Getting Started: What a Great Opportunity!Why Build a Laneway House?
So you've owned your house for a while and have enjoyed your garden and yard, perhaps with a garage for parking shiny vehicles, and a space that may be at times a workshop or extra storage. But so much more is possible...
Spurred on by a citizen initiative as part of the overall ecodensity strategy, it is now possible to build a completely new and separate residence (with it's own address and mailbox!) on that part of your existing lot. And you save the hassle and expense of purchasing additional land, transfer fees and other related expenses.
There really are so many great reasons to build a Lane or Coach House:
- Extra income and immediate cashflow from short or long term rentals
- You want your children to live in the city
- A retirement residence for yourself
- Enhancement of city laneways
- Sustainable development and preservation of existing neighbourhoods
- Office or small business space, subject to zoning rules
- Bookending of your main house to give it that "estate feel"
Building a Laneway House is one way people can get a great home in the city, that they'd otherwise have to move much further away to afford. They are also a smart investment from a purely business sense. Consider a well-appointed customized laneway house that costs $300,000 to build: With minimal down payment, current costs to finance are usually in the range of $1400 per month. Depending on your location in the city, you would easily be able to rent it out for $2300/month, and even more if it is furnished. If your tenant is a family member, you get the triple benefit of being close to family, having a true sense of privacy and enjoying a cash positive position.
Zoning Bylaws: Do you qualify for a laneway house?
Minimally, your property must be zoned RS-1 or RS-5, and be at least 10 metres (32.8 feet) wide. If your property is in another zone (like RT-10) it may qualify for an "infill house" which is often allowed to be built much larger than a laneway house.
You can check out your property details on the City of Vancouver's VanMap.
The setbacks from the lane and sideyards vary depending on the zoning, so it's worthwhile giving us a call or sending us an email to find out more.
Financing Your Project: Can you afford it? How will you pay for it?
With total project costs for a single-level laneway house on a 33 foot lot starting from approximately $190,000 + taxes you'll want to consider financing through your own bank or through a special laneway financing program offered by several lending institutions. I've recently spoken with mortgage specialists Nab Gill at Prospera Credit Union and Colin Lawrence at Vancity who can help tailor the financing package to your specific needs.