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Here is a great, easy to understand Guide on Building Laneway Houses in Vancouver:


Laneway Housing How To Guide 

 

Like main houses, laneway houses must be located in a defined portion of a lot and are subject to regulations regarding zoning (only RS-1 and RS-5 are allowed), setbacks, fire access, lane access, size, height, parking and tree protection. Together, these siting and design regulations provide a basic template for laneway house design. 

 

Like many developments in Vancouver, the application process can be long, but laneway houses are becoming

much more common. In order to apply for the approval from the city, you have to do your due diligence beforehand.

 

A very brief outline of the steps involved are:  

 

1. Site Servicing Research: Investigating costs and requirements for sewer, water, electrical and gas. 

2. Pre-Application Review: Submit a site survey and other plans for Engineering, Design and Landscaping. 

3. Application Process: Submit your permit application with all related approvals (i.e. Homeowner Protection, etc.)

 

Note that this research, and the application itself can be quite costly before any building is actually done. Other costs include architects, builders, materials, furnishings, unexpected delays and more.

 

The attached Laneway House Guide features more in depth information on the requirements, resources, as well as some good examples for 33 and 50 foot lots. 

 

If you have any other questions about laneway houses or specific neighbourhoods, feel free to contact me ben@benchimes.com.


You can find some other guidelines here: 

 

Laneway Housing Zoning Regulations: http://www.vancouver.ca/commsvcs/BYLAWS/zoning/sec11.pdf

RS-1 & RS-5 District Zoning Regulations: 

http://vancouver.ca/commsvcs/bylaws/zoning/RS-1.pdf | http://vancouver.ca/commsvcs/bylaws/zoning/RS-5.pdf

Laneway Housing Guides: http://vancouver.ca/commsvcs/guidelines/L007.pdf

Laneway Housing Submission Checklist:

http://vancouver.ca/commsvcs/developmentservices/subreq/pdf/lanewayhouse.pdf

Protection of Trees Bylaw: http://vancouver.ca/bylaws/9958c.pdf

Homeowner Protection Office: http://www.hpo.bc.ca





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This home is pretty amazing. The floors, walls and ceilings move to open up new, hidden spaces, basically doubling or tripling the size of your space. A bed that comes down from the ceiling to cover a sunken living area you don't need when you're sleeping, drawers hidden anywhere possible and more great ideas in this videos. I would love to see this type of technology in hotel rooms, so you can enjoy the room as a proper living space, rather than just a bedroom. 

 

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Vancouver School Boundaries... link to a bigger map: http://www.vsb.bc.ca/sites/default/files/school-files/Resources/FINALVsbRegCatchmentMapAug232011.pdf

 

Have a look at this Vancouver School Catchment map. It tells you what schools your kids will go to depending on your area of town! Elementary schools are blue squares (with the different areas defined by a background colour), secondary schools are red dots (with the different areas defined by red lines), and the stars are french immersion schools. 

 

Also, here is a school locator website tool that tells you which schools are associated with your address:

 

http://www.vsb.bc.ca/school-location-search-postal-code

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home_staging_vancouver_ben_chimes_rob_zwick.jpeg

Home staging is a very important part of the selling process. The better your home looks, the more appealing it is to Buyer's. People make home decisions using a lot of factors, the "feel" of a place is one of them, and if you show them how good your place "can" look, they'll be much more inclined to want to live there.

Home staging doesn't mean going overboard with furniture or cleanliness; as long as the home looks clean, organized, and de-cluttered it can show well. Remember, it has to appeal to a wide variety of Buyers. As someone who has (probably) lived in the home, you know it's upsides and downsides. Is it too dark? Purchase floor lamps to brighten the space. Is there not enough storage? Get rid of a lot of your junk/unused items so it doesn't look like there is always stuff lying around. Touch up the paint (or completely re-paint if the colours you've used are too bright, dark or outdated). Incorporate some landscaping in the outdoor spaces. There are so many more ways you can help sell your home, quickly and at a good price…

Check out this great article http://tinyurl.com/75wptxc that offers 21 home staging tips (with some photos).

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This is a great reminder for landlords in Vancouver. If you have a secondary suite in your home to help with your mortgage, and your insurance company doesn't know about the suite, your insurance will be null and void against any claims. As you can imagine, this could have a catastrophic impact in the event of disaster.

Read the full story here: http://www.vancouversun.com/business/2035/Landlords+declare+secondary+suites+covered+insurance/6729657/story.html

And make sure you notify your insurance company of the presence of a secondary suite!

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Many people ask whether or not a home inspection is necessary. With very few exceptions, the answer is an emphatic yes. The inspection cost, which ranges from $400 - $750 depending on the size of the home, is microscopic compared to the total investment in your new home. And, aside from identifying any current or potential problems with your new home, the inspection process is also a good way for you to learn proper maintenance and repair techniques to best manage your investment over time.

