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episode # 20

A Quick Guide to Laneway Homes with Kim Little

Everything you need to know about Laneway Homes in under 45 minutes! Small Work’s Small House Specialist Kim Little joins Adam and Matt to discuss all things Laneway and Coach Homes and the trend toward smaller spaces. Also, is our red-hot market softening?

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Episode Summary


 

Kim Little is a small house specialist and head of Smallworks’ sales department. Her background is in real estate and rentals.

What does Smallworks do?

Smallworks Laneway Housing Inc. was incorporated in 2005, when there was no such thing as a laneway home bylaw in Vancouver. This came into effect in 2009.

What is a laneway or coach house?

A laneway (sometimes called coach) house is a detached secondary suite or self-contained dwelling in the back of a yard. Bylaws and terminology is slightly different in each municipality.

Can they be sold?

Co-ownership is possible. You cannot buy into a strata, but you can enter into a legal agreement. Two or more parties can buy property under their own contract, and it gets attached to the title.

Who is building them?

Today about 45% are built as rentals. Recently, more people build and rent out to afford the property in the first place. Other clients build to stay close to family members. As well, early retirees will rent out their main house, and downsize to a laneway home for themselves.

Are all homes customized per client? Is there an option for something cheaper?
As long as a parking spot exists, 16% of the lot is usable. This allows us to use architects and custom design homes. There are many sample ideas to get a conversation started, rather than starting completely from scratch. Design doesn’t impact costs much unless you choose higher-end finishing materials.

Who is eligible to build?

You must be on an RS, or single-family, zone. The problem is that many single-family homes are on duplex zones and are therefore ineligible. The biggest thing is meeting various bylaw requirements.

Are they typically one or two bedrooms?
Most people want a one-bedroom plus den or a two-bedroom. 50’ lots can accommodate approximately 1000 square feet.

What are the costs?

Permit fee: $12,000-20,000
Design fee (survey, design, engineering etc.): $15,000
Build cost (offsite): $200,000-240,000
Bringing onsite (connections, etc.): $40,000-50,000
Landscaping, parking, patio etc.: $10,000
Total: $290,000-330,000 (plus GST on build cost)

What is Smallworks’ process and timeline?

  1. I meet with the client, determine their eligibility, discuss sample ideas and listen to their needs.
  2. The client gets a tour of a home currently under construction (usually about 3 homes per month are in progress) to get an idea of how it will look.
  3. The agreement is signed, a survey is ordered, and design begins with the architect.
  4. The design goes to the City for permitting (which takes 7-8 months), during which time the client meets with the interior designer, chooses finishes and fixtures, and prices out the home.

Construction typically starts within two weeks of permit approval. The foundation is done onsite at the same time as the wall panels, which are factory-made or prefab. This takes about 5 ½-6 months. The entire process, from day of contact to keys, is about 12-14 months.

Is there a warranty for homeowners?
We offer a full new home warranty (2-5-10) and a bumper to bumper warranty. We do the work of dealing with the warranty on behalf of our clients.

Is Smallworks a part of a larger movement towards living in smaller spaces, tiny houses?

We are part of a passionate movement to do something different that people are excited to talk about. They know that large homes are bad for the environment and don’t serve a purpose, and that small homes bring community. The next generation will take this further. We speak to large groups of all sorts; it’s on people’s radar and even other provinces are contacting us to learn about the movement.

Contact info
kim@smallworks.ca
Visit www.smallworks.ca to join open house invite list (about once per month)

Adam and Matt’s recap

  1. Investment potential is huge
  2. Laneway/smaller homes is one approach to the affordability challenge in the Lower Mainland
  3. Environmental solution: it doesn’t make sense to have mansions
  4. Millennials are getting into smaller spaces: this is on trend, as shown on networks like HGTV

What are the costs?

Permit fee: $12,000-20,000
Design fee (survey, design, engineering etc.): $15,000
Build cost (offsite): $200,000-240,000
Bringing onsite (connections, etc.): $40,000-50,000
Landscaping, parking, patio etc.: $10,000
Total: $290,000-330,000 (plus GST on build cost)

What is Smallworks’ process and timeline?

  1. I meet with the client, determine their eligibility, discuss sample ideas and listen to their needs.
  2. The client gets a tour of a home currently under construction (usually about 3 homes per month are in progress) to get an idea of how it will look.
  3. The agreement is signed, a survey is ordered, and design begins with the architect.
  4. The design goes to the City for permitting (which takes 7-8 months), during which time the client meets with the interior designer, chooses finishes and fixtures, and prices out the home.

Construction typically starts within two weeks of permit approval. The foundation is done onsite at the same time as the wall panels, which are factory-made or prefab. This takes about 5 ½-6 months. The entire process, from day of contact to keys, is about 12-14 months.

Is there a warranty for homeowners?
We offer a full new home warranty (2-5-10) and a bumper to bumper warranty. We do the work of dealing with the warranty on behalf of our clients.

Is Smallworks a part of a larger movement towards living in smaller spaces, tiny houses?

We are part of a passionate movement to do something different that people are excited to talk about. They know that large homes are bad for the environment and don’t serve a purpose, and that small homes bring community. The next generation will take this further. We speak to large groups of all sorts; it’s on people’s radar and even other provinces are contacting us to learn about the movement.

Contact info
kim@smallworks.ca
Visit www.smallworks.ca to join open house invite list (about once per month)

Adam and Matt’s recap

  1. Investment potential is huge
  2. Laneway/smaller homes is one approach to the affordability challenge in the Lower Mainland
  3. Environmental solution: it doesn’t make sense to have mansions
  4. Millennials are getting into smaller spaces: this is on trend, as shown on networks like HGTV
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