Make your home pay

Build a self-contained suite in your home for added income

By Jay Somerset

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Things to consider…

If you’re thinking about renovating or adding a secondary suite, chances are you already know who’s going to occupy it. But even if your plan is to make space for Grandma, consider future uses:

– How old are the expected occupants? If it’s your elderly mother, will stairs be a problem for her in a few years?

– Will your current electrical system handle the extra power required of a two-unit house? Besides upgrading the power supply, you may also consider having another electricity meter installed so that tenants are in charge of their own power.

– How many rooms do you need? Depending on the occupant, you should consider a separate kitchen, bedroom and living room.

– How private do you want to make it? For example, should the windows face onto your backyard, where you spend time with your family?

– Will you share any space? Yes, sharing the bathroom with your mother might be fine for now, but think about future occupants. The same goes with entranceways: should you create a separate side entrance?

– Where will the tenant park? You can’t simply ask the person to park on the street, so consider how the driveway will work.

– How much extra storage space will be required?

– Will you charge rent? If so, check with your insurance company and mortgage lender so there is no confusion over coverage in case of an accident.

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