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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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Market Update

July 2011

With the summer market in full swing, it appears we are still waiting for the summer weather to catch up. As expected, it is much more of the same this month compared to last. Sales are down across the board, with the exception of the North Vancouver attached market which appears to be bucking the trend. Expect that to correct next month. Average sale prices and active listings are fluctuating across the board, but prices in most markets slipped slightly without enough dip to cause alarm. Everything we are seeing is typical for the seasonal nature of the Vancouver market and I expect to see a continuation of these trends for the next two months before an upturn in September.

Looking at the bigger picture, predicting the local market is beginning to require more and more knowledge of international financial markets. Using local trends to predict the market has quickly become a fool's game and many more factors must be taken in to account. We will have to keep an eye on foreign markets in the coming months, as they will likely play a larger role in the Vancouver market moving forward than rising mortgage rates will.

Any questions, ask away. And enjoy the summer!

Ben

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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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