Some of the beneficial things you can learn from your home inspector include: where to find main water shut offs, how to maintain furnaces, boilers and heating systems, typical lifespans of building systems and average costs of repair and replacement for items around your home.

The only potential exceptions to doing a building inspection would be if you are buying a brand new home or buying in a building that you are intimately familiar with. Even then, the inspection process can be a worthwhile process.

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This is a common question that I get from new home buyers. Especially now, when market conditions are not presenting a lot of new inventory. And there is not easy answer. The home buying process in unique depending on the individual circumstances present and there is no 'standard' time frame. For some, who have a very clear idea of what they want and are familiar with current market conditions, the process can move quickly. Sometimes as quickly as 4-6 weeks. In contrast, many first time buyers will spend 6-12 months acquainting themselves with market conditions and the buying process before moving forward. There is not 'right' time frame for buying a home. Take your time, get yourself comfortable with the current market and wait for a home you will be truly happy with.


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When selling a home in Vancouver, here is a look at the costs involved:


Real estate fees: While there is no standard real estate fee, I can tell you what I charge. My fee for marketing and selling your home is 7% on the 1st $100,000 and 2.5% on the balance of the sale price. This amount is split almost equally with the Realtor representing the buyer. In my case, this fee covers all advertising and marketing costs, the ordering of strata documents or any other necessary documents, and other other costs incurred in the process of selling your home. As an example, to sell a $500,000 home, the real estate costs would be $17,000.

Closing Costs: A lawyer or notary is required to complete the transfer of title and set-up any mortgage on the property. The cost for this service typically ranges from $600 - $900.

Mortgage Pre-Payment Penalty: If you are locked into a fixed term mortgage and do not plan on 'porting' it (taking it with you to your next purchase) then you will be on the hook for a pre-payment penalty. This amount will vary depending on the terms of the mortgage, but will often be substantial. I have seen penalties ranging from $4,000 - $18,000. Be sure to talk to your mortgage broker to understand what these costs will be.

Adjustments: Depending on whether you are selling a detached home or a strata unit, there will be 'adjustments' made on the day of possession. These will include things like property taxes, gas bills and strata fees. For example, if you sell a home where the new owner will be responsible to back pay taxes for a period of time that you were residing in a property, you will be required to re-imburse them for the portion of the taxes payable while you were the primary owner. These costs can vary greatly depending on the property, but typically ranges from a couple of hundred dollars to a couple of thousand.

Moving: Depending whether you move yourself or hire professionals, this cost can range from almost free to upwards of $1000.

Staging: If you decide to stage your home, which can be extremely beneficial in helping your home show its best, you are looking at in initial cost of $2000 - $5000 for the the consultation and set-up, with subsequent months being roughly half of that.
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Aside from the actual purchase cost of your new home, there are a few other costs that come up in the process of buying a home that you should be aware of:

Home Inspection: Many people ask whether or not a home inspection is necessary. With very few exceptions, the answer is an emphatic yes. The inspection cost, which ranges from $400 - $750 depending on the size of the home, is microscopic compared to the total investment in your new home. And, aside from identifying any current or potential problems with your new home, the inspection process is also a good way for you to learn proper maintenance and repair techniques to best manage your investment over time.

Closing Costs: A lawyer or notary is required to complete the transfer of title and set-up any mortgage on the property. The cost for this service typically ranges from $700 - $1000.

Adjustments: Depending on whether you are buying a detached home or a strata unit, there will be 'adjustments' made on the day of possession. These will include things like property taxes, gas bills and strata fees. For example, if you buy a home where the previous owner has paid a full year of property taxes, you will be required to re-imburse them for the portion of the taxes payable once you take possession. These costs can vary greatly depending on the property, but typically ranges from a couple of hundred dollars to a couple of thousand.

Property Transfer Tax: This is perhaps the most painful of the initial costs. Unless you qualify for a first time home buyer's exemption, this provincial tax amounts to 1% of the first $100,000  and 2% on the balance of the purchase price. For example, for a $500,000 purchase, the property transfer tax would be $8000.

Moving: Depending whether you move yourself or hire professionals, this cost can range from almost free to upwards of $1000.

Though this list is not complete, it does cover the most commonly incurred costs for new buyers. As a rough guide, set aside 2.5% of the purchase price for additional costs. This will cover all of the above and leave a bit of extra for furniture, decor, etc.

And then, of course, if you are buying a new home, you will be subject to paying HST. Though there is a rebate up to $26,500 available to buyers, this cost can still be more substantial than all of the other costs combined.
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