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Renovate Or Rebuild Your Empty Nest Home To Generate Rental Income

If you own a house in BC, you're sitting on what will soon become a potential goldmine. Provincial legislation that will be introduced in the fall of 2023 will allow your single-family lot to have generally as many as FOUR rental units, and I want to show you how.

You still love your neighbourhood, and you hate the idea and headache of downsizing. That would mean moving away from your friends, and your new shoebox of a home wouldn't have any room for your kids or future grandkids to visit.

The friendly character of many single-family neighbourhoods is being ruined by several single-family lots being combined into one property that becomes a massive apartment building. Although the additional housing is desperately needed in not only Vancouver but across the Lower Mainland and elsewhere in the province, the larger boxy buildings are disconnected from the activities around them.

The "Missing Middle" housing spectrum includes what are sometimes called multiplexes or houseplexes. Since January 2023, the City of Victoria has had a Missing Middle Housing development process for putting row-houses and houseplexes on single-family properties -without rezoning.

Rezoning is a long, complex process in which you apply to the city to change your property's classification from one that allows only a single-family house to one that allows something else - such as an apartment building. You can read more on rezoning in my article "PERMITS, Part 2: Planning and Development". This process requires more documentation, multiple City Council meetings (which happen only once a month), can take a year or more for such a scenario, and which may ultimately leave you with the City rejecting your proposal after you've spent tens of thousands of dollars on fees for various consultants and applications.

The City of Vancouver has distributed its own proposed implementation, and the result will be likely FIVE dwelling units on a 44' wide lot or FOUR dwelling units on a more typical 33' single lot. If you live on a 33' wide lot, you could rent out THREE dwelling units in addition to the one you live in; alternatively, you could rent out all four. Details haven't been confirmed and released, so we'll find out soon. If you do plan to build a multiplex with 5 or more units, you will need to hire an architect. West Vancouver and North Vancouver may follow suit and may also require higher energy efficiency as well, based on their quick adoption of the Energy Step Code.

If your house already has a mortgage helper, you know how helpful the extra money is to pay your bills. I know that you're curious about your options for extra units, but how would you build them? Would you add to your existing house, build a second house in your backyard, or would you demolish your own house and build a new one from scratch? My RED Report™ is a low-cost study to show you what your options are so that you will be able to compare and decide which property redevelopment option is right for you.

The province also suggested a possible loan that could be used to renovate your existing house as long as certain conditions are met, and that loan would be canceled. In addition, a multiplex with at least five dwelling units could be eligible for financial incentives from CMHC through its MLI Select program.

In your eighties, you and your deck chair have got more important things to do than constantly fixing little things that are starting to fall apart or phoning around again for quotes on your third roof replacement since that big hailstorm last winter. You don't want those power bills for running the AC that's keeping you and your tenants alive through the heatwaves to break the bank. If you decide either to renovate or to build a new house, you'll need to consider a high-performance house. If you want to leave something valuable behind for the kids when you're gone, you should consider an ultra high-performance home - what I call the UltraHome™.

You know you're in an ultra high-performance house when you're barefoot in a t-shirt and shorts, resting comfortably in your armchair even though outside it's 30 above or 30 below. It might be hailing, blowing, or snowing outdoors, but you can't hear a thing besides maybe your tea kettle. Your renters will be so comfortable, they wouldn't dream of complaining about anything. Their friends will be so envious that people will be shoving fistfuls of money in your face, begging to rent to them.

When your kids do have their own families, won't you want them to be able to move in? In my article, "HEALTHY HOME DESIGN: A Multigenerational Home Could Be Your Best Retirement Plan", I review how a multigenerational home has many advantages. Having multiple, independent suites under the same roof is probably the best way to get these benefits.

So what's the first step to this very comfortable retirement you've just started to dream of in the past thirty seconds? The first step is a Diagnostic Session with me - a free 30-minute phone call in which you and I figure out whether or not I can help you and if so what the next step needs to be.

If you're not quite itching to make any moves anytime soon, you can still gain some insights from my SAPPHR Strategy Guide (Special Armour Performance Platform for Healthy Resilience) which elaborates on the following six keys to the UltraHome:

  • Healthy - physically and psychologically

  • Peaceful - natural materials, indoors/outdoors connection, lighting, ageing-in-place design, multigenerational planning

  • Armoured - extreme weather resistance, storms, natural disasters, climate resilience

  • Low Impact - sustainable, off-grid capable, renewable energy generation, salvaged materials, green space, natural habitat

  • Durable - long life to last generations, weathering finishes, airtightness

  • Cost-effective - optimized and purposeful design

Your house is still in pretty decent shape, but it's starting to need more work every year. Eventually, the ravage of time or a natural disaster will claim your house unless you rebuild or renovate before then. Discover the secrets to Future-proofing your dream home! Ensure lasting durability and energy efficiency that will stand the test of time and a changing climate.

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