Case Study: Renovating a property to include TWO additional dwelling units

In this article, we'll be delving into the details of how our client, an investor, transformed 180 Morenz from a single-family home into a multifaceted asset for their portfolio.

With 180 Morenz, the property’s space was perfectly suited for the addition of a secondary suite. What's more, its detached garage offered the opportunity to introduce a third unit, amplifying its income-generating capacity. From the outset, this project stood out as a strategic investment opportunity, aligning seamlessly with our client's vision and objectives.

Throughout this case study, we'll uncover the steps taken to fulfill our client's goals and the significance of this endeavour in the realm of real estate investment.

Client Background

As we mentioned before, our clients purchased this property as an ideal addition to their portfolio. They recognized the potential for creating two additional dwelling units, which would help them in maximizing the property's income-generating capabilities.

Originally, the property was a single-family home, offering limited potential for rental income. However, our clients saw beyond its current state and envisioned a transformation that would not only enhance its value but also meet the growing demand for rental housing.

Their main objectives for the secondary suite were twofold: firstly, to leverage the existing basement space to create an additional rental unit, and secondly, to utilize the detached garage as a third unit, effectively transforming the property into a triplex. This innovative approach not only maximized rental income but also catered to potential tenants seeking standalone units for added privacy.

Despite the property's promising attributes, our clients faced certain challenges and constraints. While the zoning criteria for parking and sidewalks were met, there were logistical hurdles to overcome in terms of design, construction, and regulatory compliance. Additionally, the process of navigating permits and approvals required careful planning and coordination. We’ll get into the details of how these obstacles were overcome a little later.

Design and Planning

The design and planning phase involved a meticulous approach to ensure optimal utilization of space while adhering to regulatory requirements and maximizing functionality.

With the first additional unit, our focus was on integrating it seamlessly within the existing structure. We took into account structural elements such as posts, beams, and plumbing, aiming to work around them as much as possible to minimize disruption. We also worked around the existing locations of windows, ensuring compliance with the Ontario Building Code--which mandates windows in bedrooms, living rooms, and dining rooms.

Specific considerations revolved around the location of not only beams and windows but also existing elements--particularly the detached garage conversion. With the third unit in the garage, since detached additional dwelling units require water and sewer services to be connected to the main house sewer line, careful planning was essential. This involved running services from inside the house to the existing detached garage during construction, ensuring seamless integration.

Images Courtesy of She Shoots 3D Tours

Secondary Suite Construction Process

The construction phase began with the demolition of existing finishes and walls, and preparation for the renovation. Once the groundwork was laid, the focus shifted to framing the interior walls and installing plumbing and mechanical systems to support the needs of the secondary suite.

As the project progressed, insulation was added to enhance energy efficiency and comfort within the home, creating a cozy living space for future tenants–sound insulation was also installed for tenant comfort. Subsequently, drywall installation marked a significant milestone, shaping the interior spaces and incorporating necessary fire separations where required.

In the final stages of construction, attention turned to finishes. Cabinetry, plumbing fixtures, paint, flooring, and trim were installed, adding aesthetic appeal and functionality to the space. 

While in the end, the transformation was a success, challenges were encountered along the way. One significant obstacle arose from the discovery of considerable amounts of wire mesh in the existing garage slab, which was not anticipated. The original plan had to be adapted, and plumbing rearranged to accommodate the situation effectively. A great lesson. 

To address this challenge, a creative solution was implemented by relocating all the plumbing to the front wall. This not only resolved the immediate issue but ultimately optimized the layout of the additional dwelling unit, ensuring efficient use of space and resources.

So despite these challenges, our team remained committed to delivering a high-quality end result, overcoming obstacles with ingenuity and resourcefulness.

Images Courtesy of She Shoots 3D Tours

Features and Amenities

The completed project boasts several standout features and amenities that enhance its appeal and desirability in the rental market. One of the most notable aspects is the incorporation of three units within the property, offering diverse living options for tenants and maximizing rental income potential to the owner.

The detached unit itself represents a significant achievement. Its construction not only expanded the property's rental potential but also provided tenants with a distinctive living experience that balances autonomy with a sense of community.

Throughout the design and construction process, careful attention was paid to ensuring that the secondary and tertiary suites met the needs and preferences of prospective tenants. From the layout and functionality of the living spaces to the selection of finishes and amenities, every detail was thoughtfully considered to create a welcoming and comfortable environment.

Images Courtesy of She Shoots 3D Tours

Results and Impact

This project has delivered significant outcomes and benefits for our client, aligning perfectly with their investment goals and improving their overall living arrangement. For investors utilizing the BRRRR strategy, having three units on one property has led to a substantial increase in value during refinancing, maximizing returns on investment. Additionally, repurposing an unused garage as a detached unit has boosted property income - a particularly crucial outcome, given the escalating costs of construction and mortgages.

The addition of the two ADUs has enhanced the overall living arrangement for our client. Detached ADUs offer tenants privacy within the walls of the house while sharing outdoor amenities, all at a reduced cost, catering to modern renters' preferences and fostering a sense of community.

Reflecting on the project's success, it's evident that the existing detached garage, with its ample size, played a pivotal role in meeting Ontario Building Code requirements. This allowed for a smooth and efficient construction process, minimizing delays and ensuring compliance with regulations.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, the secondary suite project represents a significant milestone for our client, demonstrating the effectiveness of innovative design and strategic planning in real estate development. As they continue to reap the rewards of their investment, this project offers valuable recommendations for others considering similar projects.

Ready to unlock the full potential of your property?

Whether you're an investor seeking to maximize rental income or a homeowner looking to enhance your living arrangement, consider the possibilities of a secondary suite project.