| Investing

It’s official, garden suites are coming to Toronto. In February 2022, the city announced expanded permissions for property owners. These expansions will offer Torontonians the ability to build garden suites on residential properties within city limits. 

Garden suites will open up a world of opportunity for homeowners in more ways than one. Not only can garden suites offer flexible living spaces tailored to the property owner’s needs, but they can also be a strong investment in the short and long term. 

Here’s a quick rundown on garden suites, and what their arrival in Toronto can mean for homeowners looking to build on their investments.  

Want to learn more about the benefits of homeownership? Explore these resources. 

What are Garden Suites?

If you’re unfamiliar with garden suites, that’s ok. Similar to laneway homes, garden suites are detached, self-contained living spaces built in backyards behind the primary home or residential property. In the past, garden suites were frequently referred to as “Granny Suites”.  This is because they were often used as a separate living space for one of the homeowner’s parents. Now, as larger cities strive to make more forms of housing available for their citizens, garden suites more commonly host tenants similar to other forms of rental properties. 

Garden suites are essentially small homes with the feel of a one-bedroom apartment. They typically contain a bedroom, kitchen, bathroom and living room all within a few hundred square feet. As you may expect, garden suites are usually best suited for one tenant.

One of the benefits of building a garden suite is that most of the construction is completed off-site. It is then delivered to your property via truck with the plumbing and electrical already installed. Of course, every property is unique and will have its own installation considerations.  That said, it is unlikely that the installation of a garden suite will be a major disruption for you or your neighbours. 

Boosting Property Value

For many Canadians, buying a home is the biggest and most important investment they’ll make. Similar to any other property upgrade, garden suites can be a great way to build on this investment by increasing the value of your home. As they haven’t yet arrived in Toronto, we don’t have exact data on how greatly garden suites can increase overall property values in the city. However, we can make promising estimates based on trends in other markets. A great real estate agent will be able to analyze your property and provide estimates as to how a garden suite can boost the value of your home. 

Learn more about why Toronto’s real estate market is a great place to invest on my blog.

Opportunities For Passive Income

While increasing your overall property value is a great way to build on your investment in your home long term, renting out your garden suite to a tenant is a great way to develop a reliable source of income while you still live there. Rental averages across the GTA have been steadily rising in recent years. As the city continues to grow, rental rates are likely to continue rising too. 

Receiving passive income through rental tenants is also a great way to cover some of the overhead costs for the garden suite itself. What exactly these upfront costs will depend on your unique circumstances and property. However, your agent can again help you build a comprehensive financial plan to ensure your investment is successful in the future. 

Considering becoming a landlord? Check out these helpful blog posts. 

Before You Build 

As per the city of Toronto,  before you apply to build a garden suite on your property there are three factors to consider. The first is lot size. Before you build, you’ll need to ensure your property can adequately accommodate a garden suite. While there is no minimum size requirement, various factors such as emergency access and the size of the main property will be influential in determining if a property is eligible for a garden suite. 

Second, a proposed garden suite must adhere to the Ontario Building Code and zoning bylaws. Along with emergency access distances, this includes elements such as minimum floor heights and room sizes. Lastly, before applying for a building permit you must consider existing trees on and adjacent to your property. As per city preservation initiatives, the construction of a garden suite must not result in the removal of an existing by-law protected tree.

As a local agent who specializes in real estate investments, I can help you determine if a garden suite is a good fit for you. Get in touch.