Do you want to make extra money? Perhaps you’d like to fund other home renovation projects like updating your master bathroom. Renovating your basement and turning it into an income suite is the perfect way to go. Especially if you want to have more cash in your wallet.
An income suite which you can lease or AirBnB is a great solution to your unfinished basement. Increase your monthly income by adding an income suite. An Income Suite is a secondary unit that is in the primary house. An income suite must have it’s own entrance, living space, kitchen, and bathroom. Income suites can increase your home’s resale value.
Renovating your Ottawa basement to create an income suite can be a complex undertaking. It may involve structural changes, considerable labour, updated plumbing & Electrical, and often some foundation work. Regardless of the amount of work required to make your basement into a legal income suite, the investment is always worth it. Our team at Mentor Homes can help you navigate from the planning phases to the construction and even renting your income suite.
If you’re a homeowner, you bought a home for a reason. Like most homeowners you were tired of paying rent and giving your money to someone else. This logic is exactly why having an income suite can help you leverage the residual value in the unused space on your property. If you bought a home with a basement, and you’re not using it. Why not turn it into the perfect income property?
With an Income Suite, you can:
If you don’t like the idea of having a long-term guest. Income suites are also great for hosting guests for longer periods of time or leasing out 6 months at a time. Don’t think that you have to commit to a year or 2 of someone on your property. It’s your home, do what works for you and your family.
If you want to turn your basement into an income suite we have a few suggestions that will increase your return on investment and marketability of your new secondary dwelling unit
Before you turn your basement into a secondary dwelling unit, there are a few regulations that you must follow. An income suite must abide by these rules in order to be deemed legal in Ottawa:
For more regulations on secondary dwelling units, click here.
An income suite shouldn’t be just a place for people to live and sleep. It should be a home which you would want to return to night after night. It’s important that your income suite reflects your personal style and taste. All while giving your tenants the ability to make it their own. Long and short term tenants will appreciate a design that’s well thought out.
Consider these design tips when renovating your basement into an income suite:
An open layout is ideal for any basement income suite. Whether it’s a one bedroom or studio apartment, an open layout will make any space appear bigger. Make sure to keep all bedrooms away from the main entrance of your income suite to ensure an open layout style. Keep your kitchen, living and dining room to the front of your income suite, close to the entrance.
Make note that special fire resistant drywall needs to be installed between your living space and the new secondary dwelling or income suite. This is part of the Ottawa Building Code requirements and will need to be taken into consideration at the preliminary stages of your design process.
The amount of bedrooms your income suite will have depends on the square footage of your space. If you want more than one bedroom, prepare to spend money on framing, drywall, and insulation. If you have a set budget, turn your income suite into a studio apartment. This will suffice until you have the available funds needed to add on to your income suite.
Also remember that bedrooms need to have windows that the tenant can exit through in the event there is a fire. This is part of the Ottawa Regulation Code for secondary dwellings.
A bathroom can make or break your income suite. Be certain that you have the correct plumbing system to turn your basement into an income suite. Every basement needs a sump pump to ensure dryness. Speak with a local plumber before any bathroom installation. Your income suite may have a limit to the amount of bathrooms it can have due to the number of bedrooms. Get creative, if creating an on-suite works best for your space, do it. If you decide to turn your income suite into a studio, add a bathroom that makes sense to the layout. Save room with a stackable washer and dryer.
If the laundry room is in your basement. Use that space for your income suite’s kitchen. This is the perfect place to have a kitchen since plumbing lines are already installed. Save room by adding a pantry where the boiler and furnace are.
With flooring comes a lot of responsibility. What you use your income suite for will determine what type of flooring is suitable for the space. If it’s a family with pets. Consider hardwood flooring or vinyl flooring that’s durable. Heated floors for your tenants are perfect for those cold winter months ahead. But, before you get started on the flooring to your income suit, you need to be sure your basement floor is prepared for the new surface. No Cracks or uneven areas. The last thing you want is an uneven floor. This can make laying down flooring difficult and costly.
This may seem small, but paint can and will go a long way. The right colour of paint will help seal the deal but don’t go crazy. Stay away from bold colours and accent walls. You don’t want your new tenant to have to repaint your income suite. Stay light and neutral – this is especially important in a basement space that typically has small windows.
If you’ve gotten this far in the article. It’s safe to say that you’re considering turning your basement into an income suite. But to make your basement into a livable apartment. You must add an entrance, an unobstructed exit for your tenants. Your tenants need a means for egress, in case of an emergency or fire. It’s important to assure the safety of not only your future tenants, but the neighbors upstairs – you.
A separate entrance to your basement should be the first thing you install. Before any type of renovations begin. It’s critical that your contractors have a clear path of entry when working. This will save you both time and money, and keep dirty footprints off your floor.
Here’s what installing an entrance to your income suite looks like:
Before doing anything to your basement. Be certain you’re following the correct bylaws. Get the necessary permits that are required to turn your basement into an income suite. Your tenants will feel safe to know that their home is legal and up to code. Hire an engineer or architect to ensure that your plans are up to code. You will need to present the correct plans before any permit is given.
The most important take-away here is that you will make every cent of your investment back with premiums when you sell your property. A property with a legal income suite is valued proportionately higher than a property with just a finished basement.