The buzz about local laneway homes just keeps growing, and with good reason. In the three short years since Vancouver’s laneway housing bylaw came into being, numerous homeowners are discovering the boons and benefits of having one of these handy structures added to their property.
Laneway homes are commonly being constructed to take up the same footprint as an existing garage, but don’t despair if there isn’t a garage or rear carport area on your Vancouver lot. If you have a lot width of at least 33 feet, there may still be plenty of room on your property to accommodate a terrific laneway home, along with the designated parking space required under the current bylaw.
Laneway Homes: To Rent or Not to Rent?
That is the question and the answer is completely up to you! If you view this as a great investment opportunity, you’re on the right track. A laneway home would be an ideal place for a home stay college student to live in while studying, or great for other relatively short-term renters, such as tourists looking for quiet, self-contained accommodation while they explore and tour Vancouver. You will always have the flexibility of renting to eager tenants who would like to remain on a longer-term basis, as well.
Even if you don’t initially plan to rent your laneway home, additional living space is always welcome for most families. Think of the possibilities: a great guesthouse or in-law suite, for starters. Privacy and self-sufficiency while still being nearby gives everyone involved the absolute best of both worlds.
Popularity of Laneway Homes is on the Rise
The drive for eco-density and sustainable housing options will only continue to increase. The Vancouver Heritage Foundation notes that the laneway homes on their tour “best showcase their practical use of limited square footage while maximizing style, economy and green living” and add that these “small homes have become popular among those dealing with the challenges of affordability. With rising housing costs, the laneway house has become a popular alternative for urban couples looking to move out of parents’ basements or high-rise rentals.” (The Vancouver Sun, Oct 05/12)
Most regular sized Vancouver lots can accommodate laneway homes up to 500 square feet, and the vast majority of the city’s lots in the RS-1 and RS-5 single family areas that qualify. Many homeowners think that laneway homes must only be added to a lot where there is already an existing house, but that’s not the case. If a brand new house is being constructed, an accompanying laneway home can be erected as well, as part of the same building project. Bear in mind that even if this is the case, laneway homes do require their own separate electrical meters.
Leave Laneway Homes in the Hands of Custom Home Builders
You want your laneway home to be good-looking and unique. You also want to be completely sure from the outset that it will comply in every way with all municipal rules and guidelines set out by the city. Naturally, there are very specific allowances for things such as overall square footage, number of storeys, minimum lot width, zoning and plenty more. Who will have a better handle on the regulations and necessary permits governing the building of laneway homes than an experienced and reputable Vancouver custom home builder?
Put your finger on the pulse of Vancouver laneway homes and pick up on this vital new trend in convenient, attractive and affordable urban housing. It’s a great alternative for owners, buyers, and renters alike. Don’t delay in contacting an innovative Vancouver custom home builder for the up-to-the-minute scoop on and inspiring design ideas for this economical and versatile new housing option!
Doug Kerr is the owner of Kerr Construction in Vancouver. With over 25 years of experience in the renovation and new home construction business, he has developed the Kerr System for designing and building. With this Design/Build system he has helped hundreds of clients achieve their dream homes while also winning multiple national and provincial building and renovations awards. Being a former world-class athlete on the Canadian National Ski Team, he has the determination and work-ethic to achieve any goals set. He subscribes to core values which include helping people, honesty, growth and excellence. Using these values throughout Kerr Construction, he is able to deliver top-quality completed projects for the clients.
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