Looking for a new revenue stream to offset the skyrocketing costs of living?
The answer could be in your own backyard.
Nick Karrandjas, Ottawa General Contractors’ (OGC) design build construction consultant and investor, knows there’s potential for separate backyard dwellings in Ottawa.
“Many properties in the city have a massive parcel of land that’s underutilized,” he said.
Whether you call it a tiny house, mini home, coach house or she-shed, adding one to your property could give you some relief from the soaring costs of living and higher interest rates.
That’s why OGC are helping homeowners solve multiple problems with a single structure in a cost-effective way.
What is a coach house exactly?
In Ottawa the official term is “coach house”, but the technical term is “accessory dwelling unit” or ADU, meaning a structure that is completely separate from your main dwelling.
To qualify as an ADU the structure must rest on a fixed foundation — meaning not on wheels.
Bill 23 is partly responsible for spurring the interest in ADUs, which now allows Ontarians to have three units on their property instead of two.
Depending on the size of your property, coach houses range from 400 to 1000 square feet and typically require a 30 foot by 40 foot backyard.
Karrandjas says if you want a maintenance free lifestyle, the revenue you generate from a coach house can deliver it for less than the option most downsizers consider first: a condo.
“When someone is downsizing, they usually don’t put an ADU on their shopping list,” said Karrandjas. “Instead they buy a $600,000 condo that requires $1,000 per month in condo fees.”
Alternatively, a coach house can be built by leveraging $250,000 in home equity while giving you an asset to house your family, or generate immediate cash flow.
Who can benefit?
While a coach house is great for people who want a new revenue stream or a way to give their adult children some privacy and independence, the benefits also extend to your neighbours and community.
Efficient land use that creates housing in central areas prevents urban sprawl and saves on infrastructure costs that could raise property taxes. Building a new structure also creates less waste than a renovation.
When it comes to family life, the biggest perk could be peace of mind.
“Elderly parents with mobility issues may get a maintenance-free lifestyle in a condo, but you’re still going to be wondering if they fell in the shower and have enough groceries,” said Karrandjas.
When mom and dad move into a backyard coach house to allow their adult children to move into the main house with the grandkids, safety and security are no longer an issue.
How Ottawa General Contractors makes it happen
Karrandjas says OGC sells solutions, not structures. Meaning they don’t have a specific coach house model they’re trying to sell you on.
Instead you’ll start with a free consultation to determine which option would be best for you.
“When folks come to us for help I ask, ‘What are your goals and what kind of lifestyle are you looking for?’” said Karrandjas.
“We work very hard to be a full-service firm that manages your project from A-Z and customizes it for your needs.”
Where OGC really shines is the part builders and renovators sometimes prefer to avoid: navigating multiple levels of government, understanding laws, policies, zoning and building codes, and negotiating with concerned neighbours and community associations.
A recent example is a two-storey coach house they built for a client in Tweedsmuir.
“We worked directly with neighbours, the community association, and city planners to get the green light,” said Karrandjas. “We listened to everyone’s feedback and adjusted the design by reducing the height of the roof, changing the location of the structure, and shifting a couple of windows.”
Karrandjas says the key to success is being completely open and transparent about your plans from the start. “We take a proactive approach. No one likes it when you try to sneak something through,” he said.
For Karrandjas, the best part of his work is the human connection.
“Helping people see the best options and providing solutions that enhance their lives through design and development, and building and renovating, is what I absolutely love,” he said.
If you think a backyard coach house could be the solution for you, click here to request a free consultation.