Savvy Edmonton homeowners are making extra cash and gaining multipurpose space by adding a basement suite. And it makes perfect sense! You can make some cold hard cash, house an aging parent or adult child, increase your home’s resale value, and possibly qualify for grant funding by turning your basement into an income-producing residence.
1. Potential Rental Income Under Your Roof
What if we told you there’s an amazing source of extra income right under your roof? While there are pros and cons of becoming a landlord, that unfinished basement full of discarded items could easily provide extra monthly income. Most existing basements have plumbing and sewage lines already built in that can be used to construct a kitchenette and install a bath or shower, with space for one or two bedrooms.
If you’re considering a new build, ask your architect and contractor to layout a secondary suite with an additional bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, and separate entrance. A separate walk-out entrance makes it easy for renters to access their new digs without disturbing your privacy. The idea is to make your rental unit look and feel private, inviting, and rent-worthy.
Consider the Costs
On a new build, a secondary suite might add to construction costs; but that cost can be absorbed or modified through mortgage financing. Your builder can advise you on the most cost-effective way to budget for a basement design. If you’re upgrading an existing space, the cost to add a suite depends on the percentage of the interior that's already finished.
Existing electrical and HVAC services might have to be upgraded, ductwork and plumbing installed, and sheetrock hung on existing or new framing. Once the space is “dried in", it’s ready for installing fixtures, cabinetry, and appliances. To make your property the one they’ll love to rent, focus on the finishes: high-end fixtures, granite countertops, hardwood cabinetry, and stainless steel appliances command top dollar.
2. A Win-Win for Tenants and Landlords
The benefit to building basement suites is twofold: income for potential landlords and affordable housing for low-income residents. Through its Cornerstone’s Secondary Suite program, the City of Edmonton provides financial aid for homeowners who want to build a basement or secondary rental apartments.
Grants of up to $24,000 are available to qualified applicants to either construct a new unit or upgrade an existing space. Of course, as a would-be landlord, you're subject to building codes and inspections, tenant and landlord covenants, and health regulations. But upon meeting qualifications, you’ll make enough money on rentals to help pay your mortgage off faster.
Edmonton renters are looking for safe, affordable housing in crime- and drug-free neighbourhoods near city amenities like shopping, schools, recreation, and public transportation. Since 2005, the Cornerstone’s program has provided over 3,300 low-income residents with legal, inspected, and certified secondary rental suites. Building and leasing a secondary apartment is not only a win-win for landlords and tenants but also a huge plus for the City of Edmonton’s public housing program.
3. A Home for Mom
In addition to rental income, property owners are discovering adding a basement suite can provide a home for an ageing parent who needs a little assistance and lots of TLC. An independent living facility can cost tens of thousands of dollars annually to house a senior adult, but your basement suite can help keep costs under control.
Utilities and city services are easily regulated and already included in your household expenses. You can easily monitor a senior adult’s dietary and health care needs, while providing opportunities for your ageing parents to actively interact with the grandchildren, enjoy the company of a favourite pet, work in the garden, and perhaps, add years to their life!
4. Make It a Man Cave
Your basement suite can also be transformed into a private getaway for dad and his pals. Stock the fridge with beverages and snacks, turn on the big screen, and let the games begin! Your weekend warrior can keep the mess and mayhem of watching sports out of the main house. A private basement suite entrance makes post-game cleanup a breeze. And when dad’s not using the space, it’s a perfect place to welcome out-of-town guests — certainly less expensive than putting them up in a hotel.
5. Boost Your Home’s Resale Value
Lots of potential home buyers would jump at the chance to own an income-producing property that’s move-in ready. The investment you make in building a basement or secondary suite could pay off in huge dividends when it’s time to sell. The extra square footage and income potential will make your house one of the hottest properties on the market, commanding a competitive price.
As an Edmonton-certified landlord, you have rental receipts to prove your home’s potential to bring in a lucrative income — another selling advantage. Even buyers not interested in renting won’t be able to resist buying a house with extra space for a mother-in-law suite, guest quarters, or private getaway.
Interested in finding out more about building or renovating a secondary suite? The City of Edmonton has pamphlets, courses, and consultants to answer your questions or guide you through every process: planning and zoning requirements, building codes, tenant and landlord requirements, and home inspections.