this area of Southern California they generally are attached to the main home and consist of a large bedroom, often with a sitting area, and a bathroom. Sometimes, however, they are detached. Casitas are used for guests, as an additional bedroom for older kids, or often as an office, studio or game room. They typically have a separate entrance but in some cases may also have an entrance directly into the main home (casita shown lower left, on left side of photo).
Casitas seem to have become particularly popular with the larger new construction homesin subdivisions like La Costa Greens, La Costa Ridge or Emerald Pointe (several of the floor plans include a casita either as a standard offering or an option; these homes tend to be priced in the $1.2 - $1.7 million range), and generally are accessed off the entrance courtyard to the home. While they can work well as bedrooms for guests, they offer additional private space that may fulfill a variety of purposes for the family.
When the guest quarters are larger they generally are referred to as a guest house, and these may be simple, with one bedroom, a bath, and a galley kitchen, or much more elaborate, rather akin to a small house of 1500 - 2500 SF with several bedrooms, a kitchen ,living room and several baths on larger estates. In more cases than not these are separate dwellings and are fairly common in affluent communities like Rancho Santa Fe. Some estates offer 2 guest houses.
When a casita or other ancillary space includes a kitchen and dining area, or perhaps a combo living and bedroom area, you will often see the term "granny flat" used(I don't care for this localism personally), as long as there is a separate entrance. Back in New England the common term for this sort of extra space was "in-law suite."
Buyers should carefully review the MLS listings, as it seems to be common practice to include the casita bedroom as one of the total bedrooms listed (i.e., a 4 bedroom home may have 3 bedrooms in the main house and a casita), and for some families this sort of living arrangement, depending on the number of children, may not be adequate or suitable.
You will also want to check to see if the square footage of the casita is included in the stated size of the home; it may or may not be, especially if it is detached. If the square footage is important you will want to do your due diligence and verify this information.
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JEFF DOWLER, ABR, CRS, e-PRO, SRES, Ph.D., REALTOR
RE/MAX Associates - Encinitas (760) 840-1360 direct or text