While many local municipalities are modernizing their regulations around secondary suites, there are other factors to consider, such as the age and location of the home, parking and the homeowners’ goals.

Suite deal? 4 questions you MUST ask before renovating

There’s more to adding a suite than building a bedroom in your basement!

With the price of Island real estate continuing at near-record highs and the rental availability at continued lows, it’s no surprise that many homeowners look to suites as a way to address many related concerns.

For some, a suite offers the perfect opportunity for an older parent to age in place with family; for others, independence to a young adult who may be studying at college or embarking on their career.

Recognizing the cost of real estate is prohibitive for many younger buyers, suites can also offer both rental income homeowners and accommodation for renters.

The key to all of that, is a suite that’s built safely and correctly, in the right home, says Blaise McDonald, of MAC Renovations, which has been serving Greater Victoria’s renovation needs for more than 40 years.

So, how do you know if your home is a fit?

Is a suite feasible? While many local municipalities are modernizing their regulations around secondary suites, there are other factors to consider. “We begin with a feasibility study that considers things like the age and location of the home, parking and the homeowners’ goals,” Blaise notes.

For those with larger properties and where local regulations allow, Garden or Laneway suites can be another option that can provide a little more privacy from the main home.

Can the home accommodate those goals? The fact is, while many older homes have undeveloped basements that could provide valuable livable space, but outdated heating, plumbing and drainage systems can make accommodating a suite prohibitive for some, explains MAC Reno founder Ed McDonald. “The older the home, typically the larger budget you need to upgrade.”

And building a suite cheaply, without considering issues like electrical load, waste water capacity or waterproofing, can bring far more expensive issues down the road.

“These are things that heavily affect the budget, though they’re not visually apparent. While a well-designed renovation can add to the enjoyment and value of your home, a poorly planned and built renovation can adversely affect the value of your home,” Ed notes.

What is the home’s heating and cooling capacity? An existing furnace and ducting system is likely designed to heat the home’s current size and layout. Changing or expanding that can cause issues if the system lacks capacity, meaning you might need to modernize your heating and cooling system when you renovate, Blaise notes.

What kind of soundproofing do you need? While soundproofing may seem last on the list, it’s actually one of the most crucial considerations – doing it badly can seriously impact your enjoyment of your home, whether you’re adding space for teens or tenants! “Think about the end use of the space, and how you want to enjoy your home.”

Questions about renovating your home? Visit macreno.com or call today at 250-384-6091.

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Building a suite cheaply, without considering issues like electrical load, waste water capacity or waterproofing, can bring far more expensive issues down the road, say the pros at MAC Renovations.

Ed and Blaise McDonald, of MAC Renovations, which has been serving Greater Victoria’s renovation needs for 40 years.

